Kristen Chittenden

Director of Business Development

How long have you worked for/with the Port? I have worked with the port and as an employee of HMI for just over three years.

What are your main responsibilities? My main responsibilities are developing our business through strong relationships, alliances, and our core competencies. From a day-to- day perspective, I’m involved with sales, marketing, and strategies that help enhance services for our customers and our overall business.

What do you love most about your job? I love the people and the industry. I was an in-house attorney for the company prior to my role in business development, and when I first made the switch from a law firm to the shipyard, I fell in love with our employees, the Port Tampa Bay community, and the industry at-large. The people are down-to- earth, sincere, and hardworking, and the industry is complex, challenging, and intellectually stimulating. I also love that our ship repair services fit into a much bigger picture. We are not only providing jobs for our employees so they can provide for their families, but we are keeping commerce moving throughout the country and keeping the U.S. Coast Guard safe. It’s incredible to come into the yard in the morning and see a huge barge or a Coast Guard vessel on drydock. Some of those barges leave our yard to carry petroleum that fuels a car or a jet. Those cars and jets get people to their jobs and to their families, and throughout the process, jobs are created and more people can provide for their families. I love being a part of a company and industry that plays a role in that process.

What advice would you give to the young generation?Treat other people like you want to be treated. It’s such a simple phrase that carries people far in all aspects of life—with their families, in their careers, and in their community work. I struggle with it daily, but I always strive to do it.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a history teacher. When I was in sixth grade, Mr. Alvis was my history teacher, and he had the ability to make history come to life. I wanted to do that for children as well, and I ended up getting my B.A. in history, but when I was in high school, I started working with a law firm and discovered that law combined my favorite aspects of history—storytelling and research and writing, and so I pursued law school. When I started as an in-house attorney, I began taking classes for my MBA, and now I use both my law degree and business knowledge.

When you are not at work, what do you enjoy doing? I sing in a rock band, but I also enjoy running, reading, dancing, and the outdoors.