Kelly Lobello’s life at Westburne began 15 years ago when his two best friends told him Westburne was a great place to work, with plenty of opportunity to move up. Kelly was sold.
Starting in 2001 as a picker at Calgary Main Branch, Kelly loved the physicality of his new job – walking, squatting and stretching all day! But the best part of all was the warehouse team Kelly worked with, who helped each other get the job done and truly exemplified team work.
When a Branch Shipping role came up, Kelly jumped at it. He had the opportunity to show off his “OCD skills” and took pride in it.
“I’d pack the Red Deer, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge crates so well that they almost looked like pieces of art that you just didn’t want to see taken apart,” Kelly says. “I would shrink wrap the branch skids so well that you could crash the forklift into them and they wouldn’t tip or fall apart.”
It didn’t take long for Kelly’s curiosity to take over when it came to the product he was handling each day. With a desire to know more, Kelly started talking to the counter staff and soon, any free time they had was spent walking around the warehouse, learning about products and their application. Needless to say, Kelly was intrigued and asked his boss if he could help at the counter when time permitted – his boss said yes. Soon, Kelly knew all the regular customers by name, took on a full time role at the counter, and later became the Saturday counter crew manager – officially making the counter his “baby”.
“I’ll tell you one thing, the counter is no cake walk, but I was totally down for the challenge,” Kelly says. “After a couple months there, I was killing it!”
Kelly’s passion showed, even coming in on Sundays to make sure the counter and showroom were ready for the Monday rush. Whether he realized it or not, Kelly was just preparing for his next endeavor. Kelly took full advantage of every learning opportunity sent his way – attending lunch-and-learns, and even Rockwell training sessions. Aside from gaining knowledge, Kelly made connections at training sessions with other Westburne staff from across Alberta; connections that to this day, still help make his job easier.
When an Inside Sales role came up, Kelly knew he was the guy for the job. To be a successful Inside Sales group, teamwork is a must, and Kelly’s team had it. Operating more like family than co-workers, Kelly and the team would do whatever necessary to help each other succeed.
“We would do part number quizzes, disguise our voices and call one another on our breaks from the lunch room and pretend to be customers,” Kelly says. “It was awesome, and it totally increased our product knowledge, especially the Industrial product which intrigued me most of the products we sold.”
Kelly soon became the go-to guy for all Industrial calls that came through Calgary Main. Acknowledging his knack for all-things Industrial, his supervisor decided to create a role just for Kelly – Inside Industrial Sales Rep.
“Bam! That was one of the best things that’s happened to me,” Kelly says, “I started to deal with the main Industrial Contractors, large Panel Shops, and OEM’s.”
In 2007, an opening for an outside Industrial Account Manager at Calgary Foothills branch was posted. Kelly applied, and ignored any doubts as to whether he was ready or not. His mind was made up and he was going to make that job his own.
For the last 8 years, Kelly has done just that. Despite market fluctuations, the loss of team members, and the personal toll of the job, Kelly credits his success to his mentors, like first boss Mark Hill, the inside sales teams, warehouse staff, and specialists across Alberta, our suppliers and especially, our customers.
“A few weeks ago I attended a training session at the Main Branch, put on by Chris Mealin; in that session he mentioned Teamwork,” Kelly says, “Teamwork is the key to success.”
“This is what we should focus on today, in a time when the market is in turmoil and the future is uncertain. This is the time where everyone will see that as a team, we can make it through anything.”