“A great associate listens and doesn’t act like they know everything. There’s always something to learn.”
How does a pre-law student end up in industrial? Ask Kelsay Forte. Kelsay went to Louisiana Tech as a political science major and planned to go to law school. Her path shifted when she decided she wanted to work instead. She started a job in marketing, but soon realized it wasn’t for her. It didn’t challenge her enough. At the time, her sister-in-law was working for Ferguson and suggested Kelsay give it a look. Kelsay liked what she learned about the company and the industry — she jumped in and she’s never looked back.
Ten years later, Kelsay still loves the company and her job. Fueled by a strong work ethic and her eagerness to tackle new challenges, she has successfully made several career shifts along the way. Kelsay started out in HVAC in the sales program in Texas, then moved to a satellite branch. To get into operations, she moved to Tulsa to work in the plumbing branch. While she was there, the company opened a standalone industrial branch and Kelsay was asked to run it. She began managing turnarounds as branch manager, and soon was focusing on turnarounds full time. Today she’s running a team of about 15 people working on turnarounds with refineries.
Turnarounds are a unique challenge within an industry of unique challenges, and that’s right up Kelsay’s alley. When a plant is shutting down, Kelsay’s team provides the materials the plant needs, and often the labor as well. Providing the materials is a completely turnkey process, from selling it to procuring it to managing the material on site. Many customers have an issue with lost material, which can cause major issues, especially when a valve may have a lead time as long as 34 weeks. Kelsay and her team are laser-focused on their work, meticulously managing every single item so if something does go awry they can get things back on track faster. At the end of the day, Kelsay’s team saves their customers valuable time and a significant amount of money.
Kelsay and her team take pride in being dependable and trustworthy — to customers, to one another, and to themselves. “My team is the best!” she emphasizes. “I love a challenge and I like to excel, but it’s my team that really motivates me. I want us all to do well, and I want to make sure we do good work for our customers.” Despite each team member bringing a great deal of expertise to the table to make a strong team, she recognizes the value of asking questions, which is always important no matter how much you think you know or how much experience you have. “The worst thing we can do is hold a question in and guess, that can have serious consequences,” she says. “If you don’t know, ask. There are no dumb questions for what we do.” In this business, even the experts still learn, and that makes everyone — and their results — better.
We can help you minimize operational downtime through in-house project management and contracting services that are designed to meet the needs of industrial customers.
Our quality program is the greatest value we provide our customers as a trusted supplier. We are dedicated to the safe operation of the industries we serve, knowing that the products we supply are critical to the safe operation of their facilities.