DON’T TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT. It would be easy for us to tell you what life is like at VSI and why you would love being a part of our family, but we thought it would be better to let some our people tell you for themselves.
I started my career at VSI as a college intern in July of 2013. I needed elective credits and the opportunity for professional development pulled me in. VSI immediately put me to work shadowing every position in our distribution operation: Receiving, Customer Service, Returns, Picking, Accounting and even “ride alongs” with Outside Sales. I eventually settled in Purchasing, working in data entry for three months to satisfy my Economics elective credit requirements.
When I completed my internship for college credit, I thought my time at VSI was over. I still had a year left of school and needed to focus on graduation. That’s when the Purchasing Manager approached me about a permanent position at VSI. She allowed me to continue working part time as a clerk while I finished college. Upon graduation, I was offered a fulltime job as a Purchasing Agent in June of 2014.
As of July 2017, I am the Purchasing Manager of the Dealer Division at VSI. I would not be in this position or even working for this company if it wasn’t for the encouraging people who decided to invest in a naïve junior in college. VSI believed in me and invested the time and resources to develop me as a member of a dynamic and professional team. As a member of the VSI team, I take pride in “working like an owner” of our business. I embody that mindset because each of us is an owner of the VSI company. I believe in VSI just like they believed in me. I work hard to deliver the same quality of work and interest in our customers as my team members do. I am grateful to VSI and am blessed to be part of this family.
Grant Garcia - Dealer Purchasing Manager
I have always had a passion for people and helping them achieve their goals and dreams. That is one part of why I was attracted to Human Resources. I began my career in HR in 2011 after getting my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Oregon in 2009. I then went on to receive my Masters in HR Management while working full time in 2013. I left a very grueling and demanding retail corporate HR environment in January 2017 and when I interviewed at VSI that February I knew that the smaller family atmosphere was where I wanted to call home.
VSI has given me the opportunity to grow and spread my wings in so many facets of human resources. A big contributor to that growth is my manager, Traci Winters (Corporate HR Director). She learned my strengths, my areas of improvement/growth, and my passions. She took that information and gave me projects that let me shine, push me to my limits, and ultimately grow my experience. I would have to say my biggest accomplishment is that Traci encouraged, helped, and pushed me to take my SHRM-CP certification exam in 2019. I was so proud when I passed that I cried and immediately shared the news with my team.
I feel that I embody all of the VSI Core Values, but I am most aligned with Seeks to Learn and Gain Knowledge and working One Team United!
Tori Paige - HR Business Partner
I began my journey with VSI in 2001 in the warehouse completing inventory for the Purchasing Department. I was encouraged to apply to VSI through a family friend who worked for VSI, he spoke so highly of his employment with VSI that I had to give it a shot.
Through the past 18 years, I have been motivated to remain at VSI due to the family culture that is in the Riverside branch. The family and friendships that I have built here at VSI are very important to me.
The VSI value that I relate to and that I feel I demonstrate the most is “One Team United”. Everyone at VSI cares about each other and wants each other to succeed. “We will all go the extra mile to make sure that we all are a success”.
The largest enjoyment I experience in my operations position is seeing everyone come together. The Riverside branch has come so far over the last 18 years since I have begun working here and I am excited to see everyone’s successes continue to grow.
The most surprising thing about working at VSI has been the professional growth I have experienced. I began in the warehouse in 2001 counting inventory, was then promoted into the Purchasing department where I became a buyer and now in 2019, I am part of the Operations department as the Riverside branch Operations Manager.
VSI is a great company to work for and I am excited to see the changes to come in the next few years.
Becky Alessandri, Operations Manager, Riverside Branch
My sister-in-law had worked here at VSI while she was in college and with her, I had spent some time around VSI, as well as fed cattle for Brad in college. When I interviewed for a position in Purchasing, the manager at the time that I interviewed with I really liked and wanted to work for her.
The VSI core value that I relate to the most is One Team United. I feel it is important every employee feels they have a voice. It’s not that we are trying to prevent information from being filtered down, but it doesn’t always get from point A to point B. I make this a priority for me as a manager to make sure information is communicated to my team.
I love the people I work with. We have such an incredible team and it is easy to care about what I am doing because I care about them. I am looking forward to continuing to grow my role. We have a lot of exciting things happening!
Kjer Kizer - Regional Customer Service Manager
I have always been an animal lover, especially exotics. I worked at a chain pet store (PetSmart) for over a year. I then worked at an exotic pet store for over three years and volunteered at a reptile breeding facility for a while. I have owned and cared for quite a few exotic pets, including reptiles, mammals, and fish. I met a supervisor that was a customer at the pet store, and he suggested I apply after my manager at the pet store was hired on at VSI.
I really enjoy my role as Warehouse Manager as it provides me with daily challenges and obstacles that continue to improve my abilities as a communicator, decision-maker, and referee. I have a pleasant demeanor that has always helped me throughout my career at VSI. I find dealing with people easy and enjoyable. The various personalities and unique co-workers keep VSI interesting and gratifying.
I honestly did not think that I would be here this long. VSI was supposed to be a few years for me while I went to school. I really fell in love with Inventory Control and just stuck around. The biggest challenge has been just balancing the workload with the staffing and dealing with personalities. I have very little trouble getting along with people, so that aspect isn’t usually too difficult depending on the person. Staffing has traditionally been an issue, but I truly believe that we have a great team in place now in all departments.
Working at VSI has vastly honed my interpersonal skills and my confidence. I am much more assertive then I was when I first started. The many team members that I have met/worked with over the years have given me a greater understanding of humanity and people in general.
Jason Buckley - Albany Warehouse Manager
As the Corporate HR Director for VSI, my goal is to find the passion in our employees that contribute to our values of serving our customers and employees. We are people centric with a prime focus on our human capital in every department. Together we work as a team to make VSI a great company with strong core values.
I remember my interview with VSI vividly. It was November 2017, with Loyal Burns, Chief Operations Officer. As he spoke about the core values that VSI stood by, I knew this was the place for me. Even with living in downtown Sacramento and driving to Modesto, I didn’t give it a second thought.
I began my HR career over 25yrs ago. I have worked in many industries and markets, but working for VSI is truly the most rewarding, as I see every day the compassion and drive our employees have for what they do and for the customers that we serve.
I earned my bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management in 1999, went on to earn my MBA with Distinction Honors in 2007, continued with my education, and obtained my Masters’ in Organizational Development in 2010. In 2013 I began my PhD in Leadership and am more than thrilled to give this education and my HR work expertise to advancing the values, business directives, and employees at VSI, every day.
VSI is a place where individuals come in at different levels with different skill sets, aspirations and attitudes. While here, they learn what a real business is, learn to think independently, be creative and to push themselves out of their comfort zone. VSI is a company that adds significant value to each employee, and it helps each individual reach her or his highest potential.
Our core values allow us to serve all…we are all VSI customers.
Traci Winters, PHR-CA, SHRM-cp - Corporate Human Resource Director