When an employee, customer or visitor walks into the Icewater Seafoods plant in Arnold’s Cove, the first face they see is Carmelita Warren’s.
“I completed a 2-year Office Administration program, worked in St. John’s for a few years and then accepted a 6-month position here at Icewater Seafoods. Six months turned into 28 years and counting. I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Carmelita says.
As Traffic Coordinator and Office Administrator, she’s busy and organized. Carmelita processes the paperwork and obtains certifications for trucks and containers shipping processed cod to Europe and the United States. During peak times, 2 trucks and 3 containers may leave the plant in one day, each carrying product meticulously processed and packaged by her colleagues. Customers are counting on Carmelita to have certifications and custom requirements completed before the product reaches customs.
She also handles invoicing, sells fish to local customers who come in the plant looking to buy fillets, tongues or cheeks, and is the switchboard operator.
While the processing equipment inside the plant is modern and innovative, among the best in the world, Carmelita says the company itself still holds traditional values. “Bruce Wareham instilled his values throughout the company. Around here, a handshake is as good as your signature and how you speak to people is important,” she explains.
That’s probably why Carmelita continues to operate the switchboard instead of it being taken over by technology. “I learned a long time ago that if you smile when you answer the telephone, people on the other end can hear it. When I call somewhere, I like to be greeted by a nice, friendly person so that’s what I do here.”
Carmelita’s husband, Gordon, also works at the Arnold’s Cove plant. “We realize how lucky we are to work so close to home. We’ve raised our children here and have been able to help them both through University. We feel very fortunate to be able to do that with the steady work we’ve had at the plant.”
Carmelita and Gordon are now empty nesters, so she has more time on her hands. She spends most of that time reading, quilting and watching her son playing hockey.