Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Victoria Robas Woman Breaks Barriers to Get Job

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Victoria Robas Woman Breaks Barriers to Get Job

Article excerpt

Byline: Susan Alexander, Times-Union correspondent

Victoria Robas used to manage hotels, but she got tired of it. So she went to the ocean, sort of.

She now manages shipping operations at the Talleyrand Docks and Terminal for the Jacksonville Port Authority, a job that she had to break barriers to get.

"It was unusual for all of us," Robas said. "They never had a woman terminal director before in an operational position. It was a challenge for everyone, trying to understand how much I knew and could I do the job."

Robas, 51, a Fernandina Beach native, earned her bachelor's degree in hotel management and a master's in business. She began working in hotels and said they helped her develop "my people skills."

But Robas said that she came to a point where she wanted to do something different. Family and friends in Savannah, Ga., led her into the marine business, and for a short time she worked with ship and cargo chartering, ship agencies and ship stores. She also helped provide crews.

"I just loved it and worked my way up in the industry," Robas said.

She learned to deal with U.S. Customs, immigration, paperwork and anything else associated with marine work.

Robas eventually worked her way up to director of port administration at Nassau Terminals in Fernandina Beach, a post she held for nine years. She said she developed a close team, "which is key to any operational business; everyone has a role to play to make the team successful."

In 1995, she took the Talleyrand job. Robas said she is involved with the day-to-day operation of the terminal

"It is a hard hat, heavy industry, dangerous work area," she said.

Safety, efficiency and the environment are key concerns, she said. She also oversees ship arrivals, facility equipment and maintenance.

And she supervises 33 employees.

Robas' work has not gone unnoticed. In April, Gov. …

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