At OMS, we have built a culture that values people. We truly appreciate our team members who invest their time and talents toward the success of our organization, and we celebrate individuals who pursue their passions beyond our business doors.
As an example, we are shining a light on one of our long-term employees in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Roger Blakesley. Roger’s career with OMS has been positively transformative over his 32 years of service, and his personal business venture has turned out to be just as bright.
“I have had many different jobs prior to working here,” remarked Blakesley. “Once I found manufacturing, it felt like I was home.”
Roger began his career with OMS working in general labor for the Cedar Falls plant in 1990 (formerly Iowa Laser Technology). He spent his first five years in the plant cleaning and deburring parts, and he learned how to operate hydraulic press brake machines. Roger’s skill on the production floor and his desire to take on more responsibilities, paved the way for him to grow within the company. His next step moved him from the shop floor to the sales/estimating team.
“I consider myself to be driven and self-motivated, always wanting to do and learn more.”
In his sales role, Roger developed relationships with key OMS customers. It wasn’t long before his knowledge of material and labor costs, along with his first-hand experience of shop floor operations created the perfect segue for Roger’s next position. By 2010, he was promoted to the role of sales manager, leading his department, and growing the OMS business in Cedar Falls.
It was about this time that Roger was motivated to create a small business of his own. Leaning on his experience in the metals industry, he turned to his family for inspiration. He combined the artistic talents of his wife and daughter with his own fabrication know-how and developed a decorative landscape fixture. Artwork from his family was used as a design template that was laser-cut into metal tubing. Each 4” steel tube was powder coated inside and out to withstand weathering, and stakes were laser-cut into the bottom of the tube to hold it securely in the ground. Finally, solar lights were added to illuminate the cut metal designs which ranged from delightful botanicals to sports team mascots.
By April 2010 YEP lights (Yard Engineered Products LLC) had its first sale. The company has blossomed ever since. “It has truly been an amazing ride,” said Roger. “I’m proud that my family pursued this little adventure. Working for OMS brought it full circle, and their support of our little business has meant a lot to me. I don’t know that I would be happier working any place else.”
Over the next twelve years, Roger’s professional career continued to grow. His experience in multiple aspects of our metal fabrication business led to even more opportunities, including roles as Enterprise account manager, applications engineer, project manager, and continuous improvement manager. In 2017, Roger was promoted to materials manager for OMS, a position he still holds today.
“My career transformed many times and gave me a chance to learn and develop new skills. It has been a fantastic experience, and it still is. My work with OMS has been amazing.”
After 32 years and counting, Roger’s success-driven character made a lasting impact on both our business and on his own. His example of professional development, agility, and longevity in the workplace isn’t something you hear about every day, which is why we at OMS wanted to share it. Add to that Roger Blakesley’s personal success, and you have a light that truly shines.