- Pictured Left to Right: Denise, Kyle, Kathy
We are fortunate enough to have employees that have stayed with us through it all. To be specific out of our 155 employees, 38 of them have been with us for more than 20 years! That’s almost ¼ of our workforce!
This year, Kyle Trentmann, Denise Balken and Kathy Schaffer celebrated their 25th anniversaries with the company in our Missouri plant. That’s pretty impressive since the average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times during his or her career.
We asked Kyle, Denise & Kathy a few questions to get a little insight on their journey at Hodges Badge Company! Here are their answers:
First a little background on them.
Kyle went to St. Francis Borgia High School. His dad was actually a business man working in Washington who heard about this new business coming to town. He didn’t exactly know what kind of business it was but Kyle put in an application and 25 years he’s still here.
Denise loves the people she has worked with over the past 25 years. Making lots of new friends and working along side such hard workers has made the people the favorite part of her job.
Kathy went to New Haven High School. It just so happened that when she was looking for a job, Lorraine the Hodges Plant Manager at the time was taking her driving test. As fate would have it Lorraine’s driving examiner was Kathy’s father. They got to talking about Kathy looking for a job. Well, Lorraine passed her test and Kathy got the job.
- What was your first job at Hodges?
Kyle: I ran the corder and rams. We only had 2 rams and 1 corder when I first started. (These are the machines essential to making our most popular flat ribbons like the point top and square top ribbon.)
Denise: Stapler in the rosette tops. (This is the first step in the handcrafting of our rosettes.)
Kathy: I was hired as the Rosette Dept. Supervisor but the factory had just started up so I had no one in my department at first, so I “welded” rims in the center of the rosettes.
- What do you do at Hodges now?
Kyle: Hot Stamp Operator
Denise: Coach over the flat room ( The flat room is where the point top, square top and hemmed top ribbons are put together.)
Kathy: I’m the office administrator.
- What have you seen change?
Kyle: Just about everything, especially technology
Denise: We have gone through being in separate departments to being in “cell” with someone from each department in a “cell”. (A manufacturing cell is a set of machines that are grouped by the products they produce to create a lean manufacturing process saving time and money.)
Kathy: The biggest change I see is the size of the orders. I remember when and order for 1,000 rosettes was large to us. Now we see order for 10,000 rosettes on 1 order.
- What have you seen remain the same?
Kyle: How we print & assemble the ribbons
- Any memorable moments you’d like to share?
Kyle: Fresno, California, lots of hard work! Can’t say much more. What happened in Fresno will stay in Fresno. Ha! Ha! (Well… I CAN tell you that Kyle was part of the team that went to California to bring back the contents of Melrose Ribbons, a ribbon company that Hodges acquired in 2010 and yes that was a lot of work.)
- Favorite thing about your jobs?
Kyle: The challenges I face everyday.
Denise: Working along side all of the great workers we have!! Making lots of new friends.
Kathy: Knowing that the product we produce will most likely make someone happy.
- Name 1 thing your coworkers would be surprised to know about you?
Kyle: I collect Hockey Cards & I have my original box cutter knife from when I started. (Ok now I’m doubly impressed – I lost the pen I got yesterday…)
- Favorite thing to do on down time?
Kyle: Watch sports, play horse shoes and spend time w/ family
Kathy : Go camping, spend time w/ family and my dog Molly