Employee Spotlight: A Chat With Driver James Crist
We’re proud this week to shine a light on James Crist, a driver for Kloeckner Metals Tampa, who has already made a name for himself around Kloeckner as a cancer survivor who is committed to making a difference in the lives of those around him. James told us “I had colon cancer and survived, and after going through that, I made a decision to live my life to make a difference. I am truly committed to doing anything and everything to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”
James calculates the impact of this philosophy by adding, “If I can help one person per day, seven days per week, fifty-two weeks per year, some of those people will be motivated to ‘pay it forward.’ The impact will be significant.” We asked James a series of questions to learn more about his life philosophy and his work day-to-day:
What Brought You To Kloeckner Metals Corporation?
I moved to Tampa, Florida from Tennessee and came to Kloeckner through a staffing agency in 2017 to fill a driver role.
Why Did You Choose To Work for Kloeckner Metals Corporation?
I liked the Kloeckner environment and wanted to stay on. Kloeckner has a family-oriented culture and the employees care about one another. I also liked the KloecknerCares initiative, through which we support aid projects. This aligns with my values of giving back to the community.
What Exactly Does Your Job Involve?
My job is driving a local delivery route around the Tampa area. I also have the opportunity to really understand what customers use and how our metals goes into their products. Once something extraordinary occurred: I actually sold some tube to a customer that was a return from another customer, and this material would otherwise have to be returned to our warehouse. I love that I could contribute to selling steel.
What Do You Like About Your Job?
Interacting with many different people and meeting new people is enjoyable and helps make the job more fulfilling. Every day is a new adventure, as you see a lot of interesting things. I am always willing to get involved in a situation where I can help, and you would be surprised how often you can make a difference and help someone when you are aware and open to getting involved. The incidents where I was able to administer first aid to accident victims are some of the examples of the adventures that one encounters every day driving a truck.
What Skills Are Needed To Do Your Job?
Consistency and reliability are very important. I have good people skills and I’m able to work well with our customers. A truck driver must also have a strong sense of orientation and a good understanding of his surroundings and always anticipate what other drivers will do. A “safety 1st” focus is critically important when driving a 40-ton vehicle.
What Is Your Most Important Work Tool?
Obviously, in my case, a new, reliable truck and equipment are critical to success. I am glad that Kloeckner provides me with a modern vehicle.
What Personal Belongings Do You Have in the Truck?
Pictures of my three kids James (9), Elizabeth (6), and Abigale (3), and their artwork all over the cab of my truck. I have young children that love to make drawings for me, so keeping these in my vehicle keeps a piece of them close to me throughout the day. And those remind me of what is most important and to come home safe every night.
Where Would You Like to Spend Your Summer Vacation?
I always wanted to go on a cruise with my wife Victoria and the kids. They really want to go to Disney World now that we live in Florida.
Which Three Things Would You Bring To a Desert Island?
A knife, a lighter, and a fishing pole.
When You Were a Child, What Did You Want To Be When You Grew Up?
I really wanted to be a firefighter, and I was able to realize that dream as a volunteer firefighter.
Tell Us One of Your Quirks.
People might say I am paranoid, although I call that being prepared.
Even Though It’s a Long Way Off, What Do You Want To Do After You Retire?
I want to spend more time working with charities, particularly those helping children. Giving back is my passion, and I would like to continue to do that for as long as possible.
Natalie Spira is Kloeckner's Marketing Communications Manager. Previously, she was the CEO and Founder of Fraction Marketing, a marketing agency catering to ecommerce startups. Natalie holds a MBA from Tel Aviv University with concentrations in entrepreneurship and marketing and a BA in English from UCLA.