Jessica Schussler is Lion Plumbing’s showroom manager, football fanatic and philanthropist. She spoke with me about her role at Lion Plumbing and what it takes to make it in this industry.
DG: How did you land in the plumbing industry?
JS: Luck! I started working for Lion four years ago as a receptionist answering the phones. And then about two and a half years ago, the owner came to me and said the Showroom Manager was retiring and asked if I wanted to train to take her position. Now I even surprise myself with how far I’ve come.
DG: Lion Plumbing prides itself on teamwork. How has that team atmosphere been cultivated?
JS: All of us here are close with one another. It’s friendly, it’s comfortable and the owners Paul and Chuck have expressed, so all of us know, that we can come to them with anything. Most of the people in our back office have been here for 25+ years, which is pretty rare nowadays for a company that has 35 employees. It’s just like one big family.
DG: Lion Plumbing has certainly grown and evolved over the years from its humble beginnings in 1956. What should young people today know about staying flexible in an ever-evolving world?
JS: I think you just have to be ready for whatever evolution throws at you. Every year we’re getting new technology and new things and you have to be ready to adapt to it. It’s easier with my generation because we came up with the Internet starting and smart phones and now everything is done on tablets – I have customers who come in with their tablets and show me what they want. That couldn’t have been done 15 or even five years ago.
DG: What has been the most challenging aspect of working in this industry?
JS: Learning the “behind-the-scenes” for plumbing. I’m in the showroom, so most of the stuff I deal with is the pretty stuff — the fancy chrome fixtures and what the finished product is going to be. My first week of working in the show room, somebody came in and said ‘you are going to screw up. Just wait until you give someone the wrong valve and you don’t catch it until the tile's up!’ Knock on wood I still haven’t done that. There’s a lot more that’s involved than what’s on the outside.
DG: Would you say that’s your best accomplishment at Lion Plumbing?
DG: Who has been your biggest influence, either professionally and/or personally?
JS: That would have to be Loly Becerra, who was/is my mentor, my predecessor here at Lion, my friend, and a true showroom guru! She literally taught me everything I know, took me under her wing and trained me so that she could retire, and I couldn’t possibly not thank her and acknowledge her for being that person in my life!
DG: What are some of your hobbies/interests when you’re not working?
JS: I am a football girl – go Dolphins! I also volunteer a lot with a youth football and cheerleading program in Ft. Lauderdale. I definitely like to give back to the community and spending time with children. I like to be a mentor to them.
DG: You're quite a football fan, and active on social media. Give us a glimpse at some of the hashtags you throw down on game days?
JS: #finsup #strongertogether
DG: Tell us about your four-legged companion?
JS: The love of my life, my pride and joy – I don’t have children so she gets spoiled like a human child. She’s a golden doodle. Her name is Bailey and she’s the smartest and the sweetest.
DG: And finally, what advice would you give to a twenty-something just starting out in this industry?
JS: Be patient. It’s a lot of information to learn and it’s constantly changing. Basically, if you’re willing to put in the time and the effort, you’ll see it’s a great industry to be in — and it’s not just a job, but a career.
Visit www.lionplumbing.com for more information.