For Erica Uribe, it all started with concert tickets.
But it ended up becoming an entry to a more fulfilling and longer-lasting experience at a Barry-Wehmiller company.
At the time, Erica was a stay-at-home mom. When she found out Luke Combs was coming to town to play a concert, she really wanted to go. However, her husband wasn’t happy when he saw the price.
“He didn't think that amount of money was worth it,” Erica said. “So, I was like, ‘You know what? I'm going to find my own.’”
Erica decided to find a temporary job, something she could do for a little bit, make a little extra money and then go back to being a stay-at-home mom.
She followed a post in an online group for a temporary receptionist position, which led her to being hired at BW Integrated Systems’ Romeoville, IL (USA) location.
BW Integrated Systems is part of the BW Packaging group of companies in the Barry-Wehmiller family. BW Integrated Systems is an industry leader in the design and manufacture of end-of-line packaging equipment, labeling equipment and robotic automation solutions, as well as the execution of integrated packaging systems. Their machines serve a wide variety of industries, including automotive, food, beverage and spirits, container manufacturing, pharmaceutical, dairy, personal care and more.
“It was only supposed to be just to prove a point that I'm going to get these concert tickets myself,” Erica said. “So, I went online and I searched for, ‘What do moms do for part-time jobs?’ And I found this link and I applied.
“I called my mom who was in California at the time, and I was like, ‘Mom, I'm going to get these concert tickets, so I need to get this part-time job. It's only for four months. Will you come home and help me out with the children?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, sure, no problem.’”
But what happened next wasn’t quite what Erica had expected. When she had looked at the temporary receptionist post, Erica read about Barry-Wehmiller’s culture of Truly Human Leadership. She watched videos of CEO Bob Chapman talking about the company culture. At the time she thought, “This is different.”
“But one thing is reading it and then the other thing is really experiencing that culture and knowing that it's real,” Erica said. “It sounded like an amazing place to work, but I was a little doubtful. Having worked in other corporate worlds, it seemed almost impossible.”
Erica started as a temporary receptionist, but within a couple of months, she was presented with the opportunity for a full-time permanent position – executive administrative assistant.
“Again, I came into this thinking it wasn't going to be a long-term thing,” Erica said. “I wanted to focus at home, but once you're here and seeing just... I can't describe it, just seeing how everybody is. Everybody seems so happy and it is, it really is a happy place to be.
“I come in smiling every day. Everybody's so polite. They thank you for doing your job. So, when I got the opportunity to stay, I said, ‘You know what? I'm going to stay,’ and I really like it, and it allows me the flexibility to be a focused, engaged mom, while still having a career for myself.”
Erica has a passion to serve others, so she enjoys the aspects of her job where she’s solving problems and helping support others in their roles. As she said, she feels needed.
“I truly do, I enjoy what I do at work and it doesn't drain me,” Erica said. “I've done other corporate jobs where you get home and you're just tired and you want to do nothing else, but just be quiet and spend time, and that's not the case. I am able to leave this job where I feel I've had a successful day. I go home, I volunteer at the church, I take our kids to sports, and I don't feel drained at the end of the day. I still have a lot of energy and motivation to still do what I have to do the other half of the day.”
Erica’s passion for service was obvious last summer when she thought of a unique idea to encourage and inspire her teammates despite warmer than usual weather.
“We have Gatorades and ice water available at all times, but to do a fun treat,” Erica said. “And so, one of the fun treats that we did was I rented a paletas cart. It's like a cooler on wheels for ice cream, and it was Mexican popsicles, if you will and it's got little bells on it. And usually, you'll see this in the inner cities, there'll be people walking down the blocks with the paletas cart. So, I thought, what a fun way to not only distribute a great treat, but to bring some cheer to the facility. And everyone really enjoyed it. I walked around the shop, I also walked around the office ringing the bells.”
Erica said the activity was about taking ordinary tasks and doing a doing just a little bit more to really make somebody's day.
“There's a quote, ‘Go the extra mile, it's never crowded there’ and I like it,” she said. “I just try to inspire people throughout the office. And that's a great example of how I contribute to that.”
Erica tries to help others feel what she feels at work – valued and appreciated.
“I'm paid to do a job, and that's one thing,” she said. “But when they truly appreciate you and people come to you and go out of their way to make you feel important, appreciated, that speaks volumes.”
BW Integrated Systems President Pete Carlson said Erica brings a contagious, positive approach to each person she interacts with across our organization.
“She consistently seeks out ways to make a meaningful impact on our leaders, team members and customers,” Pete said. "Erica is instrumental to many of our key initiatives across the organization. She has led several large capital improvement projects across our organization and set a new level of service for others to aspire achieving in hospitality. I am grateful for her leadership, tremendous attitude, attention to detail and commitment to results.”
Erica did get those Luke Combs tickets. The venue even put her poster on the Jumbotron that said: "This ex-stay at home mom got a job just to be here!”
And what was originally only supposed to be a four-month gig turned into something much, much more.
“After I started working here and I called my mom and I was telling her how much I really loved what I did and how she’s probably going to have to stay longer,” Erica said.
“I felt like it was an opportunity of a lifetime. To be able to find something that you're really good at doing and the flexibility that they offer, and I'm still able to be a mom, a present mom, in my kids' lives and be able to work full time, was one of the best things I could have ever asked for.”
Better Work. Better World. is a video series designed to shine a
light on team members throughout the global Barry-Wehmiller
organization. Watch the video through the link above to hear more.