When the COVID-19 pandemic hit a year ago, Tidewater Community College alumna Marguerite Bates-Frier was working to keep goods moving from the Port of Virginia to retailers nationwide.
As regional vice president of intermodal drayage for XPO Logistics, Inc., Bates-Frier and her regional fleet of more than 500 owner/operator truck drivers work to move cargo from large shipping containers to import and export distribution centers locally and over the roads.
“Truck drivers move America and are often taken for granted, as most people don’t know the critical role they play in America’s supply chain. Without them the shelves are empty,” she said. “With record freight volumes, lack of storage space and vessel delays, it has been a delicate dance to keep this all moving.”
Bates-Frier got her start at TCC when she was a stay-at-home mom with her infant daughter Nadia. Today mother and daughter are both TCC alumni, earning general studies associate degrees.
“It’s not something I reflect on often, but I owe a lot to TCC and appreciate the start I got there,” she said.
“I learned a lot at TCC and was quick to turn there once again when it was time to start looking at options for Nadia such as dual enrollment,” Bates-Frier said. “TCC provided the educational building blocks and played a pivotal role in the success of my future education and my career.”
After TCC, Bates-Frier went to work for local shipping company, Maersk, as a dispatcher. It was there that she was introduced to the maritime industry and her passion for the field ignited.
Bates-Frier worked her way up the ladder from dispatcher to regional vice president in ten years. She utilizes this knowledge to give back to the community by advising academic graduates and supporting maritime and supply chain needs — locally, regionally, and nationally.
“I absolutely love what I do. The days are fast-paced and rewarding. I encourage others to look at the field as the opportunities are endless,” she said.
Bates-Frier went on to earn her Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies from University of Virginia (UVA) and a Master of Engineering Management from Old Dominion University (ODU).
She is on the board for the Virginia Maritime Association, is the past president of Tidewater Motor Truck Association and serves on the Old Dominion Maritime and Supply Chain Advisory Council.
“My TCC education was absolutely the springboard that got me here,” Bates-Frier added. “I’m confident in business and proud to be on an executive team.”
As for daughter Nadia Frier, the 18-year-old earned her high school diploma and associate degree in 2020. As a dual enrolled student, she completed the first two years of a bachelor’s degree at TCC and now has her sights set on completing her four-year degree at University of Vermont or UVA.
“It felt good to have something to do during the pandemic and to work hard to get my general education classes done,” Frier said.
Frier spent the winter working at Wintergreen Resort, honing her customer service skills.
“My time at TCC helped me gain confidence and independence,” she said.
Frier is back in class at TCC, taking summer courses that will prepare her for what is certain to be a successful academic career.
“It’s always been my dream to go to college and I’m grateful to have my first degree at 18. And even though I probably won’t use statistics and bio in my daily life, having that knowledge and getting through those exams just makes me feel more prepared for what comes next.”