This week in Host’s “Women in Maritime” series, we’re featuring Director of Host Logistics Amanda England, who works at Avondale in New Orleans, LA.

Born and raised in Holland, Amanda moved to Baltimore, MD to explore new opportunities after she graduated. While waiting at the Point Breeze Industrial Park for an interview, she happened to meet the CEO of logistics company Steinweg, who grew up in the same small town of Holland that she did. The two hit it off so well that she was offered a job at Steinweg on the spot.

“I had no idea I’d be in the maritime industry,” she explains. “It was totally unfamiliar to me, but I applied myself and absorbed all the knowledge and experience I could from those around me. Before long, I was in love with it. The industry fit me like a glove.”

Amanda spent approximately 10 years at Steinweg before she and her husband, Ken, joined the Canton Stevedoring marine terminal and warehouse company. After the company was sold at the end of 2001, she began work at Henry Bath, LLC, a global commodities warehousing and logistics company, where she managed all U.S. operations for almost 15 years. In 2016, she joined Castleton Commodities, an infrastructure investment company, and moved to her current hometown, New Orleans, LA, to set up a brand-new marine terminal for the company.

It was in New Orleans that she heard of Host’s plans for Avondale. “I was attracted to Host, because it has a very creative and strategic long-term vision for the industry,” she explains. “Helping bring Avondale back to commerce seemed like a great opportunity.”  She and Ken joined the team this past January.

Her favorite thing about her current role is that it’s a new challenge. Host covers not only breakbulk, but also dry bulk, project cargo, and liquid bulk, she explains. “It has given me the opportunity to study other commodity streams. I believe that as long as you’re learning, you’re on an adventure. And I’m still learning a lot.”

Amanda says good communication skills are important in her work. “Listening makes all the difference in the world when you’re dealing with multiple personalities and disciplines in an ever-changing market environment,” she says. “When you create friendships, it’s a lot easier to understand and assist someone, and it helps you enjoy the process so much more.” In fact, she says her greatest career achievement is the relationships she’s made. “The best feeling is when someone I worked with knows they can still lean on me. The greatest reward is knowing I made an impact on someone’s life for the better.”

She admits the maritime industry can be very challenging.  “No day is the same. It’s very fluid and fast paced.” For those just entering the field, she suggests finding a mentor. “Had I not had some of the best people in the industry mentor me, I would not be where I am today,” she says. “I’m realizing that’s part of my role now. It’s very hard when you first enter the marketplace. I’m here to say, yes, it’s difficult, but it’s not always going to be that way. Challenges are just opportunities dressed in work clothes.”

Her advice to other women: “If you work hard, ask questions, have a can-do attitude, and open yourself up to the possibilities, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.”