Kyle Ratliff, General Manager for Infra-Metals Virginia, has been with the company since May of 2000, where he began his career as a Sales Representative in, what was the first Mid-West location for Infra-Metals, a former facility in East Chicago, IN. After a few short years in Indiana, Infra-Metals opened a brand new green field facility in the summer of 2002 in Marseilles, IL where a portion of the team migrated to operate. Kyle soon became the product manager for the division’s plate products in 2004. In addition to his sales duties, he was also responsible for purchasing and forecasting of the plate inventory and keeping the sales team informed on the product line. “It enlightened me and afforded me a sense of stewardship of inventory which gave me a broader view of the business beyond sales.”
Kyle remained in these roles for the next 10+ years when the opportunity for growth came knocking. A position for Sales Manager in the Petersburg, VA location became available and Kyle jumped at the opportunity for his next career move.
Career Growth at Infra-Metals
In July of 2013, Kyle, along with his wife and two kids, made the move to Virginia. This was his first experience with managing people. “Managing people gave me experience with the most important component of any company, the human capital.” Kyle was tasked with managing 9 direct reports which set the stage for where he would end up years later. He continued his role as a product manager but took on the additional responsibility of buying plate for the Baltimore, MD location as well. This allowed Kyle to leverage some additional buying power and gave him opportunities to collaborate on more projects. Buying for Baltimore also trained him in space allocation for the products due to the limited availability in that warehouse.
Current Day-to-Day of General Manager
In January of 2019, Kyle was promoted to General Manager of the Petersburg operation. The division set a safety goal for one year and ended up far exceeding their expectations. Kyle remarks that keeping safety at the forefront has become a daily task and it takes the entire management to set the tone and reinforce the message. He worked closely with his leadership team to create a trusting environment that promotes an open conversation where employees can report unsafe situations without fearing any scrutiny or discipline.
The Virginia Division recently celebrated 1000 days of safety without an OSHA recordable incident which is no small feat. In past years, 3 or more recordables per year was the norm. To realize such a milestone took a change in mindset and countless hours of encouragement, pre-shift toolbox talks and engagement. “We encourage our employees to self-report on safety issues. It gives them a sense of ownership. The longer the incident free streak remains the more vigilant employees become because nobody wants to be the person responsible for resetting the clock.”
From his early days in sales training, Kyle learned how business flows through the shop and now he oversees the wellbeing of all the personnel that make it possible to run that business.
Kyle mentioned he enjoys trusting and allowing his staff to have the freedom to make the right decisions and celebrate their victories together.
A little know fact about Kyle is that before he made his way to Infra-Metals he worked as a mentor for underprivileged children while trying to decide what he wanted to do for a career. Fitting in as much as he looks to inspire those he works with…
Clemson Superfan, Golf and Bird Hunting
“No job is so important and no service is so urgent that we cannot take time to perform our work safely” – Bell System.