Meet Oscar Mencias, Smithey’s shift supervisor, whose office is smack dab in the middle of the warehouse where everything from manufacturing to shipping occurs.
Oscar, you’re originally from Venezuela, where you worked as an accountant with an oil company. How did that training prepare you for your role overseeing the warehouse operations at Smithey?
I came from a country filled with people from many different places—Africa, Italy, all over Europe—so I am used to working with people from different backgrounds. Teamwork is very important in my line of work.
Well, in my former life as a public accountant, I was part of an internal audit group brought in to streamline operations and find efficiencies. At Smithey, where I am an Operational Manager, I also wear many hats and fill a lot of roles to ensure the team runs smoothly.
What is the main focus of your job?
It all boils down to this: I ask the right questions. What do we have? What do we need? What do our customers need? How can we improve ourselves everyday?
You mentioned teamwork...and that it is really important to you. Why?
Yes. We have a great team here, and I couldn’t do what I do without them. Those questions I just listed? I ask the same ones when it comes to ensuring our team runs smoothly, too: What does my team need? How can we plan ahead? What does everyone need to feel value? To be happy? Those things are very important, and tending to them means a better product and better outcomes all around. Beyond taking inventory, tracking shipping times, distribution channels, etc, I am always focusing on safety and well-being. In my job, I have to think for everyone, which means I also am fortunate enough to understand what everyone does and to appreciate their efforts.
When you think back to life in Venezuela, how does your current situation compare?
You know, I came to America seeking political asylum. Many of the people I know from South America, professionals like me, they work as house painters now. I never thought I could get back into an office again. I never thought anyone in this country would give me that kind of an opportunity. Smithey did, and I am grateful. When I look at the operations of this company, I look carefully at the risks and opportunities because the success of Smithey is the success of Oscar. That is why I care so much and why I spend so much time learning and using my skills to benefit the people here who have given me much.