FARGO, ND – It’s not a typical Wednesday at Border States. Shane Kerska is in town for the quarterly Officers Council meeting, during which executives gather at the Branch Support Center to review our strategic plan and discuss the state of the company.
The Officers Council seat is quite different than the seat Kerska found himself in 25 years ago.
“When I started out as a Border States Truck Driver, I would have never imagined I would be sitting in a room with these leaders, talking about what next steps we’re making as an organization,” says Kerska, Vice President of Border States’ North Central region.
Kerska has enjoyed growing within Border States by serving in multiple key roles. After starting as a part-time Truck Driver, he served as full-time Truck Driver, Warehouse Associate, City Desk Representative, Customer Service Representative, Account Manager, Branch Manager, Regional Sales Manager and now vice president.
The experience has been invaluable.
“Friends within the company joke that it took me 15 years to get through Border States’ Distribution Leadership Program, which usually launches employee-owners into leadership roles after two years,” Kerska says with a chuckle. “This company gives you the opportunity to do many different things. Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything.”
It’s easy for employee-owners to approach executives like Kerska. There’s a general sense of camaraderie and mutual respect throughout Border States’ Branch Support Center and more than 100 branch locations across the country.
“To this day, I talk to employee-owners in the positions I once held, and I can understand what’s happening in those jobs today,” Kerska says. “Technology may have changed in some roles, but the function of serving the customer is the same.”
In a recent employee-engagement survey, Kerska and the other executives learned that employee-owners were interested in seeing more opportunities for training, career-pathing and work-life integration.
“As company leaders, we understand that the better we take care of our people, the more our customers will notice, the more our vendors will notice, and the more we’ll become the employer of choice,” Kerska says. “The most important thing is to take care of our people – we must stay focused on this. Success will always follow.”
Not only does Border States have a rich 70-year history of providing innovative products and solutions to the construction, utility and industrial markets, but we have a strong future, as well. In fiscal year 2018, the company reached $2 billion in annual sales – and continues to grow.
Additionally, Border States hires people who specialize in many different trades. Check out these open career opportunities.
It’s also an amazing benefit to be part of one of the largest 100 percent employee-owned companies in America. Border States’ employee stock-ownership plan (ESOP) gives employees the chance to be fully vested after five years. It also gives them a voice in company decisions.
There’s great opportunity here for those who seek it.
“Like many others at Border States, it wasn’t originally my plan to work in electrical distribution,” Kerska says. “But now, I’m very proud to work hard for the company we own because it has afforded me so many opportunities.”
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