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The hat-wearing hero maker

janicepolkadotLet’s see – where do I first begin to explain my incredible journey with Stuller? Where do I first begin to tell you about how I’ve been just about everywhere in the company? I’ve drifted through just about every department that had a place for me bringing with me nothing but my universal love of hard work, people, and my motto, “Stuller DOES care”. I rely on to these very passions to make customers’ lives better.
Well, it began back in 2002.
After spending many years as a model, I decided to step off the runway to raise my growing family as a homemaker. Before I go on, I should point out that by the time I came to Stuller in 2002, I already had six of my current-seven children. They were all homeschooled by me, and working full time at Stuller did not stop me from continuing to school them. I just worked around whatever schedule changes I had at Stuller over the years. I gave them homework to do while I was away and then we did more together when I was home. I wanted to homeschool all seven of my children and I did. I still do.

My kids

My kids and I

My two youngest, 11 and 15 are still homeschooled, with the 15-year-old practicing for the ACT, while the other 5 have been to college. My oldest son, Brandon, was part of the Stuller family while he was in college. He then went on to become a soldier for the United States Army; fighting on two fronts, Afghanistan and Iraq. At the present time, he owns a Music Studio in his home. Music has always been his passion. My second oldest son, John, just started working this week in his field of Mechanical Engineering in Austin, Texas. The next oldest, my second engineer Michael, will be graduating next year and moving off to live with his older brother in Texas. Next down the line is my daughter Tiffany, who is a Biology major – an excellent writer and artist; she has a gift. She will join the Stuller family as an Assay Technician next week. From there I have a freshman Computer Science major, Troy, who loves taking apart computers and repairing them. As for the two who aren’t in college just yet: Eric wants to be an Astronomer and Danielle – who our priest calls “the little pistol of the group” – is already interested in Zoology.

My husband and I

Then there’s my husband – the big kid. He’s a great guy; I’ve been with him for almost 30 years so I guess I’ll keep him! I took him off the market when I was working briefly at an insurance agency. He was my copy technician at the time and while I didn’t always call him for every little problem, all I know is that whenever something went wrong with the equipment it was always fixed by the time he was finished with it – if that wasn’t a sign then I don’t know what was.
So how did I find myself at Stuller despite having my hands full with a large family?
We needed a larger home to support our growing family, so I had began looking for a job so that we could afford the move. My sister, Rita Smith, who worked in human resources at Stuller during this time, tipped me off about the available position. I started in Quality Assurance . I later worked as an Expediter, and then became part of Assembly. I also volunteered in Fulfillment for several years. Reflecting back on my years at Stuller, I’ve done just about everything on the manufacturing side of the company except being part of the Wax and Casting Departments.

Throughout the years, I met and worked with many incredible people, and I still keep in touch with them even though I no longer work on that side of the building (Stuller is about 1/3 mile long, by the way). But despite this, I always felt like something was missing deep down inside. I did my work the best I could in every department, but something was always pulling my attention elsewhere. I just knew I could do better for the company. As I’ve mentioned, I always had a natural affinity towards helping people; taking a situation that upsets them and eliminating that problem for them.
I wanted to be able to do that. I wanted to be able to interact with the customers. I wanted to be a Customer Service Representative.
Many people would say, “you really don’t fit in here, you would fit perfectly on the other side” and I admit that I was afraid to try. Needless to say, it was very different from what I had been doing for the company thus far.
Then one day after a meeting, I spoke to Matt Stuller and I asked him what I had to do to interact with the customers. Once he told me that I would have to move into Sales and that my job would entail speaking to the customers by phone, I told him that I would think about it.
Years passed. Ten since I first started, actually.
During a company picnic that I just happened to be standing behind Priscilla Ledet, former director of customer service, and we began talking. At some point, I asked her if she was hiring in her area and it happened that they were! I was just in time, turned in an application to HR, and sure enough I got the job!
Even though I had wanted the position for a long time, I didn’t get the hang of it immediately. For a while, it was hard not to take things personally when a customer called in very upset. I later learned how to put myself in their shoes and understand just why they were upset, and that made me all the more determined to deliver a quality of service that I personally would like to be given. I do my best to leave upon the customer that “Stuller DOES care,” because we do. This is how I help make our customers heroes. I make sure that they know that when they call Stuller’s customer service, things will get moving and their problems will be solved. I enjoy my 8-hour shift. I consider it a privilege to work at Stuller, to be in customer service where I can make the customer smile at the end of the day. That’s what I enjoy most about my job, that I can speak with and help the customers. I love that I can get on the phone with a customer who’s upset and disappointed and by the end be able to hear in their voice that they’re smiling.
As for the way I dress, people – both men and women – ask me all the time. They want to know in particular about “how many hats I have.” I just have two that can change colors when you turn them inside out.
Just kidding! I have many boxes of hats stacked in my closet. I’ve always loved hats, I’ve always worn them even when younger. My mother taught me to always look my best. You didn’t have to have the most expensive clothing, but you just do with what you do have. As I mentioned earlier, I used to be a model and so perhaps I’ve picked up some preferences in clothing from having been in that industry for as long as I was.
I have to say that I have many memorable stories about my job, but the most memorable was very recent: Danny Clark, Stuller’s President and Bill White, the Executive Director in my department, surprised me with a Hero Award, onstage, at the last company meeting. Now, I knew they planned on playing one of the phone calls where I helped a customer. People were telling me that it was played during the executive meeting. But when he said he wanted to give me an award, I just could not believe it. I had to watch the video of the meeting because I hardly remember anything after that. It was an amazing feeling, I was so happy!
When asked if I had anything to say, I knew I had a few people to thank. I couldn’t have done it alone. I made the call happen but I couldn’t have fulfilled what I promised that customer if it weren’t for PPM, CAD/CAM and Stone Setting. I had confidence because I knew they would be able to do what I assured the customer we would do.

Danny Clark handing me the Hero Award

I love my job. There’s seldom a moment that I’m not smiling while there, and I always greet everyone with one. What makes me smile so much? I’ll tell you – it’s God. He is the head of my family and the reason I am in this position today; the reason I have the ability to connect with people and reach out to do the best I can to help them. Customers feel comfortable enough with me to even share personal things even though we’ve never met, and that only makes me even prouder to be a Customer Service Representative.


Janice Sinegal

I've been with Stuller since 2002 • I was born on Christmas Day and delivered by a nun • I grew up on a working farm • I have a degree in Computer Science • I love country music • My passions are God and family • I Believe All things are Possible with God • My favorite song is 'Humble and Kind' by Tim McGraw • I am NOT on Facebook • My husband, Daniel and my mom are my best friends • I have 5 brothers and 3 sisters • I love listening to Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen • Live to leave a legacy for God's glory.