Cary Barger has been at Star since 1974. To put that in perspective, he’s been at Star since America’s Bicentennial. Since Elvis Presley died. Since Watergate. Since the very first release of Star Wars. Since the customer service department at Star was called “the complaint department”. And yes, Cary worked in that department for a while.
The truth is, Cary has worked in a lot of departments over the years – from detailing to estimating to product development to field service, where he’s now been for more than 30 years. And while he may have spent some time in that regrettably titled complaint department, the one thing about which there has never been a complaint is Cary’s ability to get the job done. He’s been the calming voice on the phone, the hero who saves the day on a job, the always-reliable problem solver, the guy with the answers, the all-around great co-worker and representative of Star for 45 years now.
So how did it all start? You might say there were signs leading him to Star. Well, actually, it was one sign. Cary was working as a draftsman for the Federal Aviation Administration while studying architectural engineering at Oklahoma State University when he saw a large sign posted at a job site with the Star logo on it. “I saw the sign and decided I was going to work for the drafting department until I could find an apprenticeship open in architecture;” said Cary, “I had an interview with the manager of drafting (Weldon Cain at the time) on a Saturday and started that following Monday.”
Though he’s been in the same department now for more than 30 years, the details of the job have changed significantly over time. The evolution of technology has brought with it greater demand for speed and volume – which Cary and his team have worked hard to find ways to deliver without compromising quality. An upside to the changes, however, has been a reduction in the days away from home due to travel. Field inspections are a large part of his job, but today’s innovation enables him to accomplish the same level of attention to detail with high-resolution pictures and real-time accessibility. A typical day for Cary now starts with calls and emails to review pending field claims from all over the country and ends, ideally, with resolutions to most of those claims. If you ask Cary’s customers and co-workers, they’ll tell you that is most often the case.
“On a daily basis, Cary and his team deal with our customers while they are erecting a metal building;” said Gabe Savely, director of logistics for Star, “Since these are active jobsites, there can be a lot of pressure to get new materials shipped out quickly, or to teach a customer how to work with material on site. Cary always remains calm and collected, which keeps the conversations productive and provides a solution quicker. He definitely has leveraged his 45 years at Star and uses his knowledge and expertise to continue to provide quality and superior service levels to our customers, even when things seemingly can’t get any worse.”
Calm and collected may not have been his natural state of mind on some of the most challenging field visits he’s faced over the years, but those around him would never know. His ability to remain steady and see the job through guided him, even when he encountered, say, repairing the framing on an octagon-shaped church building with suspended catwalks, removing all of the IMP wall panels from a high-security active military facility in an undisclosed location, overseeing construction of a building above the arctic circle in Alaska in below-zero temperatures, building a helicopter hangar for President George Bush, Sr., and negotiating in El Salvador with a table full of contractors … and their guns.
Fortunately, not every day is full of those types of challenges, but no day goes by that his customers and co-workers don’t appreciate having Cary on the job, regardless of how seemingly small or trivial. “Cary is the expert’s expert;” explains Chad O’Neal, director of customer service at Star, “He is a wealth of information and has the perfect calm attitude. He’s always been there to assist me in the finer details and any time I need technical advice, he’s always been available and willing to help me out. I appreciate his willingness to teach others the knowledge he’s gained throughout his career.”
We appreciate that and so much more, Cary. Thank you for not only giving 45 years of service but always giving 110% to everything you do.