• Tuesday , 19 November 2019

Family Ties: Andrea Mack follows father, brother into Maritime industry

Andrea Mack, Marine Operations, Foss-Hawaii.
Andrea Mack, Marine Operations, Foss-Hawaii.

Mack grew up in a ‘Foss family.’

By Hilary Reeves

When Andrea Mack was a kid, Foss Maritime was a much smaller company.

“I remember going to the Ewing Street office to drop off or pick up my dad and knowing a majority of the employees. It’s grown a lot over the years, which led me to my current career.”

Mack, who grew up in Tacoma and whose father and brother – Chris Mack, Sr. and Chris Mack, Jr., respectively – also work for Foss, works in Honolulu for Foss-Hawaii and Young Brothers. She transitioned to Oahu more than a year ago after spending two years as a contractor for Foss in Seattle.

“I provided support for the Shell Demobilization Project in Port Angeles and then spent two years on the Odoptu Project working out of Brownsville, Texas and Ulsan, South Korea,” she said. “It was a great crash course in learning the different sides of the company and meeting people in several departments outside of operations.”

But Mack never intended to follow in her father’s footsteps the way her brother did. She grew up wanting to be a television news anchor. Her first job out of college was as a TV News Writer and Production Assistant for Northwest Cable News and KING 5 News in Seattle; she eventually added stints as a TV News Producer for both KING 5 and KIRO 7. But in the end, it wasn’t what she wanted.

“I was looking to make a career change, and during that time the opportunity to help out on the Polar Pioneer demob presented itself,” she explained. “I took a risk leaving my job for a temporary position with Foss, but I was fortunate to find work assisting with projects and eventually secure a full-time job with the company.”

Mack said she never imagined I would work for Foss.

“Growing up with my dad working on the tugs, I didn’t realize how much I had learned about the company and how I could add value in my shoreside position. I work well with our Mariners, and do my best to show them that I understand their needs and realize how hard it is to transition from home life to living on a tug.”

“Growing up with my dad working on the tugs, I didn’t realize how much I had learned about the company and how I could add value in my shoreside position,” she said. “I work well with our Mariners, and do my best to show them that I understand their needs and realize how hard it is to transition from home life to living on a tug.”

She understands better than most.

“My dad has sailed my entire life, working as a Chief Engineer, so although he was gone six months out of the year, he was also home for six months without any work distractions,” she said. “It allowed a lot of time to go on family boating trips around the South Sound of Washington and up north to the San Juan Islands. We have an old 48-foot wooden boat that has been in our family for almost 40 years. My mom is definitely the base of the family, holding down the fort for us kids growing up and keeping the house moving while my dad was away.”

Mack counts her father and brother as mentors – “I call them all the time.”

She is recently engaged and planning her wedding.

“My fiancé and I go sailing during our free time in Hawaii pretty much any chance we get. When I go home to Washington, we also take the family boat out.”

Of Foss, she said she continually appreciates the uniqueness of the company and the industry.

“Both in Washington and Hawaii, our tugs are seen working by the public every day, but only a small amount of people really understand what they are doing and their importance in the community,” she said. “The industry is changing and continuing to change. As far as in Hawaii, we have four new tugs and three in the making, so it’s an exciting time for us here as we put those to work.”

Mack said she doesn’t regret her early career in the media, only that she didn’t understand sooner the widening net of opportunities – and how valuable her life experience is in the industry she’s known and loved all her life.

“I would have transitioned into the Maritime industry earlier. I grew up in a Foss family, but I never thought there was a role I would be able to fill.”

For more on the Mack family, read Chris Mack, Jr.’s story here.

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