As seen in the Tried & True Summer 2023 issue
Going on a dozen years of faithful service, Stephen Cole has learned an incredible amount and uses that knowledge to pour right back into Fratco. June 2nd marks his 12th anniversary.
Starting out as a single guy working in the yard getting customers loaded, Stephen feels like Fratco has been there every step of his growth. He is married with two children and now carries the title of Plant Manager at the St. Anne, Illinois location. Stephen humbly accepted the position never thinking he would make it that far up in the company.
The most interesting part about working at Fratco for Stephen is sustainability. He thinks the entire production process is fascinating. He loves that Fratco can grind up pipe and reuse it in another product. This makes Fratco a zero waste facility. Stephen is really excited about all the new channels and markets that Fratco is diving into as they continue to grow. In his role as Plant Manager, he has to keep an open mind and be ready for changes and adjustments as they come.
St. Anne, Illinois, Stephen’s location, was one of the largest and oldest manufacturers for clay drainage tile in the United States. For Fratco to be there as a leader during the conversion from clay to plastic makes Stephen really proud. Right in his backyard there has been a large impact on this industry.
Beyond the progress and innovation, Stephen boasts about the excellent product quality and top-notch service. He explained that with a product that is backed by excellent customer service. Fratco is composed of real people. Mistakes may happen, problems may arise, but Fratco always does their best to make it right–they work collectively to resolve the issue, satisfy the customer and prevent it from happening again.
Working at Fratco means you have a family away from home. Stephen says that he has strong relationships with everyone Fratco employs, and he has built family-like relationships with local drivers and customers. It all begins with trust. Stephen explains that in order for anyone he works with to trust and respect him, he must build a foundation by showing them trust and respect, too. That trust is built over time and is solidified by showing up with compassion and quality.