Meet HOST team member, Demone Benn. He’s an operator at our LDC operation in Port Allen, LA.

“I always think about what it would be like to go to my son’s career day and explain what I do,” he laughs. “How do you explain this?” Our team at LDC loads grain to ships via remote-controlled spouts. Once loading is complete, they use machinery to make the cargo flat and even, which helps balance the grain for transport.

Demone joined HOST in 2017 with 10 years of experience under his belt from working at a grain elevator in Convent, LA. Prior to joining the industry, he briefly attended college on a basketball scholarship but left school and started work to care for his young son.

He kept his basketball skills in shape by playing in local tournaments, until one day a talent scout saw him in action. “I eventually joined the New Orleans Mariners, a semi-pro league, where I played until 2017,” he says. Demone, who’s 6’3’’ tall, also received a few offers to join the NBA D-League overseas during this time but chose to stay in Louisiana with his son.

He has since turned his focus to helping kids in the community, coaching city league basketball and an AAU traveling team. He starts working with the players when they’re in seventh grade and coaches them until they graduate high school. “It keeps them out of trouble,” he says. “If I make a difference for even one of them, it’s all worth it.”

“I’ve found my happy place,” he smiles. “Growing up, I never pictured myself working at a grain terminal, but I enjoy what I do. I’ve found a good balance between working and coaching.”

Demone relates basketball to the work he does at HOST. “If you’re willing to communicate, the job is easy. When I train someone, I focus on safety first and then I teach them the basic steps. Other than that, I just have patience and let them get a feel for it. It’s a lot like coaching, and there’s plenty of teamwork involved.”

Demone recently received an award for his safety awareness and helping protect the well-being of his team. He says his favorite thing about HOST is that the company cares. “Everyone is willing to work with you and help you. I love working with the team here.” He also enjoys meeting the crew members of the ships that come in. “You never know where the crew will be from, and you can always learn something new.”

Demone and his wife, Jasmine, live in Perryville, LA with their three children, Demone, Jr. (11), Zariah (10) and De’Mari (2).