In summers during high school, Steve worked with his Dad at a metal fabrication shop in Philadelphia. He learned how to weld, cut, and fabricate pressure vessels, piping, and process equipment for the chemical industry. He learned how to read blue prints. Being a contrarian, he decided to go to work full-time with his father and forgo college. For the next four years, Steve became a journeyman welder-fitter for the Coppersmith’s Union #80 which was part of the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association.
“My Dad taught me how to work hard, think, and build things.”
At age 22, his father’s business sent him to California to become a field supervisor. The job was cancelled the week he arrived in California. Steve was at a cross-roads. He quit the job and stayed in California. It was time to begin his next life chapter.
At the same time, Steve’s former classmates from high school were all graduating from college. He decided to return to school. He enrolled in a community college. Part-time. Evening classes. It took Steve 13 years to complete is B.S. Business (Marketing) from San Jose State University.
So … back to the story … Steve was 22 years old. In California. And he needed a job …
“I wasn’t going to get any job, I was going to get a job that would be different and help me grow as a person.”
He started working for a chemical research company. A group of chemists and engineers who sat around thinking about molecules. Steve was the first non-scientist hired by the company. He became part of the team because of his ability to build things and put mechanical stuff together. He became the Facilities Manager.
But at year five or six, he started getting antsy. While he was giving a harsh evaluation of a vendors lack of performance, the idea of working for that vendor as a salesman popped into his head.
Steve knew what they needed because he saw where they were lacking.
They hired Steve as a Sales/Territory manager … his first sales job … selling high-tech plumbing parts.
Two years later he transferred to a sister-company and sold semiconductor capital equipment for another couple of years.
But the bug to work for himself kept biting … “Maybe I wasn’t meant to work for someone else?” Maybe Steve was meant to work for himself? Be a free-lancer …
For the next six years Steve was a 100% commission-only sales guy. He sold custom tailored suits for several years, an industrial tool gizmo, and office furniture. He was selling widgets … blue widgets … green widgets. Steve was selling.
He was making a call to sell a green widget to a customer who previously had purchased some blue widgets when he heard that newscast on his car radio … Bubba Gump Shrimp was opening soon …
Widgets would take a back seat to shrimp. Forrest was needed!
See Steve’s story of the Gump Years here.
See Steve’s full profile of work experience on his LinkedIn page.