People of POET: A Helping Hand

ShaQuana Brown leads her team in Savannah with a servant's heart

“Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and actions.”

Those wise words from Harold S. Geneen are an enduring reminder of what true leadership means. The presence of leaders offers hope in moments of chaos — no matter how big or small.

Although she is now, ShaQuana Brown hasn’t always been in a leadership role while working at POET. In all her POET roles, her attitude and actions have certainly exemplified that of a leader and continue to do so as she’s now taken on a leadership role.

ShaQuana Brown - Logistics Supervisor, POET Terminal – Savannah

ShaQuana works as the logistics supervisor at POET Terminal – Savannah, a rail-to-container transload facility that was purchased by POET in September 2022. The facility was formerly owned by Savannah Marine Terminal (SMT).

Located near the Port of Savannah, one of the highest volume container ports in the United States, the facility provides access to key global markets for POET’s animal feed bioproducts, including dried distillers grains and corn fermented protein. POET Terminal – Savannah is key to ensuring maximum traceability and transparency for customers, guaranteeing they get nothing less than the best in food safety and quality.

As the logistics supervisor, Brown is responsible for overseeing container movements in, around, and out of POET Terminal – Savannah’s yards, supervising three team members, and ensuring timely delivery of containers to the port of Savannah.

The job can be stressful, Brown admits. “It’s probably 70 percent stressful, 30 percent calm,” she said.

However, as a leader, she helps her team manage their busy work schedules and be successful at their work.

Brown’s day-to-day duties encompass far more than just checking the shipping containers coming in and out of the port. She’s taking care of her team.

“I know what it feels like to not have the help when you need it,” Brown said. “I don't want anybody to ever feel like they don’t have anybody in their corner that really cares about them. So when I go out there, I want people to say, ‘OK, ShaQuana cares about me. Maybe I can call ShaQuana and see if she can help me,’ and they do.”

Top: ShaQuana Brown speaks with Patrick Boles, SAV Toplift Operator; Middle: Stacked shipping containers; Bottom: ShaQuana Brown reviews shipping details

People have always been Brown’s biggest focus.

As a teenager, Brown looked after her siblings. “I was nine years older than them, so I was always helping my mom out to make sure they were OK, helping them with their homework, and taking them to practices.”

Later, as a non-commissioned officer in the Army, Brown always made sure that her fellow soldiers came first. If someone was having a hard time, they naturally looked to Brown for help.

Brown could have made the military her career. But after eight years and time spent in Germany away from her young kids — she missed their first and second birthdays while overseas — she knew it was time for a change. So, she started taking psychology classes and working in civilian life.

Work is where Brown really gets to focus on people. “I could tell them what to do — that’s my job, after all — but I’d rather connect with them,” she said.

Other times, it’s just being a sounding board for her team. “I’m always going to ask my team how they’re doing and how they feel,” Brown said. “Is there anything that I can do better to help them do their job? How can I do better as a supervisor for them? If they need me, I’m always a phone call or a text message away.”

Brown’s commitment to her team and her helpful nature have helped her move up the ranks quickly and become a valuable team member and leader of the POET team, said Austin Broin, General Manager of POET Terminal – Savannah.

“ShaQuana has grit. She’s just a hard worker. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to help us be successful,” Broin said. “At POET Terminal – Savannah, we try hard as leaders to put forth a culture of servant leadership and do whatever’s needed to succeed. ShaQuana lives that out daily. She never says, ‘That’s not my job,’ she just jumps in and helps out wherever she can. That’s leadership with a servant’s heart.”

Even people who don’t directly report to Brown look to her for leadership, Broin said.

“Anything we’ve thrown at her, ShaQuana does — and does well,” he said. “She just wants to do a good job. She’s had that attitude since day one.”

It’s her commitment to POET and her team that keeps Brown going.

But it’s also her “little people” at home, son Amari and daughter Christina. You’ll likely find the three of them exploring the world. If it’s a nice weekend with nice weather, they might even take a road trip to Florida to enjoy the beaches or spend time at Disney World.

More than anything, Brown wants to be a good role model for her kids. “They inspire me to do good things,” she said.

But Brown doesn’t need — or look for — the credit for anything she does, at work or at home.

“When we achieve something big, it feels so rewarding,” she said. “I don’t need someone saying, “Hey, ShaQuana, you did a great job.’ If the team did a great job, I know I did a great job.”

“We all want to get the job done right,” she said. “That’s why I’m always trying to help everybody.”




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