Patriot Profile: Kelly Castelo

Patriot Profile: Kelly Castelo

You will get five very different answers if you ask five stevedores to tell you about their career journeys. In many ways, the varied backgrounds of our stevedoring team members influences and strengthens our operations.

This is certainly true for our Terminal Manager Kelly Castelo at the Talleyrand Maritime Terminal in Jacksonville, Florida. Kelly grew up as the child of entrepreneur restaurant owners who ran many businesses – including every Dunkin Donuts in Jacksonville, Florida in the ’90s. This experience fostered a high standard of excellence and a drive to understand all facets of an operation.

Thinking A Little Differently

“I think a little differently,” Kelly said. “My family have always been business owners, and I grew up in that. I was always learning and always business-driven.”

One of the biggest lessons she learned was the value of customer service. She has a very unique perspective on what bad customer service looks like and how to avoid it, as well as what good customer service looks like and how to achieve it.

“I just try to make sure everyone sees the bigger picture,” she stated. “Everything we do affects customer satisfaction. The smallest mistake, even one that may not seem like a big deal, can be a huge deal on the backend. It could cost the customer and ultimately Patriot a lot of money.”

“Check Yourself, Then Double-check Yourself, Then Triple-check Yourself”

“I have a rule,” she continues. “I tell everybody, ‘check yourself, then double-check yourself, then triple check yourself.’ It’s not possible to be right the first time every time, so you have to slow down and make sure you are doing the right thing for the team and the customer.”

It’s one of the ways she helps her crew of stevedores see the bigger picture. If they all take a similar level of pride and ownership in what they are doing, then our customers will be sure to feel the value of the ‘Patriot Way’.

In this regard, Kelly builds a no-excuses culture at Talleyrand. She ensures that her team is cross-trained, and she enjoys seeing them develop through her coaching. She also knows that this type of preparation means everyone is ready for the various unexpected challenges that come their way on a daily basis.

Continuously Exceeding Customer Standards

Despite facing some challenges related to the global pandemic Covid-19, our team has continued to uphold all productivity levels while maintaining all safety standards. Kelly takes pride in knowing her team is prepared and, therefore, able to exceed customer standards without missing a beat.

“Everybody on my team wants to succeed,” Kelly told us. “They don’t want to do the same thing day in and day out, so I’ve been training different people to work in different departments. They learn different skill sets partnering up with other people, it grows the chemistry of our team, and it makes us stronger. I feel a strong sense of accomplishment from the development I’ve seen.”

Kelly truly takes ownership of her role. She wants what’s best for her people, and she knows that is ultimately what’s best for Patriot Rail and Ports and our customers. It is a very entrepreneurial perspective shaped by her very unique path to the waterfront.

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