Greta (Labernik) Pence
I have been in the industry since 1982. Worked my way up through the ranks from a machine operator to operations manager and beyond. I held positions in accounting, inventory, customer service, and purchasing. I was always the person to call if you had a question (even when I didn’t work for you anymore). I have enjoyed the challenges of a male dominated industry. Working side by side with my mentors along the way showed me the diversity of the fastener industry and just where I needed to be.
Journey – How did you start in the fastener industry?
I started working with fasteners at 15 in southern California as a machine operator making set screws and springs. As a teenager that didn’t last very long, but I stayed in manufacturing and finishing of industrial products. I learned as much about the Metals and Fastener Industry as I could and it certainly helped in my career.
I moved to Sacramento in 1990 where I took my first step into Distribution with ABC Supply Company. Connie Prentice and her son Greg really took me in and taught me a great deal about fasteners and distribution.
A few years later I moved on and went into wholesale distribution with Bay Standard Manufacturing. Shortly after this change my children needed me at home and I took a break from the hustle and bustle.
I was really looking forward to getting back into the workforce and had a great opportunity in purchasing with Lord and Sons in 1998. It was wonderful being back in the swing with the diverse customer needs. As I moved into management I was happy to share my knowledge with new associates coming up within the company. Everything I learned along the way I tried to pass along.
In 2012 I returned to Bay Standard as their Purchasing Manager with a focus on increasing their footprint in global market. With great success the company has been flourishing and growing.
What is your current role?
In 2016 I missed the crazy construction world and went to HD Supply White Cap in San Jose as the Inside Sales Manager, with a focus on expanding our customer base, fastener offering and product knowledge within our region.
What is one accomplishment in your present job are you most proud of?
My most recent accomplishment was to take a dwindling fastener selection and revitalize it. I added some key items for the construction industry. Made it simple and easy for customer to help themselves as well as our own associates to pull orders. Having an aisle that is faced as if we were a retail store really boosted sales. In the first 6 months we increased sales by more than 30 % and our fill rate went through the roof.
What is one favorite thing about your job?
Only 1 thing? I am fortunate to work in one of the busiest HD Supply White Cap stores in the country. The crew here works through an amazing amount of orders daily and they all remain incredibly positive and willing to help. When we have product classes, they are attentive and willing to learn. Lending to their continued education in this area is a bright part of job. Our/my customers are just as great and they are a big part of our team too. It’s incredible to be involved in their projects from beginning to end then seeing the finished structure(s) is very rewarding.
What is one thing we might not know about you that you would like the fastener industry to know?
I fancy myself as a “Troubleshooter and Detective”. I love a good mystery or problem. When an employee or customer comes in with little notes, pictures, drawings on a napkin or a story of what they are trying to do, I just jump right in. Love the design build aspect that this brings to my day. “Fasteners are fun and hold the world