Breakbulk NextGen – Kody S. Esser

Logistics Manager, Fluor Enterprises Inc.

Nominated by:
Kathy Canaan, global director trade compliance, Fluor.

Reason for nomination:
“Kody Esser exhibits a level of professionalism that is beyond his years in the industry, and which distinguishes him as a leader now and for the future. A confident and decisive self-starter, he takes responsibility for his own learning and development, and is continuously increasing his technical expertise while also sharpening his business acumen. Esser models excellence by holding himself and his colleagues accountable, sharing his knowledge, leading innovation, and most significantly, by turning challenges into opportunities.”

How you chose this industry:
I came into the industry by sheer necessity. I had recently lost my sales job in the technology sector and needed to find another job as quickly as possible. I wasn’t a fan of sales, so I decided to branch out. Through a mutual friend, I found a job working for a small company that performed vector control in Africa and Papua New Guinea. As one of five corporate office employees in a 50-person company, I took on the role of supply chain manager to source material from all over the world to ship to Africa and Papua New Guinea.

Industry’s significance, from your perspective:
There’s never a dull moment in this industry, except for maybe watching pipe load. Working on projects at a global company like Fluor has given me the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of moving project cargo all over the world.

A mentor or industry leader who greatly influenced you:
When I first started at Fluor, my mentor was Robert Hurst. He had been in the industry for more than 35 years and had worked all over the world. He taught me what it truly meant to move project cargo. He was a great man, mentor, and friend – rest in peace, my friend. Most recently, my mentor is Bill Keyes. He is teaching me about the commercial side of the business that is harder to learn about while working on projects.

Professional background:
Starting my professional career in technology sales was a great learning opportunity that I enjoyed, but I knew that it was not something that I wanted to do long term. Then, working in vector control, I contracted the logistics bug, pun intended. I have been with Fluor since 2012.

Management style:
Simple: I try to live my life by the golden rule, and that goes beyond just my management style.

Long-term professional goals:
To have Bill Keyes’ job (shh, don’t tell him!) I would like to be a recognized logistics professional with a successful track record of managing teams with the ability to rapidly evaluate complex problems and design dependable, risk-assessed solutions for mega projects.

Role as a developing industry leader:
First, I see myself becoming further ingrained in the industry. I plan to do that by attending more conferences, panels and events that will teach me how to grow as a professional, better understand the industry, and to provide better fit-for-purpose solutions to clients.

Most important industry issue:
The next generation. Our industry is filled with professionals that have years of valuable experience, but we need to get more millennials interested in logistics. Their understanding of technology will be pivotal in revolutionizing our industry.