Maersk’s youngest employee?

Recently promoted to Operations Manager at the Paranaguá Inland Services in Brazil, Ederson Gouveia has, at the age of 29, already spent half of his life with Maersk. He joined the Group when he was 14 years old.

Ederson Gouveia earned his college degree in business and foreign trade and is now pursuing an MBA in project management. His advice to others? “Believe in yourself.” Photo: Joka Madruga

Mario Augusto Veraldo, Cluster Manager for Maersk Line, was one of the first in the company who noticed the young Ederson Gouveia.

“What impressed me was that his very simple roots and background didn’t prevent him from being able to acquire information and put it to good use in his work,” Veraldo says.

Though English language classes were usually reserved for employees of the company, Veraldo encouraged Gouveia and his managers so that Gouveia could be a part of the programme.

Being able to attend those classes added to Gouveia’s determination and commitment to his duties. Despite being young, colleagues and managers from the Maersk Line office in Santos City in Brazil noticed his hard work and determination, and what began as a two-year apprenticeship eventually stretched to a 15-year engagement.

Starting out as an apprentice
When he was 14 Gouveia was able to join Sealand, which would later be acquired by Maersk, through a non-government organisation called Círculo de Amigos do Menor Patrulheiro de Guaruja (CAMPG) that helps young Brazilians enter the labour market through training and apprenticeships.

Just as his apprenticeship ended in 2001, Gouveia’s initiative and natural interest in computers took over. “My apprenticeship ended at a crucial moment when Maersk Line had just started to integrate their systems with Inland Services in the Santos Port. I learned a lot about key systems for operations which quickly helped me become a ‘super user.’ This led to employment options later on.”

When asked how he acquired such a well-developed work ethic at such an early age, Gouveia speaks highly of his parents. “They did everything they had to in order to take care of me,” he says.

His mother was instrumental in his computer training. Upon learning of her son’s interest in computers, she sought to work another day of the week to help pay for a computer course.

“When I look back, I realise that they were always trying to teach me something, sometimes with no words, only attitude,” he says.

Paying it forward

Now a manager, Gouveia sees his role as yet another opportunity to pay back the chances he was given along the way. This time, it will be him urging his team on to live out their potential.

Ederson Gouveia in brief

  • Age: 29 years
  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in business and foreign trade
  • First job: Apprentice at Maersk Line in Santos City
  • Interests: Spending time with family, reading management and performance articles, instrumental music, solving logic and reasoning tests, TV series