Infantry Scout Succeeds at Ingram Marine Group
INGRAM MARINE GROUP
Ingram Marine Group is a bulk commodity transporter on America’s inland waterways. The organization started out in 1946 as a small, family-owned business and has grown into the largest dry cargo carrier and one of the top chemical carriers on the rivers.
The company’s commodity portfolio includes coal, aggregates, grain, fertilizer, ores, alloys, steel, and chemicals. In addition, Ingram’s Custom Fuel Services operates 12 floating fueling stations on the Mississippi and Ohio River systems and provides diesel fuel and supplies. Triangle Fleet provides ship anchorage services in Louisiana.
Company headquarters are in Nashville; and there are office and fleet locations in Paducah, Kentucky; Pittsburgh; St. Louis; and Reserve, Louisiana.
The company operates on 4,500 miles of inland waterways. Its fleet includes more than 140 towboats ranging up to 10,500 horsepower, and nearly 5,000 barges. Ingram Marine Group currently has more than 2,300 associates – about 1,800 work aboard towboats and the others work at shore locations providing support.
Ingram’s biggest HR need is finding associates who have a strong work ethic and are looking for a career. The company currently has many veterans, Guard, and reservists in its work force and is actively looking for more. Its recruiters participate with efforts of the Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) and attend career fairs.
Ingram has found veterans to be dedicated, hardworking, detail-oriented, and able to adapt and overcome. There are several parallels between being in the military and working aboard a towboat, including a culture that is built strongly upon camaraderie and safety. The company also has a clearly defined promotion structure, so that associates can move up through the ranks after completing a set list of tasks and requirements. While working through those requirements, the company takes an associate’s military experience into account. An individual can move more quickly based upon his or her years of military service and proven work ethic.
A VETERAN SUCCESS | BROCK WOOLEY
Brock Wooley spent almost four years in the United States Army before separating as a specialist. His main responsibility was as an infantry scout. At Ingram, he is the safety, training, and environmental senior coordinator. He is responsible for ensuring compliance with industry and Coast Guard regulations on company vessels and providing company associates with the training and tools needed to minimize risk on the job and return home safely.
Wooley joined the company in 2010. He began as a deckhand trainee aboard a towboat, and quickly worked his way up through the ranks. He engaged in mentor relationships with several vessel captains, and earned the role of senior leadman.
Wooley is a third generation river worker. His grandfather was an Ingram towboat captain, and his father also worked aboard Ingram towboats. Brock Wooley was well on his way to becoming a second mate when an opportunity arose in the safety department on shore, and he was promoted to his current role. He said that his career growth and success are due largely to his staying true to the Army values – loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. “I carried an Army values card in my pocket every day for several years, and I looked at it quite often,” he said. “Aside from that, I feel that trying my best to live by all of those values not only helped me with my first job outside the military, but every job after that, and also in life. It eventually helped in my career move at Ingram.”
Wooley believes that what servicemembers learn in the military will help them transition into civilian life and find the right career. “The discipline, adaptability, interpersonal skills, focus, and attention to detail gained through one's military experience will not only help them transition back into civilian life, but excel in their career path of choice,” he said. “If you have a specific path you are planning to take later on as a civilian, you may look into transitioning into a similar MOS to familiarize yourself with the job/career path.”
They skills that Wooley acquired in the military built him to succeed. “They were the source of my drive and focus to excel, no matter what the task,” he said. “Everything in the military is about utilizing teamwork to complete the mission/task with a high level of success. Failure is not an option; adaptability and personal fortitude are two major characteristics to achieving success.” The military way of life has also continued to help him. “It plays a very big role in achieving success,” he said. “It helps me with my personal accountability, leadership, confidence, and interpersonal skills from working with individuals from diverse ethnic backgrounds, beliefs, and ideologies.”
Wooley finds a lot of similarities between the military and Ingram. “The teamwork atmosphere – there’s a true sense of brotherhood/sisterhood – and they’re very family- and safety-oriented,” he said. “Ingram also offers many opportunities for advancement with veteran incentives, and they have a training program that goes above and beyond.”
Wooley has plenty of advice for veteran career hunters: “Sell yourself and don't settle; you know you better than anyone. Set high expectations and goals for yourself, and continually strive to achieve them. Always work on your weaknesses so that one day you can add them to your strengths. Plus, say what you mean, mean what you say, and do what you say you'll do.”