Employee Spotlights : Catalina Express

Employee Spotlights

Employee Spotlights

Francina Hines

Francina Hines

Francina joined Catalina Express over 17 years ago as a Call Center Representative and quickly advanced to the position of Call Center Lead to help manage the floor. Due to her attention to detail and leadership, she became the Trainer for the Call Center and helped with the training of ticket agents. She became a mentor to many agents over the years and continued to build a comradery within the team resulting collaboration and further growth. Prior to Catalina Express, she developed a strong background in customer service with a variety of customers during her time at Comcast Cable and Old Navy. Read More...

Her continued drive and ambition led to her perusing a new position this year in the Sales department to assist large groups in the planning of their trip to Catalina Island as well as working very closely with Catalina Express’ industry partners. “I love that there is always something new to learn. I’m really passionate about learning new things, and I consider myself very fortunate to work in a company that is always changing and growing with new technologies, capabilities, and ideas,” said Francina.

Many colleagues know Francina for her dedication and also her compassion towards others. A fellow colleague commented, “Francina is a very welcoming person with a friendly greeting for everyone. She also remembers everyone’s name and asks you how you are doing. It is rare to find that quality in anyone in this current day and age.”

Francina’s organization skills, attention to detail and time management are key to her position to provide strong customer service she has come to be known for across the company. “My typical day starts as I get up early and try to be to work at least 25 minutes early, so I can avoid delays due to traffic jams and still be on time for work. When I am at my desk, I jot down all the plans I have to complete and prioritize them depending on their urgency and importance. Also, I check my voicemails and emails this way I can increase my pace for doing work and can be more productive for the day,” said Francina.

On your next trip to Catalina Island, Francina recommends trying the thrilling Zipline Eco Tour as a fun and memorable experience.
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Steven Jones

Steven Jones

Growing up in San Pedro, Steven was able to view Catalina Island across the channel and later experience the island with his grandfather on a camping trip. He joined the team over 11 years ago as a reservation agent to help customers plan their trips on Catalina Express. Due to Steven’s strong work ethic and attention to detail, he was promoted to Call Center lead and later advanced to his current position of Analyst. Read More...

Steven says, “As the Analyst for the call center, my job entails data gathering from the 332,000 calls received annually and reporting to help improve our call center’s performance, the service we provide to our customers and highlight the successes we have as a team or individually. Watching trends as they develop is a regular part of my responsibilities to prepare the call center for any potential impact. This data and trends directly help me in the creation of schedules for our agents.

When Steven is not working with spreadsheets or schedules, he is helping with training of other agents to further their development and help them grow in their current position. He is regularly collaborating with other departments on various projects and new programs to assist the company in becoming more efficient and effective. One department he works with regularly is the IT team to help with further improvement to the communication systems and phone support.

Steven’s professionalism and expertise was acknowledged by industry leader Monet Software, a workforce management (WFM) system. He was honored to be recognized as a WFM Power User in a program that aims to identify the best WFM experts in the contact center industry.

For those going to Catalina for the first time, Steven highly recommends the Discover Avalon tour as a great way to learn about the city and snap plenty of beautiful photos. For those looking for adventure, he shared that everyone should take the chance to experience Two Harbors. Steven shares, “I’ve only been there once and I can’t wait to go back again. The island did a wonderful job with Harbor Sands, but now I need to go back to experience the camping.
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Troy Menzel

Troy Menzel

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Troy knew he wanted a career on the water. He joined the Catalina Express crew 39 years ago when the company was just starting. He has seen the company grow over the years from one boat to eight and a single terminal on the mainland to three. Read More...

Prior to joining Catalina Express, Troy served in the US Coast Guard on Alaska Patrols in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska and assisted in search and rescue efforts for four years. During his time in the Coast Guard, he gained significant industry knowledge that he shared with Catalina Express.

With his prior work experience and background, Catalina Express welcomed him to the crew and he was hired almost on the spot. “When I moved to Southern California, I knew I wanted to continue my career in the marine industry. I grabbed a road map and started visiting local port cities including San Pedro. While visiting the cruise ship terminal, by luck, I saw the Catalina Express window and they were hiring,” said Troy.

Over the years, he has gained a reputation among the team for his knowledge and work ethic as a captain. He has taken the time to mentor younger crew members to help them grow and reach their potential in the marine industry. He advises those interested in a career on the water to have tenacity and be the best you can be. It takes hard work and needs to be taken seriously but the job is worth it

“Looking out on the ocean, there is a sereneness to being on the water. It can be very peaceful on the trip over to the Island. My typical day is looking at calm seas and cruising over to Catalina. One of my best memories is when we saw a pod of about 20 blue whales. Marie, a cabin attendant, was on the bow of the boat and two of the whales were gliding along the water. She was smiling and everyone around was enjoying watching the whales. It was a good day,” said Troy. “The best part of job is when I drive home and say that it was a good day and have the satisfaction and pride in the job I did.”

Prior to joining Catalina Express, Troy was not too familiar with the Island. Over the years and by talking to passengers, he began to visit the Island and experience various places and activities. “I highly recommend exploring the Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden. If you enjoy hiking, walking up to the ridge gives you a great view of San Clemente Island. If you enjoy a challenge, mountain biking in the interior of the Island is fun too,” commented Troy.
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Chris Bonner

Chris Bonner

Chris Bonner joined the Catalina Express accounting team over 22 years ago. Prior to Catalina Express, Chris gained leadership experience and customer service skills working at a high-end grocery store where he advanced from bagger to store manager. With his strengths in finance, he pursued an account receivable role at Polo Ralph Lauren. “I worked directly with the company controller and learned all the different aspects of accounting. While the atmosphere was casual, the organization had a corporate environment and was very structured. We were departmentalized and didn’t often work or interact with other departments,” commented Chris. Read More...

During his searching for another opportunity, Chris came across an accounting position at Catalina Express on the Cal State Northridge job board. “I noticed a flashing “Free Travel” announcement which immediately caught my eye. It was referring to the free travel to and from Catalina Island for Catalina Express employees. The job was for an accounting supervisor and I thought it would be a good fit for me,” said Chris. “Over 22 years later, I am still very glad I decided to apply.”

Chris collaborates closely with his colleagues and works on special projects to help provide a better experience for the customer and further the growth of the company. Having a better understanding of the company as a whole, helps him lead his team. “I utilize my skills working outside of the department to see what systems we are using and how we can make them better or move to something more advanced to help modernize. For example, the IT, Accounting and Food and Beverage departments are regularly collaborating on our POS System to see how we can make improvements,” commented Chris. “The accounting department feels like our customer base is the whole company, so where there is a need we are here to help."

For your next trip to Catalina, Chris recommends experiencing the clear, clean blue water. Whether you snorkel, kayak, or just take a quick swim, the water is amazing and the sea life is just beautiful. The glass bottom boat is also an amazing way to see under the water if you would prefer to stay dry.
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Guadalupe Rodriguez

Guadalupe Rodriguez

Guadalupe joined the Catalina Express team over 21 years ago, initially looking for a first job to gain work experience and start building her resume. “A friend of mine worked in the accounting department and suggested that Catalina Express would be a great summer job,” commented Guadalupe. “At 18 years old, I meant to stay for just a summer working in the call center. Catalina Express saw potential in me and said they would work around my school schedule. After 21 years, I am still happily working at Catalina Express now as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator.” Read More...

Guadalupe plays a significant role in the marketing of Catalina Express and Catalina Island. “Currently, I am coordinating on what we should promote through our social media channels and advertisements to help visitors view Catalina as their next getaway,” she said.

Throughout COVID-19, Guadalupe and the marketing team worked closely with operations to provide the messaging for the public around the protocols in place and extra precautions being taken for the safety of passengers and employees. As Catalina Island reopened, the team altered the message to reflect the happier news. “When Catalina Island was able to welcome visitors back, we worked closely with our internal teams and Island partners to spread the word and let visitors know all the outdoor activities and dining available to them,” said Guadalupe.

Guadalupe exercises not only her creative side but utilizes her finance degree as the marketing liaison to the accounting department including tracking the budget and the payment of invoices. Other departments in the company work with Guadalupe on creative messaging including signage and flyers. “My favorite part of working at Catalina is getting to know all my colleagues over the years; I feel like I am working with family,” commented Guadalupe.

On your next trip to Catalina Island, Guadalupe recommends experiencing the thrilling and educational interior Eco tour the Catalina Island Conservancy operates with their jeeps and open-air trucks. It is a great way to experience all the breathtaking views Catalina Island has to offer and learn about the history of the island while immersing yourself in nature.
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Daily Boat Trips To Catalina Island

Discover paradise on Catalina Island with daily ferry trips to and from the island. More than one million travelers choose Catalina Island as their getaway each year and Catalina Express' large fleet of boats make the trip in about an hour, operating every day, year round from three mainland ports - Long Beach, San Pedro and Dana Point.

Escape To Catalina Island

Leave the hustle and bustle of the "mainland" behind. Catalina Island is the perfect place to take a break from the demands of daily life. With so many activities to choose from, your visit to Catalina Island can be adventure-packed or filled with rest and relaxation. With its year round Mediterranean climate, it's the ideal place to enjoy ocean air and sunshine.