Brock Blaise: Positive Environment and Putting People First
As we continue our Senior Leadership Team spotlight, we talk with our Vice President of Operations Brock Blaise. If you would like more information about Brock, you can read about his background here. Now, check out how Brock got started, his motto of creating a positive environment and his managerial philosophy!
Q: Can you tell us what you did before landing at PFSbrands?
A: Prior to joining PFSbrands, I spent 19 years working at a global manufacturer of personal care products. During those years I had the opportunity to serve and learn many roles ending as an Operations Manager. Prior to that, I spent time working for a privately held manufacturing company in the Columbia, MO area holding multiple roles there as well. The only other job I had after college was with my father as an industrial employment recruiter.
Throughout my career I’ve been blessed to work for very few employers yet develop a diverse skill base across many disciplines. Because I’ve been exposed to so many different types of roles, I’ve been able to take the positive pieces from each of those positions/people and develop my leadership style.
Q: What brought you to PFSbrands?
A: OUT OF NOWHERE…Quite some time back I had previously interviewed with Shawn and Carla regarding another position. Then OUT OF NOWHERE one Saturday, I get a phone call from Shawn while playing golf with my two older son’s. Next thing I know I’m sitting in front of the PFS Senior Leadership Team that Monday fielding questions. Awkwardly enough, I had a decision to make between PFS and another company. Do I go with another large global company or PFS whom I share common values and who cares about me as a person? I think you know what I decided.
By the way…How do you turn down an opportunity with a company that has a core value of Structure & Balance – God, Family, Work? It’s very rare in the current corporate world that a company has those values and openly speaks about them.
Q: Tell us about you and your family a bit.
A: I’m really not a person that likes to talk about myself. However, when it comes to my family and my 4 beautiful boys, I can’t talk enough. How awesome is it when a father and his son’s share and participate in the same interest? Whether we are spending time at football or baseball games, playing a round of golf, fishing, spending time at the farm or just talking about how our sports teams are doing, it’s hard for a father to ask for anything better than that. The best part of all, they are good, respectful kids that try to do the right things.
Q: What is a normal day in the life of Brock?
A: Typically I’m an early riser and try to be at work no later than 6:30am, otherwise I feel like I’m late. Being at work early also allows me to crank out some work so I can be available to focus elsewhere if needed and try to leave at a reasonable time at night for work/life balance. There’s only two things that I try to make routine in my day. One is attending a morning huddle in the warehouse or blending facility and the other is talking with people to see if there is something pressing and seeing what I can do to help them. Other than that, I’m really not sure what a normal day is, that’s the beautiful part of it.
Q: What is the biggest impact you make on bottom-line here at PFSbrands?
A: I guess the standard answer would be logistics revenue, positive production numbers, improving efficiencies while driving out waste, fanatical customer service, insuring quality products, continuous improvement… etc. The non-standard answer is creating a positive environment where people can make good daily decisions without feeling threatened and feel good about what they are doing every day. If I can do that, then everyone participates equally in the impact on the bottom-line.
Q: Any insider tips when it comes to Operations?
A: I don’t know that there are any real secret tips to Operations or any other area. Whether you’re talking about Operations, Customer Service, Production, Quality or any other area it’s all about the people. If you create an environment where people are not hesitant to share their ideas or you search out there ideas, they usually come up with the solutions on their own. Typically, their ideas far exceed mine.
Q: Anything else we didn’t cover you would like to share?
A: Obviously, people and a positive environment are the main theme in my answers above. So, whatever type of role or position you hold, engage yourself in the people around you. Learn as much as you can about them. What’s their professional and personal interests? What makes them “tick”? What difficulties are they having? Just get to know who they are as a person. People are what drives any goal, continuous improvement or objective. So genuinely know and care about them, mentor them, coach them, be honest with them, be compassionate but firm, serve them and everything else will make a positive leap forward.
For whatever it’s worth for those who inspire to lead, here’s what I believe. We deal with people from all walks of life, backgrounds and personalities. When and only when you can listen to an individual’s problem (although it may seem trivial to you) and truly feel empathy, compassion and realize that this problem is probably the most important thing going on in their life at the time, can you make headway in valuing and serving people.