In 1992, James Barron Sr. was the top salesperson at an aerospace materials company in Florida but he was not pleased with how the company ran or his treatment at the company.
“So, like every good American, I came home and complained to my wife, Antonia,” Barron says.
And, like any good wife, Antonia, who worked at a similar company, listened.
But the complaints ended when Barron came home after work one evening. “Antonia said, ‘You no longer have to complain because you work for me now,’” he recalls.
Antonia had incorporated a business, New Source Corporation, for Barron’s anniversary present. She would do the accounting, he would sell.
Skeptical at first, Barron jumped into New Source Corporation with Antonia. “Within our first 30 days we had already seen a return on our investment and we’ve never had a non-profitable year in our history,” Barron says.
What began as a small business in a small home office, with Barron, Antonia, and soon her brother Juan, has since grown into a leading supplier of aluminum aerospace-grade extrusions with 23 employees spread between offices in Florida and California.
“It was a very rapid growth,” Barron says. “We were receiving numerous awards and each step we took opened up two more steps.”
An award from Boeing was quickly followed by one from Northrop Grumman, for example. Soon, Antonia was visiting the White House to receive an award as the founder of a woman-owned business.
“All those steps early on were part of my wife’s dream and I’m happy that I was part of helping that dream come true,” Barron says.
Commitments to customers, quality, and continuous improvement have fueled the growth.
“It was all about customer service, doing whatever it took to make the customer happy,” Barron says.
Barron cites a 1994 deal in which a customer needed repair materials quickly as an example. He flew into Utah and arranged for a truck with two drivers to deliver the materials to the customer’s facility in Idaho. Drivers alternated shifts and reached the customer overnight.
“It was all about going the extra steps and wanting it more than the other person,” Barron says.
That has always been the case.
Barron worked through the weekend to close New Source Corporation’s first big deal, the one that helped solidify the investment return within the first month. Their then-fledgling business was one of many companies to get a fax from a major customer on a Friday afternoon. However, it was only Barron who stayed up all Friday night working on the quotation.
“By 5 a.m. on Saturday, I had the order,” he says. “I probably gambled on some prices but that’s how willing I was to earn the business.”
The quality that New Source Corporation still prides itself on today starts with making sure it has the right information for the quotation and knowledge of the material, Barron says. “Sometimes when a customer sends a quote request to us, they give us incorrect information that we catch.”
New Source Corporation maintains quality through the customer relationship. For example, it ensures that everything on the sales order is correct, that the items shipped match those ordered, that materials are delivered to the right locations, and that the invoice is accurate.
Quality is also embedded throughout the company in the form of its people and processes. Developing employees’ skills has helped New Source Corporation continuously improve and grow.
Barron and Antonia have groomed leaders in their children, Jamie and Stephanie, as well as some of the company’s first employees. “We often learned lessons without knowing he was teaching us,” Jamie Barron, Vice President of New Source Corporation, says of his father.
For example, though Jamie initially wondered why his father began each day playing solitaire on his computer, he eventually realized that Barron Sr. was modeling a way to start the workday. “It was a good daily ritual to get calm and to get in a mindset to sell,” Jamie Barron says.
“We’ve taken the model that our Mom and Dad created and have continued to apply it because it has proven to be reliable. We take that same mentality, that same desire, that same extra step in customer service.”
New Source Corporation continues to grow on the foundation that has been built, beginning with that unique anniversary present almost 30 years ago.
“All of the glory goes to Antonia,” Barron says. “She had the dream and made us realize it.”