Spotlight: Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics
Port of Hueneme
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) manages ocean-to-land and then transport, and the reverse, of more than 230,000 vehicles at the Port of Hueneme each year. Like an effortless dance, 75,000 of those cars and other vehicles arrive and depart by sea through highly meticulous and carefully crafted and coordinated efforts between Len Mazzella’s “ocean” team and Mike Wallace’s “land” arm of the business.
Delivering Cars, Jobs and More
WWL vessels began calling the Port of Hueneme home in 1987. Since then, the company has become the Port’s largest customer. In 1991 it took a big step forward for the community when it purchased land in Oxnard and built the company’s first Vehicle Processing Center where it has continued to generate additional revenue and jobs for the community.
“Investing in property and infrastructure locally meant we could leverage all our businesses and offer a unique and seamless end-to-end service,” said Wallace, senior general manager for WWL Vehicle Services Americas, Inc. whose vehicle processing center clients include virtually all the big automakers. “This unique combination of investments has led to the creation of one of most successful and largest growth areas for the company.”
“We like to say we can deliver factory to dealer or anywhere in between,” said Mazzella, vice president and general manager of Gulf and Western Area Operations for WWL, responsible for all marine-related operating activities from British Columbia to the Gulf of Mexico for the company. Mazzella credits WWL’s success in Port Hueneme – the company has seen more than 100% growth in revenue to the Port since it opened the processing center – to the extraordinary chemistry that exists between all the stakeholders involved. For Mazzella this team includes a wide variety of WWL and non-WWL members.
“The spirit of cooperation is exceptional. Our success is a result of the hard work, skill, dedication, teamwork and professionalism of everyone from longshoremen, pilots and tug operators, to the Port of Hueneme staff, our industry peers and, most importantly, our customers,” said Mazzella, a 28-year veteran of the company. “What makes this community unique is the tremendous spirit of collaboration to overcome challenges and achieve results – a can-do and back-me-up attitude that is very hard to find elsewhere.”
Wallace who is in charge of “off dock” activities at the facilities located two miles from the Port where vehicle processing staging and transportation coordination takes place, agrees.
“Ventura County has a great labor force,” said Wallace, “We have so many talented people to work with and everyone pulls together to make business successful here.”
A Company that Works for the Community
Fortunately for the Port and Ventura County, WWL does more than create jobs. A solid citizen of the community WWL participates in a number of ways to make Ventura County better. A friend of the environment, the company has employed extensive recycling programs and green initiatives including their “Castor Green” program which was developed to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. The program ensures as much as possible – from paper and cardboard to aluminum and steel – is recycled. In addition, WWL employees regularly participate in Oxnard Coastal Clean Up events.
WWL is a major supporter of the local Boys and Girls Club, the Navy League of the United States and the Channel Islands Maritime Museum contributing both dollars and community service hours to each of these organizations. The company is also an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Hueneme Business Alliance.
Finding a Home in Ventura County
Both Mazzella and Wallace have families and have put down substantial roots in the county. Mazzella who has lived in Oxnard for almost 20 years hails from New York where he graduated from the State University of New York, Maritime College with a bachelor’s degree and third officer’s license from the U.S. Merchant Marine. Prior to arriving on the west coast, he held a variety of senior positions within WWL in New Jersey and Baltimore. It was in New Jersey where he met his soon-to-be wife Stephanie . Together they have two children, Christina and Courtney.
Wallace started in logistics and automobile processing in the state of Washington where he had attended college at Central Washington University. Since then, he has managed facilities in Tacoma, Detroit and Los Angeles. Wallace and his wife, moved from Long Beach and have called Camarillo home for the last 22 years. His wife has served as an elementary school teacher for the last 18 years in the Pleasant Valley School District. Wallace and his wife have two daughters.
Men of the Community
Both Mazzella and Wallace agree life is more than just work.
“My ‘baby’ daughter will be a high school junior this fall,” says Wallace. “Time goes by quickly, and it’s important to make sure you spend time with the people you love.”
While family takes center stage in the lives of both men, it has spawned Mazzella’s family’s commitment to a bigger cause. Mazzella’s youngest daughter, Courtney, the only “Cali” girl in the family, was born with a deadly neuromuscular disease, spinal muscular atrophy.
“We were originally told she would not survive past the age of 2,” said Mazzella. “She’s 18 now and shows us the true meaning of hope and faith every day.”
Courtney’s care is managed at her home by Stephanie and a team of health care professionals. In their free time, Len and Stephanie work to raise funds and awareness for Muscular Dystrophy Association and Cure SMA.