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Women in Industry – Kara Sotolotto

COMPANY: LiftTruck Parts & Service

TITLE: Manager of Operations

YEARS ON JOB: 8

I technically started my career at LiftTruck Parts & Service in 2011. However, my dad started the company when I was one year old, so I’ve spent literally my entire life around the company and the industry. When I started at the company, I worked in the parts department. I spent a lot of years doing filing. Eventually, I worked in every department of the company. That experience has been a huge advantage in my current role as Manager of Operations because in order to effectively delegate to people, you need to have an intimate understanding of all the small tasks and jobs that are associated with their roles. You need to have knowledge of what the jobs that you’re managing actually entail.

Jack of All Trades

Like a lot of small companies, we wear many hats here. In my role, I’ve got my hands in a little bit of everything. I go through all our bills from suppliers and make sure they’re matching. I do a good portion of invoicing throughout the day. I do the service warranties. I do all our sales quoting. I do a lot of the ordering for sales. And then, when unexpected issues arise, I often address those. So, if there is an issue with our phones or computers, I’m usually the one who handles that. I also run our website and our constant contact account. We’re always trying to find ways to market towards people.

Communication

Having strong communication skills is extremely important. Both internally and with our customers. We opened our doors in 1987 and we’ve had employees who have been with us the entire time. We’re lucky to have such great employees and communication is a big part of keeping those employees. Nobody wants somebody to be telling them what to do all the time when they don’t know what they’re doing. As the industry has changed, for example we’ve gone from paper filing to computer systems to now tablet billing, it’s important to keep lines of communication open not only to let people know you appreciate them but also for people who are doing these jobs to give you the ideas of how you should be running things.

Personal Investment

One of the reasons I’ve been able to be successful is that I have a lot invested in this job and this company. For me it’s my entire life. That’s not to say that people come in and just do their jobs and leave, but this has been my entire life since I was a child. It’s just the drive to want to do it and make everything successful. It comes from the pride I have in the business.

Getting Involved

One thing I’ve been really passionate about is increasing our community outreach. I’ve joined a few young professionals groups in our local area and we’re trying to sponsor more charitable causes and things like that. I think that’s something that has changed a lot in the industry. Not only is it important to give back to the local community but it also helps get our name and brand recognized in the area.