The Great Lakes Group


Christopher Swenk and Regina White Talk Cross Training

Most of the year, Dispatchers work around the clock on rotating schedules manning the Towing Company’s Operations Center, the logistics hub of the company. Dispatchers take calls from freights requesting tows, call out crews, respond to alarms, and many other day-to-day tasks.

When the season slows down in the winter time, the Company uses this opportunity to cross train dispatchers in other departments to get a big picture view of the company and its operations.

For Christopher Swenk, a typical day during his time cross training in the Purchasing Department includes posting invoices for accounts payable, comparing statements to invoices already posted, making purchases for the shipyard based on requisitions, running to vendors for pick ups of orders and ensuring the shipyard has everything they need to do their job.

According to Swenk, “what I noticed last year is how much working in Purchasing really does help my job as an Operations Coordinator. Being in Purchasing helped me build professional relationships with some of our vendors that we use with the Towing company. I am a big believer in building those working relationships with not only our customers but with the vendors that are vital to keeping our operation moving. I also believe that knowing that aspect of the company helps build a trust with the tug men that if they need something, all they have to do is let me know and they, in turn, trust that I can get what they need.”

For Regina White, she loves any opportunity she can get to learn new things, different positions, and skills. In her time cross training she has learned to create purchase orders and posting the invoices associated with them, contacting vendors for quotes, and verifying delivery dates on PO’s.

A typical day for White includes creating purchase orders and posting the invoices associated with them, contacting vendors for quotes, verifying delivery dates on POs, and making runs to pick up items the shipyard and towing company may need.

She says that, “working in Purchasing helps provide me with new skills and the ability to fill in different roles with in the company if needed. It has also provided me with new skills that could help me in future career opportunities.”

As the towing season starts up soon, White and Swenk will return to their regular roles in Operations and Dispatchers. This year, they’ll be carrying over all of the skills and experience they learned this Purchasing this winter.