Rose Stallman was hired early on as a temporary worker (plenty of irony there) to help us keep up with packaging products and picking and shipping orders after Frontier moved to Fairfax, a small town near where she lives. I met Rose early on my first day at Frontier.
I was assigned to package product that day. Everything was bagged by hand then, and we went down a list of products to be packaged in one-pound bags — each person moving on to the next thing on the master list when they finished the product they were working on.
I cleaned up my area after finishing a bag of basil and checked the list: cayenne. I had barely started pulling the box toward my station when Rose appeared, telling me she’d take care of the cayenne; I should go to the next thing on the list.
Our air filtration system wasn’t what it is today (there wasn’t one), so Rose bagged the cayenne out on the open-air loading dock with safety glasses and a filtration mask. No one went out on the dock for a while afterwards. (Later experiences with cayenne have convinced me that it’s likely I would have ended up hospitalized had I tried to do it that first day!)
So, right off the bat, Rose showed herself to be on top of things, avoiding problems before they happened and willing to do whatever was best to keep things moving forward. Rose has demonstrated these same traits for over three decades now. When I worked in Operations (managing it at one point), Rose was always that same selfless go-to person, dedicated to seeing that things big and little got done and got done right.
When we experienced the kind of growth that sometimes kills good companies — we were Inc. Magazine‘s 78th fastest-growing small company in America in 1983 — Rose was always grabbing an axle to keep things moving when a wheel came off. No matter how fast we hired employees in those hectic days, our orders grew faster. Rose was essential to all the anticipating, coordinating, assigning, prioritizing and improvising that kept us going. And she was usually doing all of that while she was standing at a worktable, packaging product or packing orders as fast as everyone around her. That commitment to getting complete, accurate orders on the way to our customers as quickly as possible has never faded.
Today Rose is still making sure orders are accurate and sent promptly on their way, mainly by stocking the shelves items are pulled from to fill orders — but she’ll squeeze in pulling and packing orders herself when things get bottle-necked in those areas.
Her present manager, Noel Kuert, sees the same Rose I met 30 years ago: “Rose works hard and doesn’t expect or want any special treatment for her age or her tenure. Her expectations are high for herself and others, and quality is always her priority. She brings a valuable perspective to situations and speaks her mind in a straightforward, reasonable way. And she can run circles around a lot of people half her age.”
I’m sure glad she was there running circles around me 30 years ago.
About the Author: Alan explores ideas and issues related to a sustainable lifestyle — from cooking and culture to social and environmental responsibility. He enjoys Shakespeare, but not as much as college basketball. Alan is a family man, liking nothing better than spending time with his wife of 33 years, his four kids and four grandkids.