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Through the years, Bermex has seen several employees come and go. Michael Wilson, a meter services supervisor who serves on the Bermex Ready Force Team, has remained loyal to the company for nearly three decades now.
Wilson vividly recalls seeing a newspaper ad in 1994 for a job at Bermex. He jokes and says, “Yes, back when we had newspapers. Times have changed, there was no Indeed.com or anything like that back then.” He decided to apply for the opening — along with several other jobs along the way.
When the hiring manager at Bermex called to tell him the good news, he remembers thinking, “Aw man, I didn’t want them to call me first.” Going on 28 years later and Wilson is still here!
When a person sticks around for so long, there are certain practices and people that stick with them.
When he starts to look back through the company’s history, Wilson often thinks to himself, “Wow, I was around for Roger. I met Roger!” Roger, as in Roger Kaltz — one of the founding members of Bermex.
He talks fondly about former company presidents, including George Funds, Henry Mellow, and now CEO Mike Weidner and president Kenny Murphy. Wilson appreciates how each one has made an effort to visit their operations and seemed genuinely interested in each employee.
One name that sticks out to Wilson is Elona Rucker — a longtime Bermex employee. Wilson estimates that she had been with the company for more than 40 years at the time ACRT Services acquired Bermex based on information from old newsletters.
He describes a Mary Tyler Moore-like moment that’s ingrained in his memory. “She was a sweetheart. Elona was Bermex. There’s a picture of me turning the lights off and walking out the door when we closed Forth Worth. We always said that would be Elona. She was always the last one out,” says Wilson.
Since Rucker was based at the Bermex home office in Michigan, Wilson went years before actually meeting the Bermex legend. He finally had the pleasure of putting a face to Rucker’s voice and describes the moment as “it was almost like seeing an actor!”
There’s nothing Wilson appreciates more than the people who surround him. From company get-togethers to mentoring handfuls of employees over the years, the people are what makes the job for Wilson.
He shares, “More than one time I’ve heard that I was the best boss. I don’t know what their other bosses have been like, and I didn’t think I was doing anything special. I just treat them like real people. What we do is not an easy job — it’s very demanding as far as being outside in the elements and so on.”
Wilson recalls a specific encounter with an employee who was a little apprehensive to leave the company. “I had a guy who was moving on to a career that was his field of study and he felt bad leaving, (and here I was excited for him). He told me, “I grew up with you and you gave me a chance to do this.’ He got a little teary-eyed. That’s validating.”
When Michael Wilson started as a meter reader in 1994, it didn’t take him long before climbing the ladder, thanks to his work ethic. He took over operations based in Fort Worth, Texas in 1999 and ran it as if the business was his own.
“We go out there and take care of business. Bermex and [me] are the same. The work we do reflects not only me, but it also reflects the company as a whole,” says Wilson.
He notes, “The thing I’ve said from the very beginning to what I tell these guys now is, we signed a contract and this is what we said we’d do for them. That’s what it comes down to. We need to do an excellent job at that.”
Wilson also has a soft spot for supporting new hires. “There aren’t many jobs that you step in and hit the ground running as a seasoned meter reader. My job is to nurture these people and be there for them from the very beginning. It’s all about seeing their face as they progress. When things start to click, they get excited.”
Michael Wilson likes to joke around when people ask why he’s stuck around Bermex for so long.
“I tell them, people have done crimes, gone to prison for 25 years, and got out and I’m still here,” he laughs.
But in all seriousness, Wilson says it’s a combination of things, including the satisfaction of getting the job done.
“Whatever I’m doing, I want to be the best — period. I run each operation as if it were Michael’s Meter Reading. My job is to make everybody else look good.”
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