Jeff Porter: A family committed to helping people prosper in their careers
At WinWholesale it’s possible for anyone to grab The Spirit of Opportunity according to Jeff Porter. As a WinWholesale employee for 15 years, Jeff is qualified to judge what it takes to work for the company and succeed – whether it’s at one of the 550 local companies across the country or in the corporate organization.
"WinWholesale is not only a place for opportunity, but it’s a family committed to helping people prosper in their careers," said Jeff, operations director for WinWholesale Sourcing Services. WSS is responsible for product management and the company’s national distribution network supplying local companies with products. "The opportunities are endless for those willing to work hard and are dedicated to their job," he said.
Advancement opportunities and local company ownership potential
Jeff oversees WinWholesale’s four large product distribution centers around the country as well as purchasing and inventory management. It’s been a 15-year record of career progression leading to his current position.
It all began during his college days at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. There he majored in industrial distribution management. He took his first job after graduation with WinWholesale as operations manager for its Electronics Distribution Buying Association in Dayton, Ohio.
"One of the reasons I chose WinWholesale over offers from other companies was the advancement opportunities and local company ownership potential. Also, there was a deep support structure from the corporate to local company level," Jeff explained.
It was a good choice for Jeff and WinWholesale. He was with the buying association three years before becoming the assistant manager at the company’s Denver regional distribution center (RDC) from 1998 until 2003. Then the manager’s job at the Dayton RDC became available, and he was selected for the job.
During that time WinWholesale built a new Dayton RDC. Jeff was the point person as the 200,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility took shape and began operation in 2005.
Managing a regional distribution center carries much responsibility
Managing an RDC is a plum job at WinWholesale that carries a load of responsibility managing the workflow, people and outbound and inbound shipments. "The RDCs provide quality products and service to local companies and assist them and the WinWholesale organization to be profitable," Jeff explained about his job. "We help local companies to be profitable by enabling them to increase their inventory turns and reduce transaction costs by being a one-stop shop."
Jeff received a promotion in 2007 to RDC operations manager overseeing all WinWholesale distribution centers. One of the challenges in that job is perfection, he said. "We constantly strive for perfection and want every order to be perfect – priced right, complete, accurate and delivered on time to local companies."
Those challenges have been met by streamlining processes in every RDC to ensure accuracy and quick turnaround on outbound shipments. WinWholesale also built "top-notch" teams in the RDC network. For example, during a typical month that the four RDCs process hundreds of thousands of products for shipping, the order selection accuracy is well over 99.9 percent, Jeff said.
In 2009 Jeff was given the added responsibility of overseeing the RDC purchasing and inventory management functions when he received the latest promotion to WSS operations director.
Jeff’s success story is not unique in WinWholesale
Jeff’s story of accomplishment and career progression is not necessarily unique in WinWholesale. He understands how to be successful, whether it’s working in one of the local companies or in the corporate organization. "I worked very, very hard, was dedicated to the job and fortunate enough to be surrounded by knowledgeable people," he said.
Yet, success at WinWholesale is not reserved for a select few. "In my mind, anyone can succeed at Win if they want it bad enough," Jeff said. "I’ve heard so many stories of people starting by sweeping floors in the warehouse or driving trucks, and now they’re successful Win local company presidents."
There are also many other jobs leading to successful WinWholesale careers such as dock supervisors, inventory analysts, IT workers, accountants, customer service representatives, warehouse workers, office managers and sales people.
Regardless of the job – at WinWholesale or anywhere else – Jeff believes there’s a formula for personal success. "I’ve always said you have to have a good work ethic and a passion to succeed," he offered. "The way to do that is to set short term and long term goals. Ask yourself where you want to be in one year and five years, then develop a plan to get there."
At WinWholesale, you can add to Jeff’s formula: Grab The Spirit of Opportunity and go for it.
Anniston Windustrial delivers what it says and exceeds customer expectations
"Our customers keep coming back because we deliver what we say we will, and if we make a mistake, we fix it," says Dale Muegel, president of Anniston Windustrial in Anniston, Ala. That, along with exceeding customer expectations, is the essence of customer service, according to Dale.
Anniston Windustrial provides residential and commercial contractors with plumbing supplies along with industrial pipe, valves and fittings in a 50-mile radius of Anniston.
Dale owns stock in Anniston Windustrial as does WinWholesale Inc., the majority owner. As president, Dale is the local decision maker and responsible for the success of the Anniston company.
Sitting in the company driver’s seat is where Dale has been for six years since leaving Dayton Windustrial in Ohio to invest in the Alabama company and be his own boss. All of this was quite a change from working for several years in sales and store management for two large wireless communications companies.
Dale learns the business from the ground up
"You know, life happens," Dale mused. In 2000, his brother, Phil, who works for WinWholesale in Dayton, invited him to play volleyball with several other company employees, including the president of Dayton Windustrial.
"I was surrounded with these WinWholesale guys who gave me advice and slipped in information about the company," Dale recalled.
After many volleyball and golf games, and learning more about the Win Group of Companies, Dale accepted an offer from Greg Jackson, the Dayton Windustrial president, to work at the company. "I was pretty happy to a certain point with my life at the wireless company, but it was a chance to start over."
He began learning the business from the ground up – making deliveries to customers, receiving warehouse orders, working the sales counter.
The difference in working for a Win company was immediate to Dale. "The previous companies I worked for were large corporations, very structured and rigid. You had to get permission for anything you did," he said. "WinWholesale is very flexible. You make your own decisions with the input of your support staff or local board of directors."
In 2003 after Dale attended WinWholesale training for future company presidents, there was an opening in Anniston for a president. Essentially, WinWholesale senior management said to Dale, "Here’s your opportunity." He bought into Anniston Windustrial and became company president with its many responsibilities.
It was a case of The Spirit of Opportunity that WinWholesale is known for being served up to Dale, and he accepted. The Spirit of Opportunity refers to the entrepreneurial spirit of the company and its employees, and the opportunity to achieve the dream of owning a business.
"I define the spirit as the ability to work for an organization that allows you to learn as much as you want to learn and go as far as you want to go," Dale said. "If you want to run a company, you can do that; if you want to drive a truck, you can drive a truck. The possibilities are unlimited. You would never have the ability to do what we do in a large corporation like the one where I used to work."
An overall sense of accomplishment
Dale says being president of his own company and serving customers gives him an overall sense of accomplishment. Like any job, though, it has challenges – such as juggling the daily tasks and growing the business at a pace acceptable to him and other stockholders.
A big part of growing the business is establishing and maintaining customer relationships. It’s also a good part of the reason Anniston Windustrial has been in business for 16 years, Dale says. He and the other employees at the company know the customers; they know their businesses and have established relationships with them.
"It’s knowing customers well enough that they entrust you to do business with them, and then doing what you say you’re going to do for them," Dale said.
Rewards of ownership can be great
The rewards of Win company ownership can be great – financially and personally in terms of satisfaction and fulfillment. According to Dale, reaping those rewards requires a combination of patience, staying hungry for business, keeping an eye on the goal and working toward it, and following the WinWholesale proven business methods.
However, "It’s not for the faint of heart, or someone who just wants to sit back and put their feet up on the desk" Dale said. "Win ownership is for the person who can learn the business, apply what they learn and isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty. You still make deliveries, work in the warehouse and build customer relationships."
Dale has done all of those things and the success of Anniston Windustrial shows it.