Charlie Herrera feels like he started working at New Source Corporation yesterday but that “yesterday” was almost 20 years ago.
“They say that if you come to work, and you enjoy it and don’t feel like you’re working, then you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing,” Herrera says.
For Herrera, that means running New Source Corporation’s West Coast business as Operations Manager for the California Office, which has grown exponentially. “It’s been a fast-moving pace,” he says.
When Herrera began managing in California, it was just him and another employee in a small warehouse shipping and receiving aluminum aerospace-grade extrusions. Now, Herrera manages seven employees, and they work together in a much larger space and do more than shipping and receiving.
In addition to managing freight and logistics, Herrera and his California team also handle a portion of New Source Corporation’s managed processing capabilities. With the ability to cut material on-site, the California branch is quickly able to ship material to West Coast customers, for example. The California branch also works with experienced manufacturers to outsource solutions for New Source Corporation’s customers, such as heat treatment, precision shearing, and grinding.
New Source Corporations offices are very much intertwined and Herrera works closely with the team in the Florida office. “Everything we do, we do as a team,” he says.
A salesperson in Florida may ask Herrera how long it would take to fill an order or whether a material could be cut to the size that a customer wants, for example. Herrera also offers suggestions such as how to cut material into smaller pieces to fit within the limits set by shipping companies or how to pack a shipment properly.
Growing with the Company
Herrera is a hands-on manager who does whatever he can to help the team. “We don’t ask our employees to do anything we haven’t done or that we can’t do,” he says.
That is no small claim as Herrera has done much since joining New Source Corporation as one of its first employees. He started working in the Florida Warehouse during summers in high school handling inventory and quickly became an essential part of the day-to-day operations.
A few years later, James Barron Sr., who started New Source Corporation with his wife Antonia, knew who to turn to when the manager of New Source Corporation’s California office quit unexpectedly. “Charlie gave up his life in Miami to move out to our California Office and take it over,” Barron says. “He came in there and built that whole branch.”
Herrera humbly credits Barron and the New Source Corporation team as a whole for the branch’s growth. “James told me to be a sponge and never stop learning,” Herrera says.
Herrera learned much from Barron, even when he did not realize he was being taught. For example, Barron regularly helped Herrera work through quality audits for customers until one day Herrera was doing them himself. “He Mr. Miyagi-ed me,” he says, referring to the fictional mentor in The Karate Kid film series. Herrera manages his team similarly, leading by example.
“We try to teach our employees so that when they fall into a new situation they should be able to handle it with the skills we have given them,” Herrera says. “That’s part of our success.”
Teamwork is also vital to New Source Corporation’s growth, Herrera says. “If someone makes a mistake, it’s, ‘We made a mistake and how do we avoid it next time?’”
New Source Corporation continuously improves. “We keep soaking in knowledge from everybody and keep getting better,” Herrera says.
Putting the customer first also drives improvement. “We see every customer as being our largest customer,” Herrera says.
Herrera embraced that commitment when he joined New Source Corporation almost 20 years ago and he still lives by it today. “I just do what I do, and that’s who I am,” he says.
Indeed, doing what he does has made time so pass quickly for Herrera, that to him, joining New Source Corporation really does seem like “yesterday.”