Naniq’s first office in Hawaii employed just a handful of people—including Vicky Tecson.
Vicky Tecson said she owes her 30-year career at Naniq Global Logistics to a one-inch-by-one-inch classified ad seeking a Data Entry Clerk for the freight company Danzas Northern Air.
“I figured I knew how to type. Maybe I’d give it a shot. That was back in 1989, and so began my career in logistics.”
Tescon, then a recently divorced mother of four, had been working at McDonalds. A tumultuous relationship with her parents and a teenage pregnancy prevented her from pursuing her childhood dreams of becoming a dancer or attending college.
“The hours I worked at McDonalds were grueling, and I had four little ones to care for. I wanted to have better quality time with them. Coming home at two or three in the morning and waking up a few hours later to prepare them for school and daycare was hard.”
She started her new career in data entry but eventually became an Operations Agent, where she learned how to coordinate shipments of all shapes and sizes to and from the mainland and Hawaii.
“One of the most memorable things that happened during my tenure with Danzas was Hurricane Iniki in September of 1992. It struck the island of Kauai on Sept. 11, reaching Category 4 status and recording wind gusts of 225 mph. It was the costliest hurricane to strike the state of Hawaii, causing $3.1 billion in damages.”
Iniki’s wind downed most of the poles and wires, providing electricity and communication to the island.
“We helped transport vital electric and communication equipment to help bring the island back online. I learned a lot from being a part of that team.”
In 1999, the company changed its name to DHL Danzas Air and Ocean.
“They were going to shut down the Hawaii office because it wasn’t turning a profit. However, a very wise and visionary entrepreneur named John Witte had already taken over the offices of Anchorage and Fairbanks in Alaska. He also approached corporate about taking over Honolulu, and so began Naniq’s Hawaii connection.
A passion for customer service
Tecson said Naniq’s original team in Hawaii consisted of just seven or eight people.
“At the time, she was still an Operations Agent. She worked full-time for Naniq and held two part-time jobs related to the tourism industry.
“It was stressful, and I was hardly home for my kids. My oldest took on a lot of responsibility at a young age—although now, my kids and I look back at that time, and they tell me they appreciate going through that. They tell me that is what taught them to be so strong and independent.”
Through attrition, all the original Naniq crew ended up leaving the company, opening up the opportunity for Tecson to step into the role of Operations Manager— her current position.
“My focus is monitoring our warehouse and freight operations and adding guidance and support when needed. Besides our Kapolei operations here on Oahu, we have operations on Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island of Hawaii. I assist and support those operations as well.
“I’ve tried doing sales, but my real passion is Customer Service and Operations. I love the satisfaction of getting things done for customers. I wanted to be their ‘go to’ person, who—all they have to do is make one phone call, and they know you’ve got it handled. This is something I enjoy instilling in my staff. There’s nothing like hearing how happy you have made a customer, how you helped them when they needed your expertise. Becoming their hero.”
According to Tecson, the culture John Witte built is family-oriented and close-knit.
“Especially in Hawaii, culture and family are important elements. John also instilled the spirit of entrepreneurship in all of us. He encouraged us to have that mindset, which was not always easy, but we have a saying that is endearing to us. A previous team member created it, and it has become a motto for us over the years: ‘If no one can, Naniq can!’”
Tecson said she’s grown to appreciate the training opportunities made available since Naniq joined the Saltchuk family of companies.
“The first one I attended was called LDP—Leadership Development Program. We learned about the DiSC Assessment, which is based on four main personality profiles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. I’m a hybrid. I’m a CD. One challenge I have is that all my freight team members are Ss. The DiSC was an excellent tool to help me understand our differences and has helped me to better understand how to interact with my team.”
In it for the long haul
Tecson said she’d change nothing about her past.
“Everything I’ve encountered in my life—the stresses of a broken home, teenage motherhood, divorce, single parenting, etcetera—has made me the woman I am today. I have been with the love of my life for 32 years now. Next year we celebrate 20 wonderful years of marital bliss. I have four beautiful and talented kids and two stepsons who are equally beautiful and talented. All of our kids have been through some type of adversity, and they have overcome it and have become decent, productive members of society. My husband and I are blessed to have them in our lives as well as our 17 grandchildren and, as of last November, one adorable great-grandson. Life is good, and I thank God every day that he allows me the opportunity to wake up, take a breath, and live.
After working since she was 15, Tecson said she hopes to be able to retire soon to spend time with her husband and family, travel, and visit friends and relatives on the mainland.
“When I was young, I wanted to be a dancer. Those close to me know that I love MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and am an avid fan of watching the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and other MMA organizations, including the local circuit. I was recently added to the Saltchuk Hawaii Giving Committee—very excited for that!”
She said the logistics industry is stressful and can foster a “love-hate relationship” among its workers, but she’s always been in it for the long haul.
“It’s a very competitive market since everything to and from Hawaii must move by plane or boat. Although freight is a good portion of what Naniq does, we do so much more. Naniq is so versatile. That versatility over the years is what has really surprised me.”
Tecson describes Naniq founder John Witte as having “an intriguing charisma that just motivates and draws people in. “
“After we became Naniq, I was approached by other companies. John is why I stayed. I sensed that there would be more things to come, and boy, was I right—on Oahu alone, we went from a little 1,200-square-foot office to a 60,000-square-foot warehouse. We have operations on the neighboring islands, Alaska, Seattle, Atlanta, and Texas. During the pandemic, Naniq was one of the few companies that actually grew. Since becoming a part of the Saltchuk family, people have said, ‘Naniq is very unique.’ This is very true. I don’t know of any other company that does what we do. I think we definitely have the resources and talents to go global one day—and it’s satisfying to know I played even a small role in making that happen.