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Mother and daughter both got their start at TCC

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit a year ago, Tidewater Community College alumna Marguerite Bates-Frier was working to keep goods moving from the Port of Virginia to retailers nationwide.

As regional vice president of intermodal drayage for XPO Logistics, Inc., Bates-Frier and her regional fleet of more than 500 owner/operator truck drivers work to move cargo from large shipping containers to import and export distribution centers locally and over the roads.

“Truck drivers move America and are often taken for granted, as most people don’t know the critical role they play in America’s supply chain. Without them the shelves are empty,” she said. “With record freight volumes, lack of storage space and vessel delays, it has been a delicate dance to keep this all moving.”

Bates-Frier got her start at TCC when she was a stay-at-home mom with her infant daughter Nadia. Today mother and daughter are both TCC alumni, earning general studies associate degrees.

“It’s not something I reflect on often, but I owe a lot to TCC and appreciate the start I got there,” she said.

“I learned a lot at TCC and was quick to turn there once again when it was time to start looking at options for Nadia such as dual enrollment,” Bates-Frier said. “TCC provided the educational building blocks and played a pivotal role in the success of my future education and my career.”

After TCC, Bates-Frier went to work for local shipping company, Maersk, as a dispatcher. It was there that she was introduced to the maritime industry and her passion for the field ignited.

Bates-Frier worked her way up the ladder from dispatcher to regional vice president in ten years. She utilizes this knowledge to give back to the community by advising academic graduates and supporting maritime and supply chain needs — locally, regionally, and nationally.  

“I absolutely love what I do. The days are fast-paced and rewarding. I encourage others to look at the field as the opportunities are endless,” she said.

Bates-Frier went on to earn her Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies from University of Virginia (UVA) and a Master of Engineering Management from Old Dominion University (ODU).

She is on the board for the Virginia Maritime Association, is the past president of Tidewater Motor Truck Association and serves on the Old Dominion Maritime and Supply Chain Advisory Council.

“My TCC education was absolutely the springboard that got me here,” Bates-Frier added. “I’m confident in business and proud to be on an executive team.”

As for daughter Nadia Frier, the 18-year-old earned her high school diploma and associate degree in 2020. As a dual enrolled student, she completed the first two years of a bachelor’s degree at TCC and now has her sights set on completing her four-year degree at University of Vermont or UVA.

“It felt good to have something to do during the pandemic and to work hard to get my general education classes done,” Frier said.

Frier spent the winter working at Wintergreen Resort, honing her customer service skills.

“My time at TCC helped me gain confidence and independence,” she said.

Frier is back in class at TCC, taking summer courses that will prepare her for what is certain to be a successful academic career.

“It’s always been my dream to go to college and I’m grateful to have my first degree at 18. And even though I probably won’t use statistics and bio in my daily life, having that knowledge and getting through those exams just makes me feel more prepared for what comes next.”

Graduate has “High Hopes” for communication career

Ron Imel is one of the first Tidewater Community College graduates to earn an Associate of Science in General Studies with a Specialization in Professional Communication.

Imel’s program included a semester-long internship with the Norfolk Campus Student Center.

TCC’s 67th Commencement Exercises are Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

“At TCC, I gained confidence in my abilities and learned how to communicate effectively,” Imel said. “I definitely developed those soft skills important for today’s workforce. From conflict resolution to writing an effective email, I have those tools in my toolkit now.”

He produced a campus Lip Sync Challenge to the upbeat song “High Hopes,” which was viewed more than 1,800 times on Facebook.

High Hopes Lip Sync

He also provided social media support for the college’s Interactive Communications division.

Imel chose TCC because it was affordable, close to home and familiar. He started at the college several times in his early 20s before tackling the degree at age 28.

Before coming to the college, the Indian River High graduate worked in customer service.

He chose the professional communication degree because of the diverse curriculum that includes courses in interpersonal, business and professional, and intercultural communication.

He touts communications professor Mark Frederick, who challenged him with engaging assignments and lectures.  “Dr. Frederick is very knowledgeable, really funny and invested in his students,” he said.

“I’m happy to be finally getting a degree,” Imel said. “I feel prepared for the work ahead and know that doors are going to open.”

Passionate about film production, Imel hopes to become a voice actor and also do production work. He is considering studying at Regent University.

“TCC is a great place to start,” Imel said. “The college is well-known in the community and for good reason.”