The Team Player: CJ Powell

 If you ever get the chance to meet Camarrow “CJ” Powell, Jr., take it. His jovial nature is infectious. This welder keeps his team on task and in good spirits: invaluable qualities we appreciate and respect here at Steffes. Not only that, he’s one heck of a welder. And lucky for us, he chose to apply his talents at Steffes’ newest manufacturing facility in Shelby, North Carolina.

CJ refined his welding abilities at Tulsa Welding School in Jacksonville, Florida, and applied them in different jobs in the manufacturing industry back home in North Carolina. He acquired new skills along the way, including the operation of a CNC machine and press brake.

When CJ heard about the new business coming to Shelby, he knew he had to jump on the opportunity. “I decided to work for Steffes because I heard great things about the company,” he said. “They care for their employees and encourage them to have a voice.” CJ signed on in January 2023, bringing a wealth of knowledge and skills to the team.

“I’m excited to see the company grow to be one of the most popular places to work in this area.”

CJ starts his days bright and early, clocking in at 4 a.m. First, he checks on the welding robots. Then, he prepares his team’s workspace, pulling parts and tools they will need for the day’s operations, before diving into his own welding assignments.

The team’s output continues to increase, thanks in part to the completion of CJ’s latest project: redesigning their workspace to accommodate an additional welding robot. “It was one hundred percent a challenge, but we had a great group of employees that tackled it together and got it done right,” CJ said. This is the aspect of his job he most enjoys: collaboration. CJ is truly a team player and a humble one, at that. “I simply do my part,” he said.

“It is all one big team effort. No person is greater than the next.”

CJ’s attitude has not gone unnoticed, as the leadership team in Shelby recently selected him to become a core trainer. When a new employee is hired onto his team, CJ will show them the ropes firsthand.

Dallas Taylor, production lead at Steffes’ headquarters in Dickinson, North Dakota, has traveled to the Shelby facility several times this year and helped choose CJ for the role. “CJ is the number one guy in Shelby that creates a positive and fun work atmosphere,” he said. “Anyone working with or around him is enjoying their day. It is one of the main things I look forward to when I visit.”

Aside from work, CJ spends much of his free time with his family, who live about 10 minutes down the road. He will soon be spending even more time with his little brother, Kenaz, as he was recently hired as a paint line operator at Steffes.

You might also find CJ at the Shadyside Dragway, a local racetrack where he races radio-controlled cars – a hobby his friends pulled him into. He recently began building one of his own. And, if the weather is clear, CJ is gone fishing.