When J. Paul Javier first considered a career with Kloeckner he was turning wrenches in a bike shop. He became friends with Ivan Padilla, a fellow millennial and then a territory manager for Kloeckner. Padilla encouraged J. Paul to try out for an opening at the Los Angeles Branch. J. Paul, who had previous experience working as a project manager for a construction company, decided to give it a shot.
“There are advantages and disadvantages to being so young in an industry that is traditionally more seasoned,” said J. Paul Javier, now the sourcing manager for flat-rolled at the Santa Fe Springs branch. “Coming in, the way I really made myself stand out to management was through the use of electronics, social media, computer programs, and anything that had to do with technology.”
J. Paul made the decision to be at the forefront of anything technological. One example of this was his decision to use Prezi instead of PowerPoint for his presentations. Prezi is basically “power point on steroids.” It is more interactive, and J. Paul customized it to fit the Kloeckner brand. While most people still use PowerPoint because of the ease of use and the familiarity of it, J. Paul wanted to use something more engaging.
“You don’t think of steel as a very innovative industry, but you find ways to make it progressive,” J. Paul said.
J. Paul explains that one of the main topics continually reinforced by management is communication. With the open floor plan at the Santa Fe Springs branch, employees are always having conversations with each other. The conversations don’t necessarily have to be about metal. Sometimes it is just neighbors getting to know each other and building rapport.
“If you have a great relationship all of the work stuff is going to follow,” J. Paul said. “Honestly, I feel that management takes the right steps to make sure everybody communicates.”
J. Paul describes the exchange of ideas between the younger workers and the veterans at the Santa Fe Springs Branch as “mutually beneficial dialogue”. The younger employees are sometimes able to help with computer issues or new programs that the veterans aren’t used to using as Kloeckner continues to digitalize. In exchange, the veterans are able to share their experience with the newer employees, especially with everything going on in the metals industry right now.
“They have already been through this. They know how to react,” J. Paul said. “There is a lot to be said about the experience that these individuals have behind the desk, especially with material rejections, the way certain metals are handled, and things that you can never take from a book.”
J. Paul thinks that younger workers tend to work faster, but that isn’t always a good thing. The digitally native generation has a tendency to get typing and clicking and just get carried away with it – this can lead to some mistakes. On the other hand, more seasoned employees are more detail oriented. They will print hard copies to double and triple check their work.
“I feel like the millennial generation is all about now, now, now, where you tend to miss the details,” J. Paul said.
J. Paul thinks that the most important aspect of a company is the culture. From the way the office is set up to the way management interacts with other employees, culture is the largest factor in determining how attractive a company is, especially for millennials. Another aspect of culture that millennials look at is a company’s presence on social media outlets like LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Ultimately, though, it comes down to the relationships between employees.
“Kloeckner does a really good job at being active in all those facets and being positive in all those facets,” J. Paul said. “You will spend more time at work than you do at home, so it is good to be getting along with the people you work with. I think that is the biggest thing: employees feeling welcomed into a family.”
When J. Paul isn’t talking metal, he is following whatever sport is in season. Basketball, baseball, football, and soccer, J. Paul loves them all, especially when it comes to Houston teams. Being originally from Houston, J. Paul loves to go to games whenever Houston is in town.
J. Paul also likes to travel a lot, making it a point to try and take two or three trips out of the country each year. He enjoys hiking and camping and has visited many national parks. His favorite park so far is Zion.
“I love getting out of my comfort level and the monotony of the daily grind,” J. Paul said. “I spent about four days in Zion, unplugged, and it was beautiful. I spent weeks backpacking throughout Europe, staying in hostels, trying local cuisine, engaging in the arts, and being among the locals. My next trip planned is to visit the Philippines and spend two weeks backpacking throughout the islands.”