47 Years at Provia

Esta Winkler is Customer Service Team Leader for ProVia

Esta Winkler has worked at ProVia for 47 years and has seen a lot as the company grew and went through many changes. These days it’s quite unusual for someone to spend their entire career at one company, so we asked why she made this choice and how this has worked out for her. Following are a few excerpts from our interview with Esta, who will be celebrating her retirement at the end of this year.

How did you get started at ProVia?

I turned 19 in August of 1968, and in September I was hired to work for Alsco, which was the Sugarcreek facility where we made storm doors and storm windows. I worked in production for 10 years, mostly in the storm door department, and I ended up being a team leader in that department for several years. I really enjoyed working in the plant and making storm doors! Then there was a job opening in the payroll department in the office, so I applied and did that for a couple of years. Then I worked as a shipping clerk for a couple of years and also in the order department. Just all kinds of things, and I enjoyed learning as much as I could, doing different things. At one point they asked if I’d be interested in a newly created position as a customer service manager. I’ve been doing customer service ever since.

Esta with Lonnie Hershberger, Director of Customer Service  

What did they see about you that was a good fit for customer service?

At the time, I knew the product very well. I also enjoyed people. I was very friendly with everybody in the production area and of course in the office. I just obviously loved working with customers and we got along well. I guess I’m a people person!

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Shining Our Light in Romania

Bill Mullet is Founder and CEO of ProVia

By Bill Mullet

Recently 18 ProVia employees traveled to Bacau, Romania to participate in a very special mission – building homes for those in need with the Habitat for Humanity organization. It was a mind-opening and heart-warming experience for all, and here we share some candid stories from this “adventure with a purpose.”

I have a thing for Romania. My relationship with this European country goes way back to 1995-96 when I served there as the Director of a teaching ministry program, and also as the Director of an orphanage. During this time I really did learn to love the Romanian people. They’re very warm and delightful, and we fell in love with them.

Bill Mullet working at the Habitat for Humanity Romania job site.

The Romanian people have lots of needs, and in particular the very poor in the countryside have a huge need for basic housing. Habitat for Humanity Romania targeted a very specific population, the people who have a job and can actually pay for a house but have a difficult time coming up with a down payment that would enable them to improve their housing situation. One of the people receiving a house we built is a night manager at McDonald’s, which is considered a very good job.

Another requirement for the home recipients is they have to personally volunteer their own labor in building the group of homes for that particular project. Each family has to work 1,000 hours, and not just on their own home, they have to work on everyone else’s as well.

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