Lacrosse brought Darius Bowling to Kloeckner Metals. In college, Bowling played Lacrosse for the Ohio State University as a scholarship player. Upon his graduation in 2014, he went and played in Berlin Germany. He then traveled to Switzerland running camps and clinics.
Bowling caught the coaching bug, and upon returning home he decided to coach locally for a club team. After taking an assistant coaching job at Cambridge High School, Bowling learned about an opening at Kloeckner which he decided to pursue.
Now Bowling is a purchasing agent who buys plate and flat-rolled at the Kloeckner corporate headquarters in Roswell, Georgia. He still coaches lacrosse in his spare time at Cambridge High School and also for a club team during the summer. Additionally, he plays on a team which participates in tournaments all over the Southeast. His career with Kloeckner has allowed him the flexibility to continue pursuing his passion.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better situation to be quite honest,” Bowling says. “It has allowed me to do the things that I enjoy doing so that I am fulfilled.”
When he started at Kloeckner, the recent college graduate knew very little about the steel industry. He credits Kloeckner with an excellent training regimen that helped him develop his knowledge. Within the very first week, he was sent to a steel school that is run by one of the mills.
“Their willingness to help me come along by sending me out to mills and our branches has expedited the learning process,” Bowling said.
Bowling explains that Kloeckner also does a great job at helping employees maintain a good work/life balance. One of the ways in which they do so is through remote working options. Bowling recently started working one day a week from home, which he says has helped him immensely. Instead of having to commute back and forth to work those days, often a very time-consuming activity in Atlanta, he has some more free time.
The opportunity to work remotely is something that Bowling believes needs to be earned. When managers cannot walk down the hall to check up on employees, there is an added level of trust that is required.
“You’ve got to prove that when you say you are going to do something, you are going to do it,” Bowling says. “You need to earn the trust of your managers and your superiors. It means a lot to me to have that kind of responsibility.”
While Bowling sees the perks of telecommuting, he also recognizes the unique benefits of working in an office. Technology allows people to be anywhere in the world and still communicate and work, but there is also a lot of value in meeting someone in person. Building teamwork and continuity is important, and those are things that can only be developed with face-to-face encounters. Bowling draws on his experience with lacrosse to explain that on a team you really need to be spending time with each other to develop real relationships.
“I think we are trying to find that balance between working from home and being in the office,” Bowling says. “To a certain degree, you can only build so much of a relationship over the phone or via email. I think that the personal relationship that develops when you spend time with somebody in the flesh can be very valuable.”
Lacrosse isn’t the only sport that Bowling likes. He is also a big soccer fan, and on a recent trip to London, he was able to go to an Arsenal game. Bowling likes to travel, and he is very appreciative that he has a career that allows him these kinds of opportunities. He thinks that the support that Kloeckner has shown him is important to millennials, and that flexibility is something that is very attractive to young people entering the workforce.
“I think it is important, not only to help the people in it right now to come along but also to start bringing more young people in,” Bowling says.