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“American Metals values its staff, wins midsize Top Workplaces award - STLtoday.com” plus 1 more

“American Metals values its staff, wins midsize Top Workplaces award - STLtoday.com” plus 1 more


American Metals values its staff, wins midsize Top Workplaces award - STLtoday.com

Posted: 29 Jul 2020 03:00 AM PDT

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HAZELWOOD — "HR wants to see you" might be the last thing almost any company employee wants to hear.

Not so at American Metals Supply Co., where human resources head Shelly Liley embraces the company ethos of supporting workers and carries the non-scary job title of director of employee engagement.

Supporting workers on the job and even in their non-work lives is part of the corporate culture at American Metals, a wholesale distributor of steel, copper, HVAC components and other metal parts.

American Metals, based in Hazelwood, took first place among small-size employers in this year's Top Workplaces survey. Company employees, the survey showed, are more confident in their workplace than a benchmark of other employees of small area companies.

More than a decade ago, American Metals got through the severe recession without laying off any employees and is keeping everyone on the payroll during the current coronavirus pandemic. The company has 121 employees in eight locations, including about 50 people at its headquarters and a warehouse in Fenton.

Liley, who has been with the company for 15 years, said American Metals retains the friendly vibe of the family-run company founded in 1962 in Springfield, Illinois, by Al Hassebrock, a building materials salesman. His granddaughter, Chrissy Nardini, is American Metals' current president and runs the company.

Liley said that when the company's home office was largely closed at the start of the pandemic, Nardini came in every day to try to keep workers' surroundings as virus-free as possible.

"Not every company president would be working and using Clorox wipes to make sure every employee is safe," Liley said.

The company's ability to avoid layoffs is a result of keeping the employee headcount low and lean.

"We've stayed people-efficient," Nardini said.

Al Hassebrock's son, Steve Hassebrock, joined the company in 1971 and in 1990 expanded the firm to the St. Louis area. Nardini, Steve Hassebrock's daughter, spent years working as a public accountant before joining the family firm.

"As a girl growing up, I never had a strong interest in sheet steel," she said.

Eventually, she asked her father about a job and came aboard in 1997. At first, her tasks included answering phones and working on the company catalog. She soon moved up to the chief financial officer's job and has been president since 2006. Her father remains with the company as chief executive.

Expansion under Steve Hassebrock and Nardini has been steady. In 2003, the company opened a warehouse in the Kansas City area and two years later expanded to Springfield, Missouri. The Hazelwood warehouse and headquarters opened in 2009 to augment the existing facility in Fenton. Between 2010 and 2018 came expansions to Indianapolis, Oklahoma City and Dallas. American Metals provides customers one-day deliveries within 200 miles of its warehouses.

Nardini said rapid deliveries are good for customers and the company's truck drivers, who seldom have to spend a night away from home. Trucks loaded in the afternoon roll out the next morning, giving drivers time to make their drops and be home in time for dinner.

At company offices, sales meetings in non-virus times typically conclude with a social outing. For now, the firm uses Zoom to hold virtual happy hours on Thursdays.

In addition, American Metals contributes to employee 401(k) retirement accounts and opens $500 savings accounts for each baby born to workers' families.

The company helps distressed workers directly with its "hardship fund" managed by the United Way of Greater St. Louis. The $40,000 fund helps employees cover home damages resulting from natural disasters and fires or workers facing other challenges, including child care payment when schools are closed as a result of a national pandemic or a spouse experiencing job loss.

Workers seeking hardship help of up to $5,000 apply anonymously through the United Way.

Among American Metals' recent hires is Jessi Willhoite as assistant HR person. She joined the company early this year after stints at an electrical supply company and a home remodeler. She said the difference between American Metals and her previous employers is dramatic.

"It's day and night," she said. "Everybody is incredibly excited to be here every day."

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Police: Cocaine, methamphetamine and pills found inside Wilkes-Barre house - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

Posted: 31 Jul 2020 09:34 AM PDT

WILKES-BARRE — City police and the Luzerne County Drug Task Force arrested a man after allegedly finding quantities of cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription pills and drug debt sheets inside a Spruce Street house.

Julio Angel Rodriguez, 40, was arraigned by District Judge Brian Tupper in Kingston Township on five counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, three counts of possession of a controlled substance, two counts of misbranding a controlled substance and a single count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Rodriguez was jailed at the county correctional facility for lack of $125,000 bail.

According to the criminal complaint:

Drug agents and city police executed a search warrant at 31 Spruce St. finding Rodriguez outside the residence just after 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

When Rodriguez noticed approaching drug agents, he fled toward the backyard and entered he residence where he was arrested.

Rodriguez told drug agents there were narcotics and cash inside a shoebox in the kitchen, the complaint says.

A shoebox found in the kitchen allegedly contained two bags of suspected crystal methamphetamine, cash, owe sheets, three bags of suspected Oxyconden pills, a bag and a bottle of suspected Xanax pills, a bag of suspected Diazepam pills, a bag of suspected crack cocaine, packaging materials and a digital scale.

Drug agents also found in the basement a plastic container filled with cash, suspected heroin and fentanyl, packaging materials, a digital scale and more prescription pills, the complaint says.

Inside a desk in the dining room were bags of suspected cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription pills, packaging materials, a digital scale and owe sheets, according to the complaint.

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