Black History Month Employee Spotlight: Charles K

Copper and Brass Sales is celebrating Black History Month, in part, by spotlighting members of our staff whose exemplary work and inspiring stories further our mission and values. Stay tuned as we spotlight inspiring employees of Copper and Brass Sales throughout the month.

Today, I would like to spotlight Charles K, an Inside Sales Representative. Charles has been with Copper and Brass Sales for three years, starting as a temporary material handler working in the warehouse.

Charles is the kind of guy who doesn’t like to sit still. He wants to help out in any way that he can, and is always eager to learn, grow, try new things, and excel at whatever he does. During his time as a material handler, he learned to run the plate saw, and later became the lead within that department. After moving into the shear sheet and PVC department, Charles was looking for a new challenge. Two years into his operations activities, Charles saw that a position for Inside Sales Representative had been posted. Interested, he asked his manager if his existing level of experience qualified him for the inside sales role. His manager agreed that he would be a good fit, encouraged him to apply for the position, and as Charles said, he was given a chance!

As Charles and I spoke, I told him that his quick progression from operations into sales said a lot about who he was. He countered with his soft-spoken, friendly voice, that it said more about Copper and Brass Sales – that this is a good company that recognizes people who work hard and provides them with opportunities to grow.

Having started this new role during the pandemic, a typically hands-on learning experience was a bit more hands-off than would have been preferred. That alone added some additional challenges. Due to social distancing restrictions, adherence to company policies, and CDC recommendations, many employees were working from home while Charles was in the office absorbing as much as he could from those that were able to be there with him. Thankfully, the CBS sales team uses many of the same systems that operations did, which helped Charles reduce his learning curve. Throughout our conversation, Charles never lost his positive outlook – particularly when speaking about an otherwise difficult situation in which to start a new facet of his career.

Things weren’t always as easy-going within his career. Prior to joining us at Copper and Brass Sales, Charles worked for a company that used robots to make sunroofs. Not surprisingly, Charles was the go-to team member because he was exceptional in his role. He reflected on the opportunities he saw to improve their operations. Unfortunately, Charles felt he was held back because leadership wanted to keep their star player right where he was. While opportunities for growth were not afforded to Charles at his previous employer, he spoke with such excitement regarding the contrasting differences here at Copper and Brass Sales where he has been encouraged to advance his career.

While he doesn’t want to stay still for too long, he is grateful that this sales position offers learning opportunities on a daily basis. Dealing with an array of individuals, no one interaction is the same. The challenges that arise present him with the welcome opportunity to troubleshoot and problem solve.

Noting his friendly soul and a can-do attitude, there isn’t much that I see that would hold Charles back. In fact, as we talked about the topic of Black History Month, Charles spoke of his upbringing. Born in Kenya, Charles wasn’t raised with a perspective of feeling inferior due to the color of his skin. When he came to the United States in 2016, he was able to take in and observe the state of our country. Fortunate that he has never had any direct experiences of discrimination, he has seen how difficult things have been here as people have taken to the streets in Black Lives Matter and other initiatives on the subject.

Charles believes that life shouldn’t be lived based on color. “You miss out on a lot of things staying focused like that,” said Charles. He sees America as incredibly self-sufficient, in that it’s easy to stay where you are and not challenge yourself. Charles thinks that some people don’t feel the need to go out into the world and expand their experiences or learn from another’s plight because they’re content right where they are. In contrast, he feels you’ll have a better appreciation for life when you branch out and see what others are experiencing.

Charles knows that there are many bad things that can happen in life, so he says you may as well do something impactful in the time you are given. He figures that if you live your life based on fear, you’re not really living, so go out there and give yourself some new experiences! Expand your horizons beyond the community you’re most comfortable in and experience other perspectives.

Practicing what he preaches, traveling is one thing Charles loves to do. Having explored ten states already, he’s having a hard time finding anything that lives up to the Atlanta area that he currently calls home. Admittedly, he’s looking forward to seeing what New York and Texas have in store for him.

I find inspiration in the way Charles leads his life, taking any negative and finding the positive within, and really approaching life with a distinct appreciation. Copper and Brass Sales is fortunate that Charles is now a part of our team and know that he is a big part of why our customers in the Southeast make our company their First Choice! We’re excited to showcase Charles and his inspiring story with you through our celebration of Black History Month.

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