How long have you been at Serpa?
I started at Serpa May 7, 1990.
What is a day in your life at Serpa like?
I’m in charge of going through the hit list, trying to figure out what parts are missing for the rest of the crew, assembling by priority, QC other people’s jobs, see where they’re having issues, checking on their work and seeing that it’s properly assembled.
What inspires you to succeed every day?
I want to do well in my job so that the people I’m training can take over after me. The day that I decide to retire and leave, I expect them to do what I used to do, what I’m normally doing; quality work, organize the project, and get everything out the door.
What is the most meaningful part of your day? What feels the best when you get something done?
I try to set up a goal and say, “This is what I want to get done” and once I get it done and I see what I got done I feel proud of myself.
When do you have the most fun at work?
There are some days that it’s an easy day, easy projects, and there’s times that are very hard projects that we get on the floor, but most of the time it’s not that hard of a day, it’s an enjoyable day. A lot of times you look forward to the challenge that we have on the floor and once you succeed and you get it done and you see what was done, it’s joyful; it makes you feel good.
Why did you select Serpa as opposed to another company?
I was an auto mechanic for 15 years and I got tired of the grease and the dirtiness of being a mechanic. I knew Fernando Serpa before he started his business; my younger brother was working for Serpa in the 90s and I just decided to go one day and look and see what they were doing. I started working with him part-time. I got interested because it was nice, in a clean environment. I got the job offer from Fernando, and I thought, “Well, let me see what I can do.”
What opportunities or experiences have you most enjoyed?
The job that we have on the floor right now, that was a good experience because it was a brand-new job, I have never built something like that before. Everybody was asking me, “How do we do this”, “How do we do that”, and I would answer, “Hey I’m in the same boat you are; this is all new for me.” But it was a good experience—as long as you concentrate and you know how to read the prints everything will come together. We got it done.
If someone new were joining the team what one piece of advice do you think they should know?
This is not about being a mechanic, these machines are way above being a mechanic, you really gotta know what you’re doing. My advice to them is: read the print, try to learn the print, and ask a lot of questions—don’t just guess. If you guess a lot of time, it’s wrong. You need to follow the prints because a lot of times you can get it confused and build it backwards—and it’s happened a lot with all these new guys.
What is something you’ve learned or your biggest take away during your time at Serpa?
All the experience that I got building cartoners and case packers; I didn’t know anything about it when I started, and apparently, it’s a big thing now, cartoners and case packers. You can look back and say, I built million-dollar machines and a lot of guys don’t have that opportunity. That makes me feel proud of myself.
What keeps you motivated and coming to work every day?
I’ve been home days, during the week and it seems like I’m lost without being here. It seems like I’m needed here; it seems like I need to come to Serpa and get my daily workout. A lot of times I can walk around and pinpoint things and do things but I gotta grab wrenches—it keeps me motivated, it keeps me young, it keeps me going.
You’ve worked for similar companies before – what are some of the biggest differences you’ve found working for Serpa and your prior employers?
There was no challenge over there—they were just too simple machines. When you build Serpa machines, you really gotta know what you’re doing. It’s challenging and I like it because the more challenging they are the more you learn.