Growing up in Long Island, NY, in the town of Holtsville, Megan Rebollal has used some fancy footwork to land at Railex, a provider of transportation and logistics services for produce loads that traverse the country. An account representative, she works in Riverhead, NY, where the firm shares space with sister company Hapco, a produce grower-shipper-distributor.
Ms. Rebollal, 26, began dancing competitively at the age of 5 and continued her love of the sport throughout high school.
“I was a huge part of my life,” said Ms. Rebollal. “The dance school I was in was like a family. We trained, traveled around the country and competed together, and our families became close. I made many lifelong friends there.
“Dancing also had a positive effect on me as a person,” Ms. Rebollal continued. “It required a lot of discipline and organization, and that helped shape me into the person I am today. I don’t think I would have had the morals and work ethic had it not been for dancing.”
While she no longer dances competitively, the experience also helped Ms. Rebollal adopt a love for a healthy lifestyle. “I might take a class every now and then to help keep in shape,” she said. “But I am a big gym-goer, and I think that dancing helped instill in me a love of being in shape and healthy.”
Ms. Rebollal also draws on early work experiences to keep herself focused on continued success in her professional life.
“My first job was at a pizzeria, where I started in ninth grade and worked throughout high school,” she said. “It was a fast-paced atmosphere, and it taught me how to deal with many different types of people, which I do now in my duties at Railex. Also, the owners were not the easiest people in the world to work for, so I learned how to deal with that and that there was a time to keep my mouth shut as well.”
After high school, Ms. Rebollal worked as a teller at a bank, and that “taught me a lot about numbers and handling money. I am now very good with numbers, which is a big benefit for me with my job, and I have the bank to thank for that.”
But Ms. Rebollal credits her strong personal relationships with having the biggest impact on her life.
“I am very close with my family and I got a lot of self-confidence from them,” she said. “They have helped me to believe in myself, and that, in turn, helps me as I deal with people and build relationships in my career.”
Ms. Rebollal also draws inspiration from her boyfriend of nearly two years, Daniel Fleming.
“He is a great man, and we have a wonderful relationship,” she said. “He is in telecommunications, which is great for me because I was never into computers and technology, so he helps me out with a lot of the projects I have to do.”
The couple have known each other nearly their entire lives and have gone to school together since 6th grade, but it was only recently that their relationship took a romantic turn.
“We grew up near each other in adjacent neighborhoods, and we were in the same crowd in high school, but we did not hang out very much,” she said. “Then we became reacquainted a couple of years ago at the funeral of the brother of a mutual friend. We had our first date on Valentine’s Day in 2011.”
Ms. Rebollal had no produce or transportation experience prior to joining Hapco four years ago, but the self-starter was a quick study and picked up the nuances of the job in a short time.
“Actually, I started at Hapco and was working on the Railex business for Hapco at first before moving full time to Railex about two years ago,” she said.
Regarding mentors at the company, Ms. Rebollal said that Eric Scannelli and Lauren Keenan were key people who helped her learn the business and adapt to her position.
“I worked alongside Lauren in the beginning, and she taught me everything I know,” she said. “And Eric was also extremely helpful in teaching me the business. Also, Pat Bruno at Railex is also someone I look up to and respect a great deal.”
Ms. Rebollal said that there are both challenges and advantages to being a young person in the industry.
“As for the challenges, I think that this business has a lot of old timers and people that have been around for the long time, so when you are a new voice and a new face, you are not taken seriously at first,” she said. “You have to prove yourself and earn people’s trust. They have to trust me to take what I have to say seriously.
“But there are advantages for someone my age,” she added. “I can offer a fresh new take on what is coming up and what is new and what needs to happen in this industry. And since I had no background in produce or transportation, I didn’t come here with any bad habits. I learned from the best here.”
Would Ms. Rebollal recommend a career in the produce industry to a college senior or other young person looking to enter the work force?
“Definitely,” she said. “It’s not for everyone, but if you are able to multi-task and are a quick learner, you can experience a lot of success in this industry. Basically, you get out of it what you put into it, and that is the main reason I always push myself and give that extra effort. I like to set personal goals for myself, and one of those goals for the next five years is to continue growing in my career and moving up the corporate ladder.”