Feature Friday – Deirdre Collette
Meet Deirdre Collette
Can you believe that I am in my 32nd year of working at Stuller? In 1985, my sister worked for Stuller and called to see if I wanted to fill in for a week, due to the team being short-handed. I agreed. When I mentioned it to my husband, he advised against the idea because the drive was nearly 25 miles one way. Keep in mind that minimum wage was barely over $3.00 at the time. Despite his discouragement, I told him that I had already given my word. At the end of my temporary workweek, the manager asked if I wanted to stay. And so began my tenure here at Stuller.
Early in my career, things were very different from how they are now. I worked in bookkeeping. We would key in handwritten invoices. Each sales consultant would fill the order and clip the merchandise to its paperwork. Then, it was sent to our department to create an invoice. Once all orders were processed, we would head to the shipping department to help package the orders to ensure they were ready for shipment by the end of the day. There were about 120 employees when I started, and everyone knew each other.
I helped out when needed and cross-trained in the Accounts Payable area. Eventually, I transferred to that department. Oddly enough, the manager’s name was Deirdre too. It became quite confusing when someone needed our attention. So eventually, my manager suggested the nickname Collette, as that is my last name that doubles as a first name too. The moniker stuck, and everyone in the building knows me by Collette. Most people aren’t even aware of my true first name.
In my years here, I’ve been able to work in several different areas. I recall filling orders in the stone department when there were only three order fillers. My station had synthetic stones, and I filled them right at my desk. Wow, how times have changed. Later I worked as a confirmer in the inventory department. This involved processing invoices. This turned out to be one of my favorite jobs because it required us to completely finish our tasks each day before leaving. Every day brought about a new challenge, since we had to complete every order the same day.
Eventually, a position opened up in Accounts Payable, and having prior experience in that department, I made a good fit. So I transferred back into Accounts Payable, where I have been processing and paying invoices, among many other tasks, for the past 19 years. At present, I am an Accounts Payable Specialist.
I believe that what I love most here is that we never stop learning. I can truly say I learn something new every day. This is extremely rewarding. Another thing I cherish here is lifelong friendships. When I started here, the 100 or so people all knew each other. I can truly say I’ve held friendships here for 30 plus years, something truly awesome.
During my journey at Stuller, my husband of 36 years and I have raised our family. Our children, Amber and Trent, both graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Amber is married to Josh McGrew, a Lafayette firefighter and first responder, and she is employed in healthcare here in Lafayette. They have two beautiful daughters I truly adore: Mya and Sophia, ages 7 and 4. My son Trent presently serves in the U.S. Army. As you can see, I thrive on longevity, married for 36 years and employed by the same company for 32 years.
Outside of work, one of my favorite things to do is picnicking, going to the park, or just staying home in the country under our big oak trees and enjoying time with my family. Making time for loved ones is most important to me. I’m a simple person, easygoing and hardworking. My journey has been challenging at times, but it’s all been absolutely worth it. Hard work and perseverance have been something we’ve strived to instill in our children as well. In this fast-paced world, I try to stay grounded and treasure the simple things in life.
Hats off to Deirdre Collette and her 30+ years of service! Here are a few more dedicated faces of Stuller.