From excelling as an apprentice at the Newport News Shipbuilding Apprenticeship School, to shining as the new rigging supervisor, Kelby Saunders is showing others in his shop what it means to be a trustworthy and honorable employee. Steel America fabricates and machines large heavy objects – moving modules and projects of that magnitude is risky and could lead to disaster if not done properly. Kelby does an excellent job at making sure others around him are aware of their surroundings and helps teach others the dangers of moving cranes and trucks. One of the core values at C.S.I and Steel America is “family” – we took a few minutes to sit down with Kelby to get his insight on Steel America and learn more about him.
How long have you worked for Steel America/Colonna’s Shipyard?
“I’ve worked for Steel America for just over a year.”
What does a typical work day look like for you?
“Every day is different for me. I am part of every moving evolution at Steel America so I am always busy. There are lots of moving parts.”
What do you like most about working here?
“The company core values and the freedom. Management really trusts me to use my mind and run with it. You don’t get that a lot of places.”
What do you find most challenging about working at Steel America?
“Finding the order in which to do projects and trying to please everyone. Since I am involved with so many people and projects, sometimes it’s hard to figure out priorities with projects. Sometimes it seems like every project manager thinks their evolution is #1.”
How has Steel America helped you in your career development?
“It has forced me to develop a new way of looking at things. Being here has really helped me find the importance of looking at the bigger picture. It has encouraged me to think outside the box.”
If you could switch your job with anyone else within our company, whose job would you want?
“Probably Mr. Colonna [C.S.I/Steel America’s Owner].”
What advice do you have for prospective new employees?
“Definitely be careful and be alert. Don’t get complacent with your actions. This is a very dangerous environment and even the most experienced workers can get hurt. It’s easy. Be alert and watch where you are walking.”
What has been your favorite project since being here, and why?
“Driving to Titusville, PA… in the snow. It was a challenging drive, but I knew the company was counting on me to deliver the parts. It felt good to get it done, safely, and not let the company down.”
One of our core company values is “Pride” what is your proudest moment at Steel America?
“Completing the shiploader project. That was a tough project for everyone. It was awesome to get it finished for the customer. Oh, and creating a bridge crane operating class. It’s still in the works, but it includes instructions on how to do things safely and doing things the right way and not cutting corners.”
What are three words you would use to describe Steel America?
“Improving. Quality. Opportunity.”
When you aren’t at work, what is your favorite thing to do to decompress/have fun?
“Coaching. I coach a local high school football team and referee at high school basketball games. I really enjoy working with kids and helping them grow into productive members of society.”
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
“Oddly enough, a truck driver. I’ve always liked big trucks. Or I wanted to be a firefighter.”
People would be surprised if they knew… (i.e. speak more than one language, hidden talents)
“I am a drummer at my church, and I sing in the choir. And I’m a people person, but I don’t think that will surprise anyone really.”