JJ Mendez started as a Maintenance Supervisor with Trailer Bridge in Puerto Rico more than 20 years ago then relocated to our corporate location in Jacksonville, FL where he rose to his current position as Director of Maintenance and Security. In recognition of his dedication and hard work, we asked him to reflect on his time here over the past two decades.
What is unique about the work the maintenance team does at Trailer Bridge?
As for this kind of work, not a lot of people like doing it anymore because it’s hands on and a lot of people would prefer to be sitting behind a desk on a computer. It’s physical labor which is why I try to keep the shop as relaxed as possible, so everyone feels comfortable. We joke with each other a lot and we treat each other like family. I always say, “those are my kids.” I have guys that have been here with me for 17 years.
What is the most rewarding part of your work at Trailer Bridge?
It would be the friendships and family that I have made here. I love interacting with people during the day, to see how they are and try to help out if I can. Here at the maintenance department, I always feel really proud knowing our containers are moving lifesaving equipment, bringing in construction materials, you name it.
Why have you stayed with Trailer Bridge for 20+ years?
I’m not the type of person that gives up very easily and when there’s a problem, I want to make sure that I can take care of it. This is my family and these are my kids here. If I thought about leaving, I would feel like I’m turning my back on my guys. I’ve seen how this company treats its family when they’re going through a hard time.
What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time at Trailer Bridge?
When I was at the port, I never had a barge layover because of maintenance, I never failed a Coastguard inspection in 4 ½ years, and I had the opportunity to take a RoRo and TPC to drydocks and learned a lot from that. In the maintenance shop, I have chassis that are from 1997 and are still running, where most companies start replacing them after 7 or 8 years.
What advice do you have for people just joining Trailer Bridge?
Always give your best, be honest, take pride in your job, and be accountable. If you mess up, tell someone and ask how you can make it better. If you’re paying attention every day, you’re going to learn something.
Want to join the Trailer Bridge team? Visit our careers page to view all open job opportunities!