Nevin Garcia is a second-generation Foss employee who attended Ballard High School’s Maritime Academy
By Hilary Reeves
Nevin Garcia is a second-generation Foss employee, born and raised in Seattle, and recently promoted to Port Captain of the El Sagundo/PAL in Los Angeles. His mother, Nancy Garcia, worked for the company’s Accounts Payable and Payroll Departments for a combined 32 years after emigrating from the Philippines.
“Growing up, I obviously knew about Foss,” he said. “I didn’t really get interested in the industry until high school. At Ballard High School, there’s this maritime program, which told me about the California Maritime Academy. Cal Maritime was two-fold – you earn both a Bachelor’s degree and a merchant mariner license. After high school, I did four years at Cal Maritime as a Marine Transportation major. It was the only school I applied to.”
The Maritime Academy at Ballard High School
In the spirit of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood’s maritime past, the Ballard Maritime Academy is an interdisciplinary academic program at Ballard High School that combines maritime skills, history, marine science, and research. Classroom courses include maritime history, navigation, bathymetry, types of ships, maps and charts, projects, and marine vessel construction. The Oceanography Course is the science capstone course and includes the history of the Earth and oceans, the physical science of the oceans, climate change, and intertidal ecosystem biodiversity. Students who are part of this unique program are mentored by career professionals and opportunities for internships in the Maritime and Marine Science fields.
Garcia joined Foss directly out of college as a Second Mate on an ocean-going tug. He soon moved shore side, gaining experience in crew management, operations, and assisting his Port Captain. In February, he was transferred to Los Angeles and handed the proverbial reins to his own Port Captaincy.
“I feel like my strength is my management style, and my ability to solve problems from shore,” he said. “And even though I’m still single, looking ahead, it’s a lot easier to have a family when you’re able to be at home most nights. I definitely respect our mariners who continue to work at sea and raise families.”
Garcia spent a couple seasons on the ocean tugs assigned to help service the Red Dog mine in Alaska.
“It’s exciting,” he said, “but I really like where I’m at now. On the ocean-going tugs, you might not see land for days on end. Here in the harbor, you’re still in the heart of it. It’s great to be able to see the marine employees who run the boats come into the office, and be able to talk with them.”
Garcia said the greatest challenge of his new position so far is being able to engage crew members and come up with solutions to problems.
“I’m still perfecting the art of dealing with crew members in a way that empowers them, especially being in a management role for the first time,” he said. “The most rewarding thing so far is being able to be impactful in the company, being able to make decisions with regard to the way things move forward. I’m most looking forward to being part of that team that turns our region profitable. That’s the biggest priority right now for all regions.”
Garcia, his parents, and his older brother are a tight-knit family. He loves to ski and to sail – he raced sailboats at Cal Maritime. He lucked out on his apartment in Palos Verdes – affordable, and close to work.
“Right now, I’m just trying to explore Southern California,” he said. “Having grown up in Seattle, the weather is a bonus. The sun shines almost every day, and I’m fortunate to be down here for this new chapter in my life.”