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As I reflect on the results of this year, the request for a blog submission from our marketing department was timely.   While evaluating the accomplishments of 2011 and establishing new goals for the upcoming year – I am challenged to figure out what has attributed to our success, what lessons were learned, and how to best position ourselves moving forward.

Every year I find myself looking back to past years thinking that a historical trend might develop.  The only development is the reassurance that change is a constant with us.   I’m amazed that what seemed like minor changes at the time, and just part of going about the business at hand – turned out to be more significant when looking in the rear view mirror.  I know better than to think that it will ever be “business as usual” for us. We get bored too easily!

If we started all over (like we seem to do each year) the key ingredients would stay the same:

Adaptability – one of our strongest assets since the beginning
Visionary
 – we look at the world and warehouses a little differently
Entrepreneurial – we pride ourselves on our creative spirit
Energetic Action – the challenge of “making it happen” is contagious
Loyal – our clients and vendors are partners

The true grade card is the feedback we get from our best partners. The quotes “you make it look easy” and “no one else in the country does what you do” are indicative of the Storage Solutions mission statement.

If we are able to focus on that level of service and commitment – everything else will follow and expectations will be exceeded once again in 2012!

vinoThey say great employees are like fine wine…

Okay, no one actually says that. At least, I don’t think they do.  But what I DO know is that with so many long-time Storage Solutions employees, there’s got to be something special going on around here.

Among our longest employees:

Craig McElheny, CEO
Kevin Rowles, President
Bill Beeker, CFO
Angie Rajski, VP Project Coordination
Rick Brodfuehrer, National Sales
Tim Fonderoli, National Sales
Mike Goode, VP Used Equipment
Chastity Wilke, VP National Accounts
Deana Purevich, Accounting
Rose Riggins, Front Desk & Accounting

I have been around some of these long-time employees for years and in the last year and a half, I have been able to interact with them as co-workers, and I have to say that Storage Solutions has one of the most closely-knit, fun groups of employees around. We decided to ask our tenured employees what has kept them here for so long, and what advice they can offer to young professionals who are new to the work force.

Angie RajskiANGIE RAJSKI
Tenure: 14 years

What is your job function?  How has that evolved over time?
I am the Project Coordinator for our National Sales team.  I have worn so many hats over the years here, but in the last 5 years we have really streamlined my position into a more defined role to match my specific talents and expertise.

What makes SSI a place you have wanted to stay for so long?
The owner of this company, Craig, is extremely generous.  I have the benefit of flexibility so I can juggle my family, top notch technology to make my job easier, and a very organized team to help me be successful in my position.  Even in our busiest times, my team still manages to have fun and enjoy what we do.

If you could tell young employees/professional one important tip to job satisfaction and success, what would it be?
Change is constant.  To be successful, you have to put 100% effort into your job and take pride in it every day.  It’s all about communicating and having respect for your co-workers, customers, and really, everyone in general, if you want to have a successful and satisfying career.

– – –

Tim FonderoliTim Fonderoli
Tenure: 10 years

What is your job function?  How has that evolved over time?
I am a National Accounts Manager and sell to customers all over the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  When I first started, I was teamed up with another sales rep.  We would go out and door knock locations locally to try and find anyone who needed racking or shelving. We even sold to people who wanted to put shelving in their garages. I did a lot of locker work selling to schools, fire departments, police departments… anyone or any place.  I have since broken off on my own and mainly focus on warehouses and large clients.  I look for opportunities through the internet, referrals and cold calling.

What makes SSI a place you have wanted to stay for so long?
I have only had 4 employers my entire life. A truck stop in Illinois in high school, Master Chief Petty Officer for U.S. Navy, and Director of Admissions at a local college for 4 years before coming to Storage Solutions.  A friend actually recommended me to Craig (McElheny) and Kevin (Rowles). I got the interview, saw the direction Storage Solutions was headed and with the unlimited growth opportunities, I jumped on it. I love my job. I love the people I work with. I love seeing an empty warehouse and when we are done, it’s full of products.   This is a very rewarding job and I can’t see myself doing anything else. I don’t think I want to retire. I can see myself working for Storage Solutions for another 25 plus years! This is my family!!!

If you could tell young employees/professional one important tip to job satisfaction and success, what would it be?
Find a company that solves problems and won’t stifle your growth. You work most of your life. You’ll spend three-fourths of your time every day working. So get with a company and people you can work with, who want to have fun and take care of customers, and you’ll feel like you’re not working. You’re just enjoying your life and all it has to offer.

– – –

Kevin RowlesKevin Rowles
Tenure: 
17 years

What is your job function?  How has that evolved over time?
Current job title:  President.  Past job functions:  Sales manager, Vice President Pharm Lab Division, Executive Vice President.

What makes SSI a place you have wanted to stay for so long?
Challenge – Growth Opportunity – Good People – Great Company!

If you could tell young employees/professional one important tip to job satisfaction and success, what would it be?
Make yourself valuable to your employer. Be creative. Have passion for what you do.  The rest will take care of itself!

– – –

Deana PurevichDeana Purevich
Tenure:
23 years

What is your job function?  How has that evolved over time?
I am currently involved in the Accounting/IT side of Storage Solutions, though I have worn so many hats over the years I’m afraid I lost count.

What makes SSI a place you have wanted to stay for so long?
Storage Solutions will always be a family business in my heart (Dad, Dick McElheny started Storage Solutions, then Penco of Indiana, in 1978).  The many wonderful friendships I’ve created over the years make it an easy place to want to stay.

Efficiency is the title for the fourth edition of my blog because that’s the main thing I’ve accomplished over the past three weeks. Not necessarily learning more product or industry information but getting better with the things I’ve already learned. It might sound boring but it’s pretty important.

multitaskingIt’s important because efficiency allows me more time to focus on new projects, in turn, giving me more opportunities to learn product and industry information. So as you can see, efficiency directly relates to me progressing with this business. For example, I’ve gotten much better coordinating with our installation crews and keeping a mental note of what phase different projects are in and which people are where. When I first started, things moved fast and I had a hard time taking in information without feeling like my head would explode. Now, things still move fast, but I know the information a little better so it’s easier to take in and I can do the coordinating quicker.

To end this Blog I wanted to do something a little different.  Because I’m still learning the business/industry I thought it would be interesting, and possibly comforting, to hear some rookie stories from others around the office.  It could’ve been a story that stuck out in someone’s mind, maybe the day everything clicked, maybe a mistake they made, whatever they remember from being the new person in this industry.  I decided on contrasting inputs, one person fairly new to the industry and another who’s been around the block once or twice. Enjoy!

Dan Storey, Project Manager – 2 years with Storage Solutions

“My first (of many) rookie mistakes was an oversight on lead time.  I had a customer who ordered some racking from Storage Solutions, but we had to order the wire decking new.  I forgot to accommodate for the manufacturing lead time when I scheduled for the installation.  Long story short, we sent down the used uprights, beams, and hardware with our installers, but there were no decks for them to put on the racks.  So, we had to scramble to find available equipment that would work for this job because the customer needed it done ASAP.  The story has a happy ending though… we were able to get them the products necessary to finish the install and they were happy with the end result.  I also learned a valuable lesson about lead times in the process!”

Kevin Rowles, President – 17 Years with Storage Solutions

“This may not be comforting to you, but after 17 years in this industry I still feel like a “rookie”!  There is much for us all to learn and multiple opportunities in our ever changing business world – but, you must have passion for what you do, keep your eyes open, and maintain your entrepreneurial attitude!   It’s overwhelming at times – but would have it no other way…that challenging spirit is contagious around here and contributes to our success…and headaches!  (also contributes to waking up in the middle of the night – just keep your notepad handy and go back to bed :)”

Storage Solutions Is Expanding!
Storage Solutions, Inc. has announced the opening of a new office location in Minneapolis, MN. The Minneapolis office, led by Vice President Mike Dubbs, is the newest addition to the nationwide company, which is based in Indianapolis.

With over 34 years of experience in the material handling industry, Dubbs will lead a team of seven other employees.  Each member of this team is an industry veteran, each with a minimum of 10 years experience.

“We’re very excited to be part of the Storage Solutions team,” Dubbs said. “We feel that being part of Storage Solutions will help us to better serve our marketplace and provide our customers with a bigger and broader product offering.”

Founded in 1978, Storage Solutions has maintained the tradition of a company dedicated to material handling, with a reputation for quality products and reliable service. With a deepening national base, Storage Solutions offers customers across the country services that range from warehouse design to the buying and selling of new and used equipment such as pallet rack and industrial shelving.

“We are fortunate to be in a position to consider another expansion opportunity,” Storage Solutions President Kevin Rowles said. “Our Minneapolis office is staffed by a seasoned team that operates on the goals for our organization. With their help, Storage Solutions will be able to further our reach nationwide.”

Storage Solutions is currently headquartered in Westfield, Indiana, with an additional office located in Kansas City.

Storage Solutions USA

14139 21st Avenue North

Minneapolis, MN 55447
P: 952.920.9415
F: 952.941.8412

Minnesota Team Roster:

Mike Dubbs | Vice President

Todd Cartwright | National Accounts Manager

Rob Dubbs | National Accounts Manager

Mike Essen | CAD Designer

Patty Mullen | Project Coordinator

Mark Golberg | Warehouse Manager

Thanks for stopping by this weeks Storage Solutions blog post!  Remember, if you are in need of any help with your current or upcoming warehouse projects, contact our trained professionals today!  Call us at 1.866.474.2001 or visit us online at www.storage-solutions.com.

Today marks the final day of the 8th annual third-party logistics summit in Atlanta, GA. This tradeshow is the world’s largest event for third-party logistics providers and is focusing on how to drive business and online sales during an economic rebound. Kevin and Chastity have been working hard to make Storage Solutions a known presence this year.  Our booth highlights the three most important aspects of what we do:  buying used products, selling products and installing the best available.

tradeshow-resized-600

We have also chosen this event to present our new Storage Solutions Certified Pre-Owned Rack Program.  Our team is committed to providing our customers with reliable, quality products… which is why we’ve created this Certified Program.  The Storage Solutions Certified seal is only awarded to products that pass our rigorous five-point inspection to ensure that our customers are getting the best product available.

While not all of the pre-owned products we sell are required to bear the certified seal, our five-point inspection process helps to ensure that when you buy certified, you are getting the best quality rack.

As we wrap up this year’s 3PL summit, be sure to stop by our booth for more information or visit our website at www.storage-solutions.com.

Kevin Rowles, President, Storage SolutionsWe want you to meet our team, so we would like you to meet our President, Kevin Rowles! We will be including employee spotlights over the next couple of months so you know who is helping your project succeed.

Name: Kevin Rowles

Title:  President

Hometown: Resides in Carmel, IN. Born in Cincinnati, OH.

How long have you been with Storage Solutions? 15 years

What is your most rewarding or satisfying experience, your proudest moment, since you joined Storage Solutions? Being involved with the start up of new divisions and offices (Pharmaceutical / Laboratory, Installation Services, Kansas City, Evansville, Used Division, National Accounts, Marketing / Online Sales, and soon to be announced – Cincinnati) over the years has been very rewarding to me.  We have been fortunate to have hired good people to help sustain our steady growth.

Are you married?  Do you have kid?  What do you enjoy doing with your family? Jackie and I met at Ball State University and have 2 beautiful daughters (Jamie, 19 & Kelsey, 15).  Fortunately they look like their mother.  We enjoy playing sports, games, family cookouts and traveling.  We have been married for 25 years.

Favorite Cities: Durango, CO; Lake Tahoe, NV; San Diego, CA; Quebec City, Canada