The General Managers Part Two
Recently we introduced you to two of our general managers (GMs), Calene and Seth, in a candid Q&A session. Well, we are at it again with two more GMs. I’d like to introduce you to Jeff Katz and Derek Lindeberg.
Jeff Katz is the GM for the Northeast Region, covering New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut. Jeff has worked for OFR Metals for fourteen years.
Derek Lindeberg is the GM for the Texas Region. Derek has been with OFR Metals since Nov. 4, 2013, but has been in the industry for over 20 years.
What is a typical day like as a general manager for OFR Metals?
JK: My day usually starts the evening before when we recap the day’s events and set priorities for the coming days. During my morning drive to the office, I like to start by talking with some of the OSRs about the best opportunities we are working on. Once at the office, I take a quick walk around the facility to make sure everyone is feeling good and on track for the day. Next, we have our morning huddle with sales and operations to review our progress and objectives for the day. I try to stay focused on clearing obstacles, working with major accounts, and making sure we are progressing on our longer term goals. You must have a great strategy, but executing on the plan is where the heart pumping action is. No matter how much planning is done, you can bet that there will be a few surprises and you need to stay flexible, nimble, positive, and focused on the big picture.
DL: I am typically in a lot of meetings discussing pertinent issues to our business. There are always sales opportunities to evaluate, customers to talk with, continuous-improvement projects, issues to be resolved etc., that keep my days busy.
Company culture is important to OFR Metals as a company, its employees, and future hires. How would you describe the culture of OFR?
JK: There is a great team spirit here. That attitude starts at the very top of [O’Neal Industries (ONI)]. Our company’s values, like honesty and integrity, respect for each other, and community service, set a tone that radiates through all decisions. We all have jobs to do, but ONI recognizes that we are all human with families, personal goals, and special talents. You know that the company will support you in reaching your potential. As an employee, you are not treated like an anonymous number. Our employee benefits and other programs demonstrate that ONI cares about its employees.
DL: We practice and encourage a lot of collaboration. So, I would say our culture is very open, non-confrontational, high-energy, and really geared around always thinking about how we can improve our business.
Obviously no job is all sunshine and roses. What is the biggest struggle you have experienced working at OFR? Has it had any impact on where you are today?
JK: We provide outstanding products and services. So, it can be frustrating when a buyer’s decision boils down to just the lowest price when we have much more to offer. I try to emphasize that we need to be proud of the service we provide, the company we represent, and the value we bring to our customers. We need to promote all the good work that we view as the right and natural way to do things.
DL: The margin for error in our line of business is thin with the pricing pressure we are constantly under. So, I struggle with minimizing and limiting our exposure to mistakes that erode our profitability. This will always be a work in progress, but I believe we continue to improve our processes and controls and have been pleased with our progress.
Did you have any role models (famous or not) that had an influence on where you are today? Who are they and how did they help you get here?
JK: I‘d have to say the traditional values of being grateful for everyday and everything is where I start each day. On a more earthly scale, Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is one of my favorite personal development books.
DL: My father comes to mind first and foremost. He showed me the habits I would need to be successful, including hard work, focus on results, being dedicated to the company you work for, and making sure the quality of work is performed at a high level.
The bottom line to what OFR values and believes is our customers and their success. In your opinion how does doing business with OFR help our customers succeed?
JK: First it is our integrity as a company. We maintain ISO standards, provide a high-quality product and excellent service at a competitive price. When you choose OFR Metals as your material supplier you can expect quality products and services, and you will have less to worry about. We know there will be bumps in the road, but we will help you work through it and we will never run from a problem. We know that if we can help our customers to prosper, we will grow with them. That’s the win/win we are striving for.
DL: We are focused on a high level of execution from answering the phone call of the customer to our driver delivering the final product to the customer’s door. I believe customers in this day and age are most interested in suppliers that can provide knowledgeable, reliable, consistent, and quick service that keeps disruptions to their businesses to a minimum. By providing those service attributes better than the competition, our customers, and OFR Metals, will be more successful because we will be providing better value overall, especially over the medium and long-term.
What do you want to most be remembered for at OFR Metals?
JK: I would like to be remembered for the successes, the fun, our accomplishments, and the people that I helped develop in their careers. Helping someone grow to their potential and achieve success, maybe even beyond what they might have imagined, is one of the most satisfying parts of the job.
DL: I’d like to be most remembered for helping professionally develop employees at OFR Metals and helping promote a work environment for all our employees that they find comfortable and stimulating.
We have heard from four OFR Metals general managers. That means we have three more to go. Check back for more interviews.