Who doesn’t love a good comeback story? After all, our movies, favorite TV shows and athletic competitions are filled with them.
At CTE Logistics, we like them for a different reason: our team is filled with comeback stories.
When we recently sat down for annual reviews and looked at the tenure of our amazing team, we noticed an interesting phenomenon. Over the years, many of our people have left our CTE family – for a variety of reasons – only to return later with open arms.
We dubbed these as the Comeback Stories. The more we think about how many people have found their way back to CTE, the more we realize how special it is. As of June 2021, six CTE team members have come back, including Rodney Shaw, Chris Bair, Ryan Dougherty, Tommy Corcoran, Milo Davis and Mark Hagens. Throughout the years, more have returned and left again – a concept that is embraced by CTE as long as the person had an awesome work ethic and shared CTE’s values.
“I love when people come back to CTE!” said Vice President Kimm Lytle. “If someone is a great culture fit, leaves and wants to return, we will welcome them back with open arms.”
The latest Comeback-er, Rodney Shaw, left for about a year, and when he returned, Kimm was so thrilled she ran up and gave him a big hug on his first week back.
“I immediately asked him, ‘what can we learn from why you left?’” Kimm said.
We’ve noted four major themes that all of our Comeback Stories have in common:
1. They Missed the Family-Like Atmosphere.
Many organizations claim to feel like family, but at CTE, every team member talks about how the family-friendly vibe is their favorite thing about working here.
Warehouse Lead Rodney Shaw, who left CTE in mid-2020 and returned in mid-2021, said he’s a family man, and “I had to get to a place that respected that.”
Mark Hagens left for a few years and has now been back for two years. He said he couldn’t believe it – when he returned, many of the same people were still here. “I looked for other opportunities and it didn’t seem as family oriented or as fun to work at,” Mark said.
Tommy Corcoran, warehouse supervisor, returned to CTE three years ago after working here for about six years with only four months away. After he left, he realized how much he missed some of his long-time friends. After coming back, he met his now-wife at work. “I’ve always loved this company,” Tommy said. “CTE is big enough to survive and small enough to be family.”
2. They Liked the Flexibility of a Small Business.
Tommy said leaving CTE for a military job before coming back showed him all of the perks and flexibility of working for a smaller, family-owned business. “I learned I don’t want to be just a number,” he recalled.
Two months at a paper mill left Ryan Dougherty missing his work at CTE, where he had previously been for three years. His paper mill job was union-based, and Ryan quickly realized that not all organizations have team members who are willing to teach others and be friendly with one another. It only took him a few months to land back on his feet at CTE.
3. They Could Put Down Roots at CTE.
When Distribution Manager Milo Davis left CTE for a few years, he was braving the elements on a daily basis, working on the tunnel project in Seattle. When President Todd Lytle called him to see if he was interested in coming back, and created a new position for him, Milo immediately envisioned a place where he could work long-term, without having to be constantly outside.
4. They Wanted to Be Part of CTE’s Growth.
Many of CTE’s comeback stories happened because of the enormous growth over the years. With that growth came new job opportunities and a chance for good people to create a niche for themselves on their second round of employment.
This was the case for Warehouse Manager Chris Bair. Originally on the transportation side of the business, Chris had the goal to get into warehousing. But this was 2016 and there wasn’t an opportunity for him. He left, but because CTE was rapidly growing, it only took one month before Chris received a call from Todd, inviting him to come back and run the warehouse. “Even today, there’s more opportunity for the company to grow, and for me to grow,” Chris shared.
Like we said, who doesn’t love a great comeback story? Our CTE comeback stories are a part of the fabric that truly makes our team one of a kind. When we talk about one of our standards, “We are building this together,” it is undeniably made possible by all of the people who have chosen CTE as their long-term work family.