Faces of the Industry: Veronica Vasquez
Faces of the Industry: Veronica Vasquez
Plant Manager • UFP Industries • San Antonio, TX
How’d you get into this industry?
I ended up in the truss industry by luck, accident, or a complete blessing, depending on how you look at it.
Left to right: Zach McAuley (Regional Vice President, UFP Industries), Jim Hill (Plant Manager, UFP Kyle, LLC), Veronica Vasquez (Plant Manager, UFP San Antonio, LLC), and Mike Mizell (Regional GMO, UFP Industries)
I began working at UFP Industries really just to sustain myself. I looked for a company that provided benefits and applied at a plant where a friend of mine was working. I first started in the company’s treating plant as a sales coordinator. I eventually wanted a bigger challenge but didn’t really know what that might be. After several years of learning about lumber in general, I was given the opportunity to move into a truss plant. I eventually became the plant’s production manager and then was promoted to plant manager in 2019.
I never envisioned that UFP would turn out to be a place that I would quickly adapt to and that I would want to call “home” for the long haul. I had been in real estate for about 10 years prior, and was part of a small remodeling business, so homes and the idea of someone’s “American dream” was already something that was important to me.
I have worked in and learned about many aspects of our business, from customer service and data entry, to truss design and manufacturing. We are blessed to have had a booming economy, which has given the people in this industry some wonderful opportunities for a great career. Whether you are a builder, truck driver, sawyer, or forklift driver, anyone that has the drive to work hard and make a difference can have success in this industry.
What’s your favorite part about being in this industry?
The people I get to work with in every capacity. From the leaders that I have the privilege of working with daily, to those who I may have worked with for a short period of time, everyone has played a role in the opportunities that I have been given. Everyone has had something to teach me, and I’ve already received an education that will last the rest of my life.
For me to learn more, I work hard to listen to others, which has made an impact on our day-to-day operations. I work at being conscientious about others’ needs and teaching them anything that I have learned so we all can grow together and create a cohesive workplace. I enjoy encouraging others to vocalize their ideas, and I try to implement those ideas to create positive changes for the betterment of our plant and the end user of our products. I do this by listening to everyone’s ideas, and then collaborating with the right people and departments to try and implement a new concept. Without empowering people, our processes will never advance. We would not have their input, their expertise, their vision for improvement.
What challenges do you see for the industry in the future, and what should SBCA be working on now to meet those challenges?
Labor is a daily challenge. We frequently must work within a small pool of individuals who may not necessarily have the characteristics needed to work effectively in this environment. Some employees understand hard work and completing a job with integrity, but as a newer generation is coming into the workforce, they bring a different mindset about work. We need to be able to do the same work with less strain on the body, so we stress the importance of ergonomics in our plant.
One area the industry can focus on is looking at how to make automation more affordable to the typical truss operation and finding new growth opportunities, so that the status quo does not hinder us from achieving greater levels of efficiency.
What is your company, market, or SBCA chapter focused on right now?
We are really focused on strengthening relationships. We work very diligently on relationships with our customers, our vendors, and our employees. Our relationships with our customers are crucial in order to stay on top of market issues, to understand their product as much as we understand ours, and to have a clear understanding of each other’s expectations.
We focus on the well-being of our employees, as they are as important to us as our families. We believe the more they understand the industry and our market, the more successful we all will be.
When you’re not thinking about trusses, what keeps you busy?
When I am not working, I try to enjoy the outdoors. I enjoy being at the beach or anywhere near water. I enjoy silence and catching up on the news. I also enjoy my Bible study and the friendships that have been formed through that. I also am one that has always believed I can do anything, so I am always tinkering with small to very large home projects. Whether it’s painting, installing tile, or working on plumbing, I know that I am no expert, but I would rather try and fail than never try at all!