Cardinal Shift Supervisor Runs for Town Commissioner
September 2, 2011

By Sahely Mukerji

Billy Hendrix is used to being on the “hot end” in his job as shift supervisor at Cardinal Glass in Mooresville, N.C. Now he’s looking to take on the “hot seat” in his run for Ward 2 commissioner in Mooresville.

Hendrix started at the Mooresville plant as an hourly employee and was promoted to supervisor pretty early in his career, says Matt Messmer, production manager. “He’s done pretty much all the jobs in the production end,” he says. “He’s in charge of six employees in the ‘hot end.’” The plant melts 600 tons of glass a day, that’s 10 miles of glass a day, 12 feet wide, he says.

Hendrix’s schedule at Cardinal has allowed him to spend time outside of work, helping his community, Messmer says. He has 12-hour shifts. “We have four shifts covering 24/7,” he says. “Billy works a ‘2-2-3 schedule,’ [meaning] one week he works three shifts, and the next week four shifts, [or] 36 hours one week and 48 hours the next week.” There’s lots of time-off, because the employees work 12-hour days, he says. “A lot of our employees have second jobs, because of the work schedule,” he says.

“So, right now his running for commissioner is not interfering with his job,” Messmer says. “I don’t know what a commissioner’s job entails, but I’m sure he knows what it’ll take, and that he should be able to work it out.”

USGNN.com™ talked to Hendrix about his current job and the community role that he’s looking to fill.

USGNN: Tell me about yourself and your career in the glass and glazing industry.

BH: I’m married almost 14 years, father of three, one boy (9) and two girls (6 and 3). I graduated from Brevard College in the North Carolina mountains with a couple of associate degrees. I graduated from Life College, Marietta, Ga., with a BBA in Management. I was there on a full golf scholarship. I moved to Mooresville, N.C., in 2000.

I’ve been working at the Mooresville float glass facility for Cardinal Glass Industries for 11 years. My glass career has been 100-percent Cardinal and I can’t imagine a better place to work.

USGNN: What do you do at Cardinal?

BH: I am a shift supervisor for our B shift. I directly supervise the “hot end” and the “quality control” departments. Our management team does a great job of overlapping all departments and staying on top of potential problems. The technicians are more or less self-policing and do an outstanding job making our jobs pretty easy, most of the time.

USGNN: What makes you a good candidate for the position?

BH: I’m service oriented. I enjoy helping people. I like open-ended discussion and debate. I’m also vested in the community and I want to see it continue to succeed.

USGNN: What are the top three things that you’d do, related to the industry, if you were elected?

BH: I’m not sure there is much more I could do at this time. I’m primarily concerned with the Mooresville area. Cardinal already has a good foothold, as well as good relationships with the town and our customers. I can’t think of anything that I could directly do to help the industry.

USGNN: Given the economy, how is the glass industry doing in North Carolina?

BH: It’s been rough on everyone. It seemed like there was a light at the end of the tunnel, but it wasn’t the end of the tunnel. I think our facility and managers have done an extraordinary job keeping everyone working. I’m personally very proud of how we handled the last few years of uncertainty. I think it is everyone’s hope that if we can weather another year or so, things will turn and we’ll reach the actual end of the tunnel.

USGNN: What does the glass industry need to do in order to do well in this economy?

BH: I think it is the same for any industry right now. You’ve got to do more with less. Keep your employees happy and confident. Work with your customers to try and help them get through their rough spots. Budgets, margins, and bottom lines, right?

USGNN: Who inspires you?

BH: Hmm, inspiration can come in so many forms. I’m inspired by my failures, to always learn from them and to be better. I’m inspired by my successes, to try and be better next time. My father inspires me; we always had everything we needed. More than anything, my family inspires me. Giving up is not an option when someone else is depending on you, perseverance can make average people great.

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