Feature Friday – Lou Meinerz
I graduated with a service and hospitality degree, which lends itself to working in hotels and restaurants. After working in that arena for over 10 years, I moved to Lafayette to take on a Marketing position. More specifically, I was the personal assistant to a local family. When the business eventually closed down, I was on the job hunt and applied at Stuller. They said they had nothing to offer in the main plant however, there was a possible opportunity for me as the Personal Assistant to Matt Stuller. I interviewed, received the job, and love every minute of it 15 years later!
I’ve kept this same position all throughout my tenure, the only change being my move from the Ranch office to the main plant about eight years ago. It was at this time when Mr. Stuller made the decision to work directly from Stuller headquarters to oversee and assimilate a prime Executive team. I recently entered into my 15th year as the assistant to Matt and his family. I asked him if I could sign on for another 15 years, as it is a total joy to work for the Stuller family. (FYI – Matt said yes, so I pray I can hit 30 years!)
Each day, I have the pleasure of being Matt Stuller’s gatekeeper – you must get through me to get to him! It’s been rewarding to serve him, his wife and children to the best of my ability. This means I wear many hats over the course of a day or week, though I must admit, I love the costume changes and have learned flexibility through the years. Do not get me wrong. Flexible does not equal precision — for most know that Matt sets a high standard for himself and the company. Every aspect of Matt’s life is very detailed, so I strive for precision and poise as my ultimate goal on a daily basis.
One of my favorite memories happened when I began working for Matt. It took place at the former Ranch office located on Mr. Stuller’s personal property. During the first two weeks of work, Matt asked me to bring some documents to him at his home. I was so nervous to do this small task, as I had only spent a few days working for him and didn’t know much about him or his family. When I entered the house, Mr. Stuller was scrambling eggs on the stove for his two youngest children: Matthew (6) and Lauren (5). Shocked, I quickly realized he was just like every other Dad out there, loving his kids and making them a fun evening meal. But to top it off, he took the time to introduce me to both of the children. He explained that Mommy took care of Daddy when he was at the house, but Mrs. Lou was the person who takes cares of Daddy while he is in the office. I felt like part of the family and will never forget this warm welcome!
Gratitude keeps me going. My boss always takes time to thank me for my service, whether is it bringing him a cup of coffee each morning or going the extra mile to ensure that every detail is in place for an important trip. We may think we do not need a “thank you,” but when you hear those simple words it calms your spirit and lifts you up! In turn, I use that positive energy to perform my job in the best way possible. For example, when a call comes to Matt from a disgruntled customer, I do all that I can to efficiently connect them to the right person to best help with their situation.
My words of wisdom are simple: understand that passion and God’s gifts sometimes go hand in hand. Once you learn what your God-given gifts/talents are, you will find total enjoyment in your career path by aligning the two. Personally, this took several years, as I did not accept the Lord into my life until I was about 36. But once I did, God’s path led me to my position as PA for Matt Stuller. Then I knew I was using my gifts to glorify God and do the best to care for the Stuller family behind the scenes.
On my own time, I love to organize, plan, create, network and partake in fun events and outings for family, girlfriends, couples, neighbors, co-workers — the list goes on. Life is about people, not stuff and I believe relationships developed along the way happen for a reason, so nurturing them is important!