When Katie Knowles started at Trailer Bridge in 2016, she knew it wouldn’t be long until she left to pursue her dreams of being an actress. This is what she didn’t know: after she had succeeded in her original dream, she would return to Trailer Bridge a couple years later and discover a new passion and purpose that has fueled her to this day.
Looking for a short-term position to fill an employment gap, Katie was placed at Trailer Bridge by a temp agency in 2016 to be an Electronic Export Information (EEI) Filer. For those of you unfamiliar with international shipping, an EEI Filer is responsible for submitting electronic paperwork to the U.S. government for all freight leaving the country.
Although she didn’t come with any prior logistics experience, Katie had the “it” factor that we look for in everyone on our team – the desire to grow, a passionate energy, and a spirit of kindness that guides everything we do. “It was all the personality,” said her supervisor, Charlie Sanchez, Director of Support Services. “She is kind, and was happy to work and smiled about it always.” In fact, it is common for us to invite people to work at Trailer Bridge based on their qualities that align with our culture, knowing we can provide the training and development necessary for the role.
Seeing her incredible value, we didn’t want to see her go. In fact, Katie says she remembers Indie Bollman, now Chief People Officer, coming to her desk every week and asking if she was sure she wanted to leave.
But Trailer Bridge is committed to providing growth opportunities that get employees where they want to go, both here and in their future goals. So, we were happy to act as a steppingstone and put Katie in a position to thrive once she took the next steps in her acting career.
It was a bittersweet moment for everyone when Katie left Trailer Bridge, and her supervisor Charlie ensured her the door was always open if she wanted to return. In 2017, Katie worked on 20 films and tv shows including The Haunting of Hill House, The Walking Dead, The Originals, Ozark, and Miracle Workers. The experience was transformative for her, but in 2018 she decided to return home to be closer to friends and family.
This is where Trailer Bridge comes in for a second time. When Katie started to look for work, her first call was to Charlie, her previous supervisor at Trailer Bridge.
When asked why she wanted to return instead of looking for opportunities at a different company, her answer reflected a sentiment we hope is felt by all members of our team: “Trailer Bridge was the first company that I had ever worked for where I felt like who I was as a person was seen and appreciated.”
Her desire to return also came from the supportive nature of our leadership. “Charlie is very vocal about how much he appreciates his team, and he never misses an opportunity to express his gratitude for a job well done,” said Katie.
Although there were no current openings for an EEI Filer at the time, Charlie invited her to be a Documentation Coordinator on his team, where she returned to her original role a year later.
While Trailer Bridge was initially just a small step in her personal journey, it is now a place where she has dedicated almost 5 years – all because of the acceptance and belonging she felt during her time as a temp.
Our culture of growth consistently fuels her new passion – learning new things. She has even joked that her brain’s desire for knowledge is like the plant from Little Shop of Horrors singing “Feed Me, Seymour.”
“I have learned an incredible amount about foreign trade regulations, the Census, U.S. Customs, and trade in general. Being able to cultivate a deep knowledge of regulations and apply that knowledge to keep Trailer Bridge compliant is my favorite job responsibility,” said Katie.
Charlie confirmed her talent for learning and said her love for the company is evident in the level of care she puts into her job. Many years later, the faith he put in Katie at the beginning has been proven to be well-deserved. “She has become an expert at what she does, and she does it well,” said Sanchez.
Trailer Bridge is a company that prioritizes its people and believes in investing in their happiness and professional development. The reason is simple: when the team is happy, that energy is extended to our customers, and our company grows.
Do you want to grow with us? Stop by the careers page on our website and find all our current opportunities for becoming a member of our team.