Our Industrial Athletes (IAs) are the heart and soul of our business and a key differentiator from other supply chain workforce companies. We sat down with Rene Valadez, Regional Operations Manager, to discuss his Eclipse journey over the past five years – from Industrial Athlete to Recruiter to Travel Team Manager to his current role as a Regional Operations Manager.
Rene Valadez, Regional Operations Manager
How did your Eclipse journey begin?
I joined Eclipse in 2017 as a Site Supervisor for an IKEA facility in Baytown, TX. I had worked with the SVP of Client & Operational Strategy in a previous 3PL position and he brought me on board to the Eclipse team. The site had a strong safety culture, which helped in my development. After we finished the year-long contract, the SVP reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in traveling to other sites and I said yes.
After working at a few different sites around the country, my manager recommended a recruiting position – called grassroots recruiting – to see if it was a good fit. I went ahead and gave it a try and found out that I really liked it.
Why do you think you were so successful in recruiting?
It’s in the field, posting flyers, meeting people in community centers, parks, neighborhood outreach programs. My outreach was often in the Hispanic community. My Hispanic roots have always been hardworking in nature and I believe that culture is really driven home in the Hispanic world.
After successfully filling a few sites, I started to put together a little guidebook for myself, outlining where to look, what to tackle first when I arrived in a city – from community centers and supermarkets to barber shops. I put a checklist together and I really got excited about controlling the narrative.
After some of the other VPs heard about my success, they asked that I help out in their regions as well, and I did. I was being sent wherever needed, from Washington state to up and down the East Coast corridor; it was assignment after assignment. Growing and learning the recruiting department was a big plus for me, because I had worked in operations for years. To be on that side was eye opening and gave me a tremendous respect for the role. I learned a lot and I really enjoyed it too.
How did your recruiting success lead to a management position?
Toward the latter part of 2020, we started creating a travel team to support different sites. The group that I recruited from Houston, where I live, is phenomenal. They went above and beyond to promote the company and support our sites. And they even had their own nickname throughout the company, the Regulators.
Now, every one of them is a supervisor with their own team. They got to see firsthand the opportunities that Eclipse provides. Today, the travel team is its own department and has the potential to grow even bigger. I’m enjoying every minute in my role as regional manager of travel team projects.
Why do you think teamwork is such an important part of the Eclipse culture?
One word – trust. Teamwork is important because it develops trust. That is a really big part of what I always want to deliver to my teams, for them to understand the plan and be able to really soak it in, so they don’t have second thoughts or feel that there are hidden agendas. That’s a big sell, especially in this company.
I worked at three 3PL companies before this, and one thing I really like about this company is the transparency, from upper management and CEO-level, to VPs, regional and site managers. Everybody is included at Eclipse. Everyone is part of the plan. It’s proven through the opportunities that everyone has, and that I’ve seen firsthand.
A lot of companies say the employees are the backbone of the company. Eclipse actually believes that. And they stand behind this 100 percent.
I’ve never seen other companies provide so much support and information to entry-level employees. Like their “Shoes for Crews” program, which gives our Industrial Athletes the opportunity to purchase new work boots and pay them off in installments. They don’t have to be burdened with the full price up front. Eclipse knows that it takes the Industrial Athletes, the ones that are out there working so hard every day, to grow a company.
What is the difference between employee and Industrial Athlete?
It eliminates the common warehouse environment, where everyone is just an associate (that’s the term that other companies use). It gives the Industrial Athlete a sense of pride, to think ‘I’m an Industrial Athlete; I’m not just a regular associate.’ When they first ask what an Industrial Athlete is, their eyes light up when they hear the answer: a description of what you are to us, an athlete in the industrial/warehouse environment, one of our team members. It’s a unique term, it makes them feel unique and it is unique to the Eclipse company.
What advice would you give to other Eclipse Industrial Athletes who want to ultimately move into a management role?
The first thing I would tell them is that they need to be sure. Yes, this is a great opportunity and career, but you need to be ready to work. Once you know that this is what you want to do, then you have to put in 110%. You’re going to have good days and bad days, some stressful days and then days when it is all worthwhile. If you can wake up and you’re planning your day at your job, thinking about how you’re looking forward to it, then you know this is the job you want.
It might involve learning how to coach people, learning how to deliver messages, and understanding how to teach and motivate others. A big part of management is teaching; it’s not just telling people what to do. That develops continuity and teamwork, and everybody feels more involved.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
At Eclipse as Vice President of Operations.
During our conversation, it quickly became clear that Rene is such an important asset to Eclipse that the company and leadership team ensure that there is always a position for him.
Cody McSwain – Eclipse SVP Client & Operational Strategy had this to say about Rene. “I have had the pleasure of working with Rene for over 10 years and it is with admiration that I have enjoyed watching him grow the ranks at Eclipse. Rene has a gift of putting what he has learned into action. He has a can-do attitude for all things. And, his greatest gift is the way he takes care of his Industrial Athletes day in and day out to make them have pride and success in a team productivity pay environment.”
Tim Neal – Eclipse VP of Operations had this to say about Rene. “At many times, Rene has been an integral part of my team. His flexibility, consistency, and work ethic are evident in each new challenge he takes on. Every operational VP in our organization has had the pleasure of working with Rene, because he is so versatile. Those character strengths come through his hard work and determination. There is no stopping Rene once he puts his mind to it! We are blessed to have folks like Rene on the team here at Eclipse.”
At Eclipse, we consistently focus on the value that our Industrial Athletes bring to our clients and our teams. In that spirit, we make it a priority to recognize, reward and promote our top performers. Through this unique culture and strong focus on core values, we create the best possible opportunities for our clients, our Industrial Athletes and our company.
If you’re interested in learning more about our Industrial Athletes, our workforce solutions or joining the Eclipse team, please contact us today!
This post is part one of a seven-part series exploring what it means to be an Industrial Athlete at Eclipse IA. You can read all of the posts in the series here.