An interview with Meagan Fahey Summers, Operations Manager


“I love the adventure, the travelling and the challenges in shipping.”

After attending the US Merchant Marine Academy, Meagan Fahey Summers’ love of the sea drew her to the shipping industry. Today she works as Operations Manager in our Tanker division in Annapolis.

Tell us a bit about yourself:
I am originally from Plymouth, Massachusetts.  I went to the US Merchant Marine Academy and graduated in 2008.  I went to sea for a few years.  I sailed on research vessels as a deck officer and unlicensed engineer.  I also worked with the US Air Force and worked on small boats for their paratrooper training program.  After that I worked on an oil spill response vessel with Marine Spill Response Corp. as chief mate. When I graduated from the Merchant Marine Academy, in addition to getting a Merchant Marine license, I was commissioned into the US Navy as an officer.  I was in the US Naval Reserves for eight years.  

Now I live in Maryland and have an amazing husband and 22-month old daughter and am a part of the NORDEN Norient Product Pool (NPP) Annapolis team. As operations manager, I work with stakeholders such as owners, agents, charterers, and ship captains to fulfil the contract obligations of safely moving clean products from load to discharge ports.  

I train for triathlons in my spare time and love to compete.  

What drew you to a career in shipping?
I originally wanted to be in the military full time, but after my sea experience while in school I fell in love with the shipping industry.  I love the adventure and travelling and the challenges that you face every day.  Every day is a new challenge and shipping is never boring.

What have been your stand-out experiences?
Being at sea is an amazing experience.  I have seen places all over the world and have experienced so many things. Being with NORDEN I have also been able to travel to each of the NPP offices and meeting all my colleagues around the world has been amazing.  

Women are still under-represented in shipping. What does it take to succeed in this male-dominated industry?
You have to be confident in your abilities.  I come into work every day with a smile on my face and happy to be here because I love what I do.  I have worked with men who think women don’t belong in the industry, but you can’t let them stop you. There are so many great people in the shipping industry. I work with an amazing team and we all bring our own individual strengths and weaknesses that make us stronger as a team.  

How can we attract more women to the industry?
I think it is lack of knowledge of the opportunities available. Women can do anything we put our mind to. I also think some women are intimidated by an industry dominated by men. If more women in the industry are vocal about our positive experiences and are welcoming to new females who join this amazing community, we will start to see more women in shipping.

What is your advice to young women considering a career in shipping today?
Let’s go!  Don’t be afraid of what other people think. You are who you are and need to be confident about knowing that. Also reach out to other women who are already in the industry and get their perspective. If you have doubts or concerns, there are many women who are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.