Al Collado, Director of Terminal Services at the Port of Virginia, has been in the Maritime Industry for over twenty years, dealing mainly in procurement and contracting. He briefly had exposure to operations finance but wanted to learn more about the external aspects of finance and how finance effects our everyday lives. Collado completed Financial Management for Non-Financial Executives.

Describe your career journey and how you got to where you are today.

I am the Director of Terminal Services at Virginia International Terminals, where I oversee services and operations at the six terminals that make up the Port of Virginia. The services include providing financial oversite and life cycle management for a pool of 15,500 Chassis. It is a shift from the procurement side where I spent my first three years at the port.

I started in the Navy as a Supply Corps officer. In 1999, I accepted a position at Newport News Shipbuilding, focusing on supply chain and operations finance. After 7 years I went to work for Maersk Line Limited, a company that manages a fleet of ships, primarily for the U.S. under the Maritime Security Program (MSP). I was the head of procurement for nine years, including the year of Captain Phillips and the Alabama incident, which brought worldwide attention and was made into a movie starring Tom Hanks.

Why did you take Financial Management for Non-Financial Executives?

It was recommended to me by one of my peers at the Port of Virginia. After spending some time in operations finance at Newport News Shipbuilding, I realized I had only dealt with internal financial management.  I had little to no exposure of high-level finance, and I wanted a better understanding of how financial decisions are made. I now understand and have heard many times that data has become the new oil. I needed to learn what that really meant in the big picture.   

Did you learn new skills that you could implement in your role?

Yes. In one of the services I deal with, we lease and buy chassis. Now, when we are looking to lease or buy, I can help my peers make educated financial decisions, and there is a lot of value to that.

Additionally, within the program, I was able to work with people from different industries. At the port, we are an economic engine, and we are really in the business of breaking even. We manage a budget and create jobs throughout the Commonwealth – it is a different business model. It was interesting to share my industry structure with peers and learn how it could add value to their organizations. The exposure to that level of academics, both socially and professionally, was a very enlightening experience.

Is there anything else you wanted to share with people who are considering the program?

I would encourage anyone to take it. We are in an environment of continuous improvement. Additionally, I met a very good friend through the program and as a result, we check in and update each other on our respective companies. It is great to have a friend in a completely different industry.

In this program, you learn a lot about finance, but it also changes your perspective on what finance really means in our world today.

Learn more about Financial Management for Non-Financial Executives and how it may help you reach your career or organizational goals.