Although Talitha Wesson has only been working at Associated Asphalt for three months, she already speaks about her role and the company as if she’s been here for years. Wesson is the new Regional Manager for our Southern Region and the first female to fill the role! She will oversee operations at the Tampa terminals, along with Lake City, Gainesville, Savannah IMTT, Jacksonville, Port Canaveral, Port Everglades, and Port Manatee.
Relocating in a Pandemic
Wesson relocated from Ohio to Tampa, Fl. to fill the role of Regional Manager. While not originally from Ohio, it had been her home for 15 years. However, she was excited at the prospect of moving to Tampa when she found out where she would be located.
“The opportunity was originally in North Carolina, but after further discussion, they asked if I was willing to move to Florida,” she recalls. “It’s sunny and beautiful here so I couldn’t turn that down!”
She commends Associated Asphalt’s Human Resources team for making the transition seamless for her, even while in a pandemic. They handled the entire relocation process to help her find temporary housing and get settled in so Wesson could focus on her new role.
“When you start a new position, you want to come in, get comfortable, and focus on your job,” she says. “I didn’t have to worry about everything else that came along with relocating.”
Why Associated Asphalt?
Wesson felt that her previous experience naturally led her to become a perfect candidate for Regional Manager, so when the position became available, it was a no brainer. Prior to joining Associated Asphalt, she spent time working for Marathon petroleum company and Kinder Morgan. Here, she gained a lot of experience both in working with terminals and managing employees. The more and more she gets ingrained into her role, the more she feels that she made the right decision.
“The more time I spend here, the more I realize that I can contribute, and at the same time, continue to grow,” she says.
She truly feels she is where she belongs and has quickly gotten ingrained into the friendly, family-oriented culture that Associated Asphalt encourages.
“I think that comes from the almost mom-and-pop feeling that you get working with such a small team at each location, even though we’re part of a larger corporation,” says Wesson. “They’ve developed very strong relationships that go beyond work. It’s something I’m determined to make sure we don’t lose.”
Day-to-Day As a Regional Manager
At first, Wesson’s biggest focus was getting to know her people and her facilities. Although she had some limitations because of COVID-19, she did have the chance to visit a few terminals in her region to better get to know their projects, policies, and operations.
“It was very important for me to get to know the people and have a better understanding of each terminal,” she says. “Knowing the culture at each location is going to be key in my job of making sure they are all running cohesively.”
Wesson is also part of an effort to create employee development plans for her team so that they can continue to grow and operate at the highest level. It is also focused on maintaining the culture that she has fallen in love with. This program will launch in 2021 and will continue to build as the company grows.
As the first female Regional Manager at Associated Asphalt, Wesson is far from intimidated. She says she’s used to being the only woman in the room.
“I got used to it early. The key is knowing that you are there because you deserve to be there because you have the skills required to get the job done,” she says. “The results speak for themselves.”
Wesson wants to be a blueprint for women who want to enter more industrial fields. She feels that she has had the chance to open a lot of people’s minds about male-dominated industries.
“One of the proudest moments for me was when I moved down here, my sister told me that my nieces have someone to look up to and see how far a woman can go,” she shares.
We feel lucky to have her on our team!
How do you spend your time outside of Associated Asphalt?
I am very close to my family so we spend a lot of time together. Even from Tampa, I call up my sister to watch Telenovellas together.
What activities are you enjoying most in Tampa?
I really love all water sports so it’s been convenient, even during the pandemic, to do things like boating, swimming, and jetskiing.
If you weren’t working for Associated Asphalt, what’s your alternative dream career?
I would actually love to be a race car driver! I love driving!