Sam Pena, newly appointed Regional Manager-South Atlantic of ContainerPort Group, is excited about contributing to CPG’s foothold in the South. The Puerto Rican-born, Long Island native and husband to Ingrid and father to Brandon, 13, and Madison, 9, recently shared what he loves about the logistics industry (he comes to CPG with 17 years of experience) and the projects he is most proud of.
When did you begin working at CPG and how did you grow professionally?
“I just started at CPG. Day One was May 09, 2016.”
What attracted you to the company?
“CPG is a very well known company and has a great name in the market. Their desire to grow in the South appealed to me (as I now oversee the South Atlantic region of the US).”
In your role as Regional Manager of the South Atlantic (you cover Savannah, Atlanta, and Greensboro) what does your typical workday look like?
“We just opened the Savannah terminal, which is pivotal here in the Southeast. We’re going to start feeding imports through the Savannah-Charlotte Lane. We have a strong foothold, which will be key in building this region.”
What projects are you most proud of?
“One of my most recent projects with my former company, RoadOne, was centralizing their dispatch. We created an after-hours center that handled dispatch for 40 terminals nationally. We grew that from five to 18 dispatchers and two shifts. It was pretty challenging but interesting and fun. And we were very successful in implementing it.”
What do you love about the logistics and supply chain industry?
“Got involved in the industry fresh out of college. A buddy of mind referred me to a job opportunity. I didn’t know a ton about it but it turned out to be a great fit. I’ve always enjoyed change and this is an ever-changing, evolving marketplace. It’s a fast-paced industry and huge but still small enough to get to know the people in it.”
What are some things the average person doesn’t know about your industry?
“What I’ve always found very interesting about the containers and products we move, these containers have been on a ship, upwards of 20 to 30 days, and that last mile is the absolute most important. It’s challenging, being able to meet customers’ demands and keeping them happy. But it’s a challenge that I love to meet.
An interesting fact: the port of Savannah is the second largest port on the East Coast and it has a trade balance – we import just as much we export. Some of the products that come through here include food, raw materials, auto parts, roofing, shingles – anything and everything. We do work for Honda, Dupont and BASF, among others.”
What are three things your co-workers might not know about you?
“I coach a youth softball team. I like to tinker (I built my last two motorcycles). I snowboard (my favorite place to snowboard is Colorado).”
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into your industry?
“This industry is a good fit for someone who is a people person. It’s great for someone who like a fast-paced environment. And being a multi-tasker is always good. You have to be able manage multiple tasks and think on your feet.”