Our Spotlight on Super series highlights the SRC team members who help keep SRC a great a place to work and grow. For this installment, we sat down with Phan Chap, a 26-year SRC employee who currently holds the title of Senior Supervisor at SRC’s Richmond division.
Q: First off, where are you from, Phan? Where’s home?
PC: I grew up in Botetourt County, just outside of Roanoke, Virginia. My family is originally from Cambodia. We had to leave the country to escape the fighting that was going on there, and eventually made it to the Philippines. And there was a church in Daleville, Virginia in Botetourt County and they saw a picture of my family and I at a refugee camp in the Philippines and they decided to sponsor us and move us to the United States. And because I was young, they wanted me to pick up English quickly so I could go to school, and I guess I learned it a little too well because now I can’t speak a lick of Khmer. But Botetourt is home. I love it there and I miss it. I had a lot of good friends and really enjoyed living there.
Q: How did you come to work at SRC? How’d you find out about the company?
PC: Well, I had been working as a colorist at a textile plant in town. I would match certain colors to different fabrics for customers – I’d match all the shades and pantones and all that. After I had been there for about 3 or 4 years, I knew the company was getting ready to shut down. They were laying people off and keeping certain people, and I just happened to be one of the people they kept. But a friend of mine who did get laid off took a job at SRC and told me to come in and apply, and so I did and I've been here since.
Q: What sort of work were you doing here when you first joined the company?
PC: When I first started, I was working on the production floor in the expansion area. I worked mostly with our hydro expander. I had never done work like that before, and it’s funny, I got trained by my buddy who got laid off and came to SRC from the textile company. But the work was simple enough – squaring coils and reading drawings and making sure the expander was set to the proper pressure based on tube wall thickness, things like that.
Q: You’ve spent the majority of your time at SRC in the brazing department, right? Tell me a little about how you transitioned into that work.
PC: So, I was working night shift in the expanding area and one day our shop supervisor came to me and said, “you want to learn how to braze?” I said “yeah, sure.” So, he gave me a torch and some brazing rod and I pretty much just taught myself from there. And I thought, “oh okay, this is fun!” And I actually had a knack for it. I’m a natural pyromaniac, so I took to it quickly and got pretty good over time.
I look at it this way: if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it the best that you can. And that’s what I set my mind to. I wanted to be the best brazer that we had. And even later on when I eventually went into a brazing supervisor role, I missed brazing. I don’t do it as much nowadays, but it’s something I really love doing. It’s persistence and practice – that’s all it is, and I really enjoyed learning the details and getting good at it.
Q: Then, after you worked for a while as a brazer, you pivoted to a job that was quite different, right? Tell me about that.
PC: Well, back then we didn’t really have much of an IT department, and the company realized we needed someone to do that sort of work. And I was actually going to school for computer science at the time, and so when the IT position was posted, I applied and they hired me to do IT at the facility. But me switching roles like that wasn’t necessarily a new concept. We were much smaller then than we are now, and I’d help out with purchasing and drafting when they needed me, so taking the IT job was kind of just an extension of that. But honestly, I didn’t really like it.
So, when a brazing position opened back up in the shop, I jumped on it. Then, from there, I worked my way up to a lead position, then to a supervisor, and I’ve been a supervisor for I don’t know how many years. And they recently just changed my title to Senior Supervisor at the beginning of the year, so I’m a rookie at that.
Q: You’ve got a ton of experience with the company and have held several roles, so you’re a great candidate for this question – what’s something that you would want a job applicant at SRC to know about working here?
PC: This is a place where there’s always the opportunity to grow. If you put your work in, we’ll notice you and you’ll get what you deserve. Like with me – I never asked for a promotion or anything, the company just saw that I was someone who worked hard and they believed in me. Working here is a great opportunity – even if you’re coming in with little to no experience, we’ll train you and teach you the things you need to be successful. And hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
Q: What about when you’re not working? What are some things you like to do in your free time?
PC: When I'm not working, I like to play golf, fish, that sort of thing, although I'm not good at either one. I also like working gardening, working around the house and cooking.
If you’d like to know more about working at SRC, be sure to stop by our Careers Homepage to learn more about who we are, what we make, and where we work. And stop by our job listings page to see our open positions. Manufacturing experience is preferred, but not required. If you’ve got a positive attitude and a good work ethic, we’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading.