Millennial Dane McLaughlin was drawn to a career with Kloeckner Metals because he saw it as a progressive company. Dane saw Kloeckner’s push to become an industry leader in digitalization as a great opportunity that he wanted to be a part of.
“The progressiveness with technology and taking that approach to the marketplace really appealed to me,” Dane said. “I saw myself at Kloeckner, having the ability to grow.”
Dane thinks that millennials are uniquely suited to operating in a steel industry that is increasingly becoming digital. The steel industry needs young people coming on board for many reasons, but one is because of the skill set they bring. Having been raised on things like the internet and email, millennials are naturally fluent in the digital medium. Sometimes they can more easily adapt to changes in technology, and pick up new technologies quickly.
“Because we grew up in the computer age, we have a better understanding of some of the programs that are being implemented, or we can provide that sort of additional expertise because we were raised on that,” Dane said. “I grew up going to computer class. Granted the computers that I dealt with were the size of a small car, but you were exposed to that.”
As a territory manager, Dane spends plenty of the time working remotely from the road. Even with inside sales, though, Dane sees Kloeckner allowing employees flexibility. He thinks that at least for him, the independence and ownership have allowed him to be more successful. While he recognizes the benefit to being in the office and the plant, he also sees the days of going into the office just for the sake of being there as numbered, and he thinks that Kloeckner recognizes this.
“If you can get more done and be more efficient whether you are in the office or out of the office, then at the end of the day that is all that matters,” Dane said. “I like that freedom. I think for a millennial, that is something that would attract me to the company, that ability to be flexible with your time and the ability to work remotely.”
The conditions in the current steel market manage to keep Dane pretty busy. He describes it as both “challenging and rewarding” at the same time. Between customer inquiries and new opportunities, you can’t help but stay busy. There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of changes underway, and Dane thinks they will be for the better. The reward is selling steel.
“It is a good environment to be in right now,” Dane said. “I’m happy to be a part of Kloeckner, for sure.”
Even with all the business he is doing, Dane still manages to find some spare time to do things he enjoys such as golfing and travel. He recently returned from his honeymoon to Antigua where he and his wife got some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Originally from the Chicagoland area, Dane and his wife also enjoy exploring their new home in the southeast. Asheville is one favorite locale, where they like to hike, dine, and go to concerts.
“We love the mountains,” Dane said. “The Orange Peel is up there, which is where we go for concerts, typically. You can’t help but trip over a brewery up there, so we check those out as well.”