For our next employee spotlight, we visited with McElroy Credit Rep, Ashley Alvarenga. Ashley started with us in 2015 and is located at the corporate office.
Ashley’s McElroy story is one that should make us all proud as employee owners. Ashley joined us at the ripe age of 21 with no credit experience but a great attitude and willingness to roll up her sleeves and learn. While she started as a Credit Clerk, after a short 45 days, a Credit Rep position opened up.
At many organizations, Ashley wouldn’t have been considered as a viable candidate given her lack of experience and short employment window but that wasn’t the case at McElroy. Instead her work ethic, ability to pick things up quickly and attitude helped her secure the position and join the McElroy family. She shares, “McElroy took a chance on me by giving me that position eight years ago and we haven’t looked back!”
In her current role, Ashley does a lot of behind the scenes work. A normal day includes, processing credit card and ACH payments, releasing orders and working with customers to ensure they are paying their bills. If they can’t or won’t pay us, she works to find ways to help them while still making sure we get paid. She is also responsible for reviewing credit applications to ensure that we’re assuming good risks when we extend credit to customers. Beyond that, she places a high priority on doing whatever she can to ensure the department runs smoothly.
What do you like most about your job? I like the challenge that comes with thinking outside of the box and finding ways to say yes to our customers and ensure they get the metal they need while also protecting McElroy. We do a lot of creative thinking and I really enjoy that aspect of what I do. I also like that things are routine enough that I know what to do every day but not so routine that I get bored. I do credit the team I work with every day for my happiness here. They’ve helped me learn new skills and grow my abilities while having fun. Presently our credit team includes 9 folks to cover both the division and MMSC retail side of the business.
Who has been your biggest mentor at McElroy? My biggest mentor has probably been Tammy Strong. She’s been with McElroy over 30 years and has been involved in credit in some capacity for her entire career. She’s seen the bad and good side of credit. She has so much good advice on how to do things. She also has a great feel for when to give our customers more rope and when to reign them in. I count on her to help me brainstorm when I can’t figure out a creative solution that works for both our customer and McElroy .
Left to Right: Tammy Strong; Ashley Alvarenga
What advice would you give to new hires? I train all of our new employees for the division side so this is an easy one for me. They usually sit with me for about 4 weeks while they learn the ins and outs of what we do. The main advice that I give them is just not to give up. It’s a lot to learn and there’s a lot of moving pieces and not a lot of slow time so it can be hard to take it all in. I also make sure to tell them what a wonderful company we are to be a part of and that folks really want to help so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
What changes have you seen lately in your job? With the current economy, you can really tell a difference. Invoices that used to be paid in 10 days are running closer to 30 days now. We have to consider that when we’re making decisions about extending additional credit to our customers.
If you could switch jobs with anyone else in the company who would it be and why? Probably the Marketing team. I think it would be fun to be more proactive and visible for the company as opposed to the behind the scene role I play in credit.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career? The creative thinking and problem solving that we do in credit is certainly a challenge but it’s also my favorite part. I really enjoy the challenge of helping the customers and protecting McElroy at the same time.
Have you ever considered leaving McElroy and if so, why did you stay? I really haven’t considered leaving. I lucked out by finding something I really enjoy doing every day with people that I enjoy. Of course, we all have bad days but I’ve never had a day where I just didn’t want to come to work.
What was the first concert you attended? I think my very first concert was with Hillary Duff when I was 7 years old. I thought I was something really special sitting up in the nosebleed section. I don’t remember anything about the show but whatever she did sparked a love of concerts. We have three planned so far for this year. Our first one is in Houston in three weeks for Taylor Swift. After Taylor, we have Ed Sheeran in May and Thomas Rhett in June.
Ashley & her Mom at a Luke Bryan concert
What’s something not many people know about you? I taught myself to do calligraphy when I was in high school. I don’t have time to do it as much as I used to but I've enjoyed doing wedding signs and chalk boards for folks.
If you had to eat one food every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? I have two favorite types of food. My first would be any kind of Cajun food. That’s absolutely my comfort food. The other would be street tacos and a coke from a glass bottle. My mother-in-law buys coke in bottles for me at Home Depot because she knows how much I love them. I’m her favorite daughter in law although I’m also her only daughter in law.
Where are you happiest? I really enjoy the time with my family. When I’m not at work, that’s where you’ll find me. I’m a mom of two kids (7 & 3) and I love spending time with them and getting to see the world through their eyes. Between dance and t-ball I’m usually always on the go taking someone to a game or practice.
I also love the beach. My favorite beach is Orange Beach. We go every year with my Mom for a big family week. Every time I come home I tell myself I need to figure out a way to move to the beach. My husband isn’t a beach person but it’s certainly my happy place. I just need to figure out how to move McElroy there.
Ashley’s favorite view at Orange Beach
What’s the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery? I think the only thing that I would buy for myself is a little house on the beach somewhere. I’d give the rest to my kids.
What’s something on your bucket list and why? I’m terrified of sharks. I love going to the beach and the ocean but for a very long time, I wouldn't go into the water due to my fear. I went on a school trip to the beach when I was younger and we saw a shark come out of the water and eat a bird. I think how quick it happened it just really scared me. Over the years I have gotten better. Now, I would love to go cage diving with sharks to face my fear. I think it would be really fun. I’d also like to go skydiving. Since I’ve become a mom I’ve calmed down a lot and don’t care about doing nearly as much crazy stuff but I still think skydiving would be super fun.
What do you enjoy doing with your family? A big part of what we do together as a family is to travel. We go to the beach every year. We’ve gone to Honduras and Belize, and we just got back from Florida for spring break.
Photo from a recent family trip to Honduras
Tell us about one of your favorite family traditions. We have a tradition at Christmas where we go to a Chinese restaurant on Christmas day for lunch in our pajamas! It started as kind of a silly joke but now we all look forward to it! Especially my kids.
McElroy Metal’s success over the years is largely attributed to the talented and dedicated employees across the country. McElroy Metal’s extensive footprint of locations and distinct business units offer employment candidates a wide variety of fulfilling options such as manufacturing, customer service, retail and corporate positions.