Meet HOST team member, Cody McMahan. He’s the Operations Manager for our Host Agency office in Norfolk, Virginia.

 “The best way to describe the role of the ship agent is that we bring ships in and out of port as efficiently and cost effectively as possible,” Cody explains. “As Operations Manager, I help out with the day-to-day operations, manage the team and keep us focused on company-wide initiatives.”

“It’s not your average nine-to-five by any means,” he explains. “There’s no typical day. It’s ever-changing, and that’s part of the appeal. But we’re also 24/7/365. I was up before the sun today so I could touch base with someone in Singapore.”

Cody has a Master of Fine Arts in music recording and technology from Middle Tennessee State University. Prior to joining HOST, he taught audio production at Nashville School of Arts. He also did freelance work as an audio engineer and worked in the studios of many notable artists, including Rascal Flatts, Billy Currington and Keith Urban.

He and his wife, Sarah, left Nashville for Virginia to be closer to family after having their first child. Cody found work as a Boarding Agent through a family friend at HOST.  “I had never been on bulk ship in my life,” he laughs. “I’m from the mountains of North Carolina. My parents’ minds are pretty blown when I tell them I was just on a nine-hold bulk vessel with a 50-foot draft, sailing to China. But the company’s potential was very intriguing to me. HOST was diversifying, and it seemed like there was a lot of room for growth.”

Cody quickly became the go-to trainer for new hires, which he attributes to his previous experience as a teacher. “Teaching someone completely green in this industry can be difficult,” he explains. “People learn in different ways, and I can identify those more quickly than most.”

He soon entered HOST’s management training program, which gave him experience in several of the company’s terminal and agency operations throughout the East and Gulf Coasts. Upon completion of the program, he moved into his current role of Norfolk Operations Manager.

“The management training program helped me understand how everything is interconnected,” he explains. “Our days are very intricate, but I’m always telling our agents to zoom out and appreciate the bigger picture. The coal in that ship, for example, is going to the Ukraine to become steel, which will be sent up the Mississippi River and possibly processed at Avondale one day.”

Cody says the most satisfying part of the job is finding solutions and getting the job done. “I like leaving a ship and watching it sail as I drive over the bridge,” he says. “It’s rewarding to see the culmination of your efforts—the long days and the long nights—come to fruition and move on.”

He and Sarah live in Suffolk with their three children, Gray (9), Jane (5) and Everett (3). When he’s not working, Cody enjoys cooking with Sarah and going to the museum with his kids.