Pile of Scrap Ep. 41: Sierra's Young Guns
The service technicians over at Sierra bring a new light to the term, “Young Guns” as they sit with John Sacco to talk all about how this industry has transformed them from “boys to men” seeing as their maturity levels have grown over the years. Ricardo Diaz, Angel Mariscal, and Arturo Madrigal (Jr.) together discuss the common mistakes all the way to the impressive attributes they see at their customers’ yards, the importance of having smart, young and talented individuals in the industry, and their experiences on the job.
Watch this episode on YouTube here.
Ricardo Diaz, Angel Mariscal, and Arturo Madrigal (Jr.), and John Sacco
Intro: The following is an original audio series from Sierra International Machinery: Pile of Scrap with your host John Sacco.
John Sacco: All right. Well, hello, hello, hello, and welcome to another episode of Pile of Scrap. Today I'm joined with what I'm going to call Sierra's Young Guns. Right? Huh?
John: We got Jr, which is Arturo Madrigal Jr.
Arturo Madrigal: Yes.
John: Your dad works here.
Arturo: Yes, he does.
John: We're going to talk about that. Angel Mariscal.
Angel Mariscal: Yes, sir.
John: Did I pronounce that right?
John: I knew I did, but… Ricardo Diaz.
Ricardo Diaz: Yep. Simple.
John: You are. You're the simple one, but you are a pain sometimes. But, you know, this is great. You know, one of the things about the podcast is… And we bring forth through the recycling industry, we bring a lot of different people, but I think you guys as young – I mean the oldest one here… You're 32. You're 32, you’re 32. And, you're in the twenties. I think people in our industry and people who listen to this need to know that young people – actually there's opportunity being working in the recycling facility itself or, for that matter, at Sierra and our equipment company. How would you – what would you respond to that? You know, you started – what did you do when you first started here?
Arturo: I started coming in and just part-time cleaning parts. I'd just come in and sweep and then dust off parts. And then, from there, they asked if I wanted to pull parts for sales orders. Uh, so I said, “Yeah.” And then just, um, learn the parts and then just kind of, uh, moved onto the office and started taking sales orders, taking parts calls. And, so it just kind of went that route.
John: And, now you’re a technician.
Arturo: Yes, yeah.
John: That's a big evolution. How many years is that now?
Arturo: I’ve been here for about 14 years.
John: You've been here that long?
John: I'm sorry. But, see? That’s – think about that. And, this is part of the point of this topic is young people don't realize – they may drive by recycling facility… It's dirty… Or equipment. It's like, ‘Ugh,’ but there's opportunity. You've grown here. Have you not?
John: That's awesome. That's a great story. What about you? You first came in… Tell me your – a little bit of your journey here.
Angel: So, I started off in the shipping department. I started off there, pretty much watching the parts from when they come in, unloading them to loading them up and sending them off to the customers. Um, I learned that real well. And then, they asked me, like, “Hey, would you like to travel?” So, you know, so you can understand –
John: Yeah, but you quit on me at one point! You thought you had another job somewhere else. You pissed me off when you left, man.
Angel: I know, I know. Uh…
John: But, you came back and I, and I, and I stopped… You know, here's – this is a lesson because as upset as I was because I wanted to invest in you at that time, I saw the op–I saw, really, your ability and I knew with your personality, you would do something with yourself and then you up and left. And I'm like… That upset me. But, here's the lesson. When I was approached about you returning to Sierra, I asked myself… Instead of being upset with you, I realized, “Hey, wait a minute. Sometimes in life, you don't know what you have until it's gone.” And, the fact that you had enough courage to come back here speaks volumes to me. And, since you're came back, you've – you have rocketed up in your – have you not?
Angel: Yeah. Oh, yeah.
John: Because you came back with a whole new vigor to do something.
Angel: Yeah. Yeah. I would definitely – I mean, a lot has to do with, you know, big – maturity is a big part of it, you know? And, like I said, once I started traveling, it was kind of like, “Okay, you…” You know, they wanna – “You gotta understand – You ship the parts, but you gotta understand where they go to, what part of the machine it goes to.” And, I never understood that. Being in shipping, you just see the parts go out. But, going on the road, Antonio, one of the best, he, you know, he said, “Hey, I want you to go on the road and, you know, see where these parts physically go. You're shipping them. You should know where they go.” So, it was a big part of learning. And then, obviously they asked me, “Hey, we like your personality. We want you to take parts calls now and understand them, speak to customers and get to know them.” And now, you talk to a customer and sometimes they just ask just for you – for that certain person, they feel that –
John: Feels good, doesn’t it?
Angel: Oh, yeah. They ask for just you.
John: Now you see why I was so upset. I saw this in you and you up and left on me. And I'm like…. But, you know what? That's awesome. But see, back to the opportunity again, where you thought you were going and what you came back here, there's different… This is not a normal industry.
Ricardo: It’s not.
John: You have an interesting story because you went from being a marble countertop lab–or whatever to a Tier 1 Technician.
Ricardo: Yeah, I wasn't even looking for a job.
John: You didn't want to work here.
Ricardo: But, my dad and I were doing Jose Pereyra’s kitchen. And, that's when he brought it up. He's like, “Hey, are you looking for a job?” I'm like, “No, not really,” I'm like, “What do you have?” And, like, “Well, you can fly. You can do this. You can do that.” And, I'm like, “Yeah.” You know, I’m younger at the time. I wasn't – I didn’t have any commitments. I'm like, “Yeah, that sounds good.” And, um, Gracie – she takes all the credit, of course.
John: Hey, don't mess with Graciela.
Ricardo: She’s like, “Yeah, I'm going to – I'm going to make sure he brings you in.” And, she did. Um, so then I got introduced to the receiving side of things. They're like, “Oh, you'll be here for about three months. And then we'll start getting you out.” It was more like two weeks later, I go to Jesup was my first trip. And, of course, that's when the big ol’ warehouse… And, I'm looking at these overhead cranes and I met Emory and a couple of the other guys out there. I'm like, “Okay, this is…” It was all new. It was all new. Um, I went all out. I went to, like, I think Walmart or something, like just bought so much groceries. And, like, it was just too much. I'm like, “What am I doing with all this food?” I was just excited. I was… Yeah.
John: Do you – do your friends have trouble understanding what it is you guys do?
Arturo: Friends and family.
John: Is that right? Okay. You, first. What is it that you – they can't comprehend? What, what… Tell me about that a little bit, I'm curious.
Arturo: Well, just like when I, say, how you go to – when I got my house, they ask, “So, what do you do?” I said, “Well, I'm a service tech,” “For who?” “For Sierra International,” “Well, who’s that?” “Well, we work in the scrap processing and we, uh, sell shears and service the shears,” “Oh, I've never heard of them,” “Well, you know what? It's a pretty big industry.” So, yeah. It just kind of, yeah, it's just kind of hard to explain to people, and then you try telling them, “Oh, it's: you do a lot of electrical, hydraulic…” “Oh, that sounds like fun,” like “Yeah, it's fun. Yeah.”
John: What about you? What are your friends say to you?
Angel: It's just – what's crazy is, they think of Sierra as just the recycling center because everybody drives through here, you know? They drive through here, they don't understand that it's not just the recycling center and most people that, you know, that come in here and recycle, from my family and friends, they see the machines and like, “That big machine. That's a cool machine,” Like, “Yeah, that's what we do. We install those big machines wherever they get sold to – whoever buys them, you know, anywhere, really in the world, you can put a shear on there or a baler, we're going to be there.” And, they have a tough time understanding ‘cause they, you know, they see you go for, you know, 10 days. And, uh, and they're like, “Well, where's Angel at?” “Oh, he's on the road installing a machine,” “What does he do?” “That's a recycling machine.” “Oh, so it’s just…” They think as just, like, bulldozers and stuff like that. It's like, “No, this machine compresses stuff, crushes… The easiest way to tell someone, you know, the type of shears is: it crushes cars. And then they understand the magnitude of what that machine is.
John: Right on. What about you?
Ricardo: And, just kind of like both of them. Um, try to explain what you do.
John: Does your wife understand what you do?
John: Okay. She got it. I like your wife. She's cool.
Ricardo: Yeah. And then, she follows the page, so she gets to see exactly what the equipment looks like, what it does. So, that's really helpful. Um, but I kinda like to mess with people sometimes. I'll be like, “Oh, I'm a secret agent.” As far as I can tell…
John: Secret Agent Diaz on reporting for duty. Well, so again… I'm going to go back to this point. And, I think what people who hear this podcast and watch this podcast have to understand, a lot of people don't realize that this industry needs people your age, okay? Because this industry is a highly technical industry. There's multimillion dollars of equipment in every operation around the World. And, you've got to have smart, young, talented people working for you. And, I think most people your age would never know. So, I think the word needs to get out and I'm hoping people will see this podcast. We'll show it to people say, “Hey, look, you know, is there opportunity for a career? There's real careers here at Sierra – real good paying jobs. And, as there is an in this industry all over the United States and all over North America.” And so, I think that's a fascinating thing. So, you know, I wanted to discuss that because I think that's what's important. Our industry needs youth to go into the next levels – next generation. And without it, this industry is going to be in trouble. And, this is an industry that's a green industry. You know, I like to say, I say this every podcast, we are the original environmentalists. Without our industry, where do all these recyclables go? Landfills. You guys ever drive to a landfill to dump things off?
John: Do you really? I don't. What's that like going to a landfill and seeing all that stuff? Do you sometimes go up there and go, “That should be recycled, or that…”
Angel: Smells, I mean, it's…
John: But do you see materials that you think, “Hey, our baler does that?”
Arturo: Oh, yeah. Well, they have, uh, a scrap pile at the landfill in town.
Ricardo: But, everything's recyclable. Everything. Even trash is recyclable.
John: Well, you can burn it too. We don't do that out here in California, but let's move on. All right. So, you're out there and you're – but what's the best lesson that you've learned about life in this job and in your travels? Go with you, first.
Ricardo: I mean, I've grown as a man here. Like, I went from a boy to a man. I can say that just because of what I've learned, what I've experienced. Um…
John: Give me one lesson. The first thing that comes to your head.
Ricardo: I think just attention to detail. Um, just be pri–proudful of what I do. Just take pride in everything I do.
John: We call it “The Sierra Way.” Just do it right.
John: That's it. Nothing fancy. As shorty would say, “There's nothing fancy, none of that geedunk.” But, you're right. Good. What about you? What's your best lesson that you learned here?
Angel: Uh, I think I've built my, I guess, maturity level and just hard working. It's something that you take pride in, you know? You see, you get to a job and you're like, “Okay, it's going to be a long 10 days,” but, you know, you see the process of it happening and you're like… You just… You take pride in what you do. You carry yourself confidently once you see that machine put it together ‘cause, I mean, people see the parts coming in and they get scared of like, “Oh my God, they're going to be here for a long time.” And it's like, once you see it together and running, you just take pride in that.
John: Feels good, huh?
Angel: And be able to say that, like, we did that as a team, we were able to do that.
John: That's cool.
Arturo: I think value, um… Whenever we're on the road, we’re gone for 10 days. So, whenever we come back home and value family time. Um, so I try to, um, cherish those moments with my family as much as I can. And then, two: I appreciate what's here – what’s done for me because they've been through the ups and downs with me. They've, I guess, they’ve been a good company with me. And so, that's one thing that I do, uh,
John: Well value, you know, we are a family business and we like to try to incorporate family. And, you know, it's almost cliche, but I think you guys and your storytelling… That's who we are. It's what we are. And, there's so many of our style of businesses out there. You run across that all the time out there, don't you? Yeah. That's, um, all right. Let's talk about something that I think people can hear when they watch this and listen to this podcast. What is the biggest mistake in maintenance of machines that you have seen? We'll start with you.
Arturo: Not greasing their machine. Um, I think that should be done before every shift or after every shift because that just leads to downtime, on broken pins, broken bushings. And so, um, we had the airfreight pins and bushings, and that is very costly. So, I mean, that's something that can be done in 15, 20 minutes.
John: And do you reiterate that to the customer on your installs nowadays?
Arturo: Yes, I do.
John: Good. And, and the people you talk to, are they now listening to you because you tell them why what happens?
John: That's awesome. What about you? What's the one thing you see that just absolutely drives you nuts? The mistake people make in their maintenance.
Angel: I mean, with the pins is a big one. Also, the filters. You know, your oil changes. Stay consistent on maintaining the oil in those because not only do your pins go, you know, you don't grease them, you can have issues, but with your hydraulic filters, it's prob–it’s just as bad. It's an – it's an expensive fix.
John: Pumps aren’t cheap
Angel: Yeah, pumps aren't cheap. Oil is not cheap. You know, keep that oil clean, all the filters, just like you would on your vehicle at home.
John: Right on, right on. Ricardo.
Ricardo: Just the overall maintenance, um, an air compressor can do a lot for you from blowing out sensors to blowing out your radiator. It just…
John: So, in other words, you think the biggest mistake is some people aren't provided the simple tool for maintenance.
Ricardo: Yeah. A hundred dollar compressor, you know, it does a lot. So much just keeping the radiator clean, just blowing out all your sensors because that can create other issues –throwing off the automatic cycle. And now, you're like, “What's happening?” It's just as simple as a little piece of debris in front of a sensor that did it.
John: You know, so that's, you know, you said something… Sometimes, it's so simple and sometimes it's not, uh, uh, you know, just not, just not out there. All right, I'm going to go with you on this one. Best thing you saw, best idea of anything from processing, maintenance or layout in a yard that you've seen that you really liked?
Angel: At a yard I've seen? Uh, I think it was the 1100 in, uh, Soup City.
Angel: Um, the way they had it laid out to where they had the conveyor system for all the metal. So, it would just fall and they just had a nice and organized, just simple.
John: So, it’s the organization of the yard that really…
Angel: Not trying to do too much. It was just… You know, bringing the material here, feed it, cut it, next. It’s ready.
John: Best thing you've seen that really impressed you?
Ricardo: It's just a lot.
John: Come on.
Ricardo: I can't really think of one right now, but, um, just kinda like Angel saying… Just when something's organized, it just… It makes it a lot easier to work around. Um, you just –you're more happy, we're comfortable. You can just lay on something and not worry about getting full of grease and oils. It's just, there's companies that just have their machine just clean and they are always maintaining it. It's just, it's just good to have a clean machine. Even if it's used. There's been machines where they're five, six years old and you got to change a pusher block, um, or whatever you got to do. And, it's just nice to know that it's clean. You can go in there. Yeah, you're going to get dusty, maybe a little oily, but that is fine.
Ricardo: That's fine.
Arturo: I think that, uh, 1500 in Fontana, ‘cause they have that belt, so it just takes away the material and then they have their container loaded right next to them. So, it just makes the whole process of shearing to loading a lot easier.
John: So, it’s laid out right? Organization.
John: What do you want people to know about you? Ricardo? People are gonna know – So, they're gonna know – they're gonna, one day, pick up the phone. They're going to want to talk to you. What do you want people to know about you, Ricardo?
Ricardo: I'm going to try my hardest to please the customer. Um, whether it's in my knowledge or in my power, or if I have to ask someone else for help, either coworkers or management, um, just that they know that we're going to try as hard as we can to be successful in helping them. And if, for whatever reason, it's not happening, just to know that we are working on it and they are our priority and we're not just sitting there waiting for just whatever to happen. We're actually working. And sometimes we have to depend on other companies or other people. So we're trying to push them as far as we can so we can get our parts or whatever it is. So, just our dedication to customers.
John: Tell the people listening: What do they need to know about you, Angel. Tell them something we need to know about you.
Angel: Man. That that's of…
John: Nah, come on, man. You gotta be more creative.
Angel: You know, at Sierra…
John: No, I'm talking about you. You, personally. Tell us how something about you that people need to know about Angel. What is it about you?
Angel: I enjoy what I do.
John: That’s awesome. You know, see, there's no real correct answer, guys. What I want you guys to know is ,the beautiful thing is that when they call you and – you're enjoying yourself because you – you like what you do.
John: Because you like what you do.
John: That's awesome. Jr. What are they – people need to know about you? Besides you have the worst beard I've ever seen.
Arturo: I think that, um, uh, people need to know that I'm not trying to fill in Antonio’s shoes, but I'm trying my best to learn as much as I can while he's still working here.
Arturo: Uh, so every day I get to pick his brain. So, I'm trying.
John: Does anybody got a nickname for Antonio?
Angel: A.T. Maybe.
Arturo: Mr. Perfect.
Ricardo: The man.
John: The man.
Ricardo: Never strikes out
John: Yeah, Antonio. He's definitely – I figured you guys would have “The Professor” or something like that. I mean, to me, I've – he would've been an MIT graduate like his son if he wasn't an immigrant to this country, you know. If he would've been like his son –second generation, he would've been an MIT graduate himself. He's very smart. He's a good guy. Um, what do you want people to know about Sierra? And you can't answer it the same. We'll go with you first.
Angel: As a company, you know, us as we're not just coworkers, you know. Sierra is a huge family. We hang out outside of work. This is my uncle. So, it's like… Sierra has a lot of…
John: Is that real?
Ricardo: His dad is my cousin.
Angel: Yeah. We're family. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn't be here.
John: Is that right? I did not know that.
Ricardo: He gives me 5% of every paycheck. Since, uh, February, 2012. So going on…
John: Nine years.
Ricardo: Nine years.
John: Wow. So, what are the people need to know about Sierra?
Arturo: I think that we're not just going to sell you the equipment. We're going to stay there with you. Um, until that – ‘cause when it breaks down hopefully 20, 30 years from now. So, we're always gonna be by your side.
John: Yeah, that's awesome. Ricardo.
Ricardo: This is a family-owned business and you know it because just the relationship we have with you, uh, the relationship we have with each other. It's just… There's nothing wrong with working for a big corporate company, but working for a small family, it's just – it's awesome. It's personal, you know. I can relate to you. You can relate to me. So.
John: Yeah, you know, it is – people have talked to me, who've seen my posts and seen the podcast, and I think, “Wow, I didn't know you did that,” or, you know, all that. It's just so hard, but the recycling industry – it's a needed industry. You know, this industry supplies, as you know, the raw materials for critical manufacturing, for steel mills, for paper mills and for foundries for copper and aluminum, you know, creating medical supplies, knee braces, aluminum, you know, the ventilator, you don't have any recycled parts or in a Villa. You know, we talk about the packaging, food packaging for the markets, you know, during this pandemic… Uh, it's been crazy. What's the farthest place you've traveled?
Ricardo: Let me see. Either Argentina or Australia. I think Australia is probably the farthest.
John: Oh, you went to Argentina.
John: Okay. Different worlds…
Ricardo: Oh, yeah.
John: Talk to me.
Ricardo: It's, in a way, it's kind of like Mexico, you know. It's like the tradition is there. Um, sometimes you think you're there just based on the structures and the people, but it's such a different world. It's just the people, um, the way they talk, it's just…
John: Do you have hard time understanding their Spanish?
Ricardo: Oh, yeah.
John: Is that right? That's funny.
Ricardo: Their words are just completely different, their accent…
John: How about in Australia? How about the English in Australia now? That's a different one.
Ricardo: That was a whole different world. Um, but there are a lot easier to understand then our brothers down South.
John: Is that right?
Ricardo: Yeah. It's just that deeper accent in Australia… “Mate,” you know.
John: You do that pretty good.
Ricardo: You do that pretty good.
John: Well, alright, mate. Yeah. Well, how about you angel? Where's the farthest place you've been to?
Angel: Honestly, it'd probably be Florida or New York, really
John: Different worlds, Florida and New York, aren't they?
Angel: Oh, yeah. That's like night and day out there.
John: Yeah. It's different. What about you? Where are you?
Arturo: South America? No, I have not. I've only been – the furthest back East is New Hampshire or New Hampshire.
John: New Hampshire. What'd you do there? 556?
Arturo: No, it's a – it's a 550LS.
John: Okay, you did 550LS. So, you haven't been South of the border. You haven’t been to Mexico installs. You're pretty much tied into here nowadays. Huh?
Arturo: Yeah, yeah.
John: We need to get him out there a little bit more. Right? You want to travel more or not? Or do you like it being here more? Come on and be honest.
Arturo: I do like it just being here and also I get to help Antonio, so…
John: Do you guys get – ‘cause I do. ‘Cause, you know, I've traveled a lot over the years since I started this thing. And, when in 1995, the first year I was married, I was on the road 29 out of the 52 weeks. Okay? So, I've been there, I've done everything you guys have done. But, do you miss it? Do you find yourself like getting antsy that you need to get out there?
John: ‘Cause yeah. ‘cause I do. Like, right now, I'm leaving the week after next. I'm going for a whole week and I'm just thrilled that I'm going to go out there. You know, this pandemic has shut things down for me, but uh, you know what? It –I can't wait. I can't wait to get out there again because I enjoy it. I don't – I'll get tired of it after a while. But, then when you don't do it, you kind of miss it.
Ricardo: Yeah. It’s just nice to see, you know, different people, different terrain, snow, rain, beautiful mountains, rivers. ‘Cause here, you know, we're just kind of used to home and this is all we have. So, it's nice to go home.
John: What's the – what's the coolest – okay. You're talking about terrain and all that. What was the coolest place you've been to that you thought, wow, this is pretty cool.
Ricardo: Niagara Falls.
Ricardo: Breathtaking. So, you've been?
John: Oh, yes I have.
Ricardo: Yes. On the Canada side. So, they have a better view. I don't know…
John: Well I – I got on the boat and did the Lady of the Mist or whatever her name is.
Ricardo: It's unbelievable… Just how much water's flowing. It's just, I mean, I can tell you, but until you're there, it's just – it's just amazing.
John: What about you, Angel?
Angel: I think it'd be the drive. And, I did this one recently. I drove to Arizona – Page, Arizona. And, I was, I was able to drive pretty much – I went, I guess I went the long way. So, I went through Vegas and Utah and Arizona and it kind of was up and down, but just seeing the mountains… I've never been in Arizona. So, being out there, like, the mountains or…
John: Seeing the real cactus.
Angel: Yeah, it's crazy. But, also went into Utah a little bit and it was just bouncing around. So, yeah, it was…
John: I think you did take the long way there. You didn't use the GPS on your phone?
Angel: What GPS?
John: Wouldn’t work. No setup. What about you?
Arturo: Uh, I got to say the whole Twin Tower Memorial in New York. I got to see that when I was out in Brooklyn.
John: Oh, is that right?
Arturo: Yeah, I got to see that. So, that was pretty, pretty cool. Sad, but it was a good thing to see. Yeah.
John: Now you guys jealous that Memo did the install in The Bahamas on that S5000?
Angel: He can enjoy that one.
John: I love the Bahamas. Well, listen guys, you know, this is great. I, you know, I thank you guys for coming in and being part of this team. And, I think your story is important to be heard because youth is important, dedication, which all three of you have, is clearly evident, I know that. And uh, and I think the people there this know that, you know, Sierra just, isn't a brochure. You know, we're not just a post on, um, social media. We're a team. There's a lot of people that are part of Sierra. And, I think it's fun having what I call you guys the Young Guns because you guys are young and your future is so brilliant. And, we're gonna, you know, we're growing. We got a lot of things to do, but you know, all three of you are growing, personally. And, I’ve seen it and I – and it's fun. And, I think it's a good message. It's a positive message. And, and like anything else, I think we have a positive story and I want to share that. I want people to know more – there's more to share than all these little things that when they get to see and hear from all you people that “Wow, you know, I know that guy, I talked to that guy. Well, that guy has done my installer. Yeah. I called Jr. Yeah, Ricardo's done my insight. You know, they've done it.” But, now they get to see a little more of you outside of the workplace. And I think it's great. I think it's important. So, I want to thank all you guys for being here. So now we're going to end it because you know what to say? I hope you know what to say. This has been another episode of:
All: Pile of Scrap.
John: There you go. Thanks guys.
Conclusion: This has been a Sierra International Machinery original audio series. Thanks for listening. Please share this podcast and make sure to subscribe.