At the North American headquarters of Uponor in Apple Valley, Denise McCofferty strolls through the halls with a sly smile on her face as she delivers mail and restocks supplies.
As office services clerk, she has developed a reputation for her keen sense of humor and sharp wit – but also as a valuable asset.
“She has done all different types of tasks and excels at all of them,” said co-worker Janet Haidar. “She is a very fast learner.”
McCofferty was brought on board as demand for Uponor’s core products have continued to soar, leaving some employees with too much on their plate.
“We identified a whole group of activities that could be put into one job and then we looked to Lifeworks to find the person who might be interested in that,” said Dan Hughes, who serves as Uponor’s director of real estate, security, and environmental health and safety. “We thought that Denise was the best match and that’s proven to be a good decision.”
Finding the right path
Before the job offer at Uponor materialized, McCofferty was a participant in Lifeworks Small Group Career Development, an intensive program that prepares job seekers for their ideal career in the community.
“There’s a little program called eTrac and that helps you find a job you want, interview for it, follow up from the interview, and so I got a lot of important information from it,” McCofferty said.
McCofferty and her fellow job seekers gained exposure to different career paths, identified their strengths and interests, and created a personal employment plan in the St. Paul-based program run by Lifeworks staff member Leah Simmons.
“She encouraged us to find a job that we want, not just that we have to have,” McCofferty said. “I liked office work, so I got to know different things that I liked about office jobs.”
An immediate impact
McCofferty’s interest and expertise in office work has allowed her to make a smooth transition to Uponor. In her first few months on the job, she’s made a
noticeable impact on the business and her co-workers.
“Denise does some really important stuff around here,” Hughes said. “There’s certain things that have to happen every day to make the wheels turn. People have to get mail; people have to have supplies; invoices have to be sent out. It’s very obvious if she’s not here. A lot of important things don’t get done.”
Compared to her previous jobs, including an office position at Xcel Energy, McCofferty said she enjoys the confidence that Uponor places in her.
“I’m more on my own in this job,” McCofferty said. “I know basically what to do. They trust me to do a good job and I try to give them my best.”
As the first person supported by Lifeworks to be hired directly by Uponor, McCofferty has set the bar high for any future associates who join the team.
“Denise is very diligent and very dedicated to the things she needs to get done,” Hughes said.
Goals for the future
McCofferty’s success and willingness to learn have prompted Uponor to consider adding additional Lifeworks associates to help them meet growing demand.
“We’re looking at another opportunity,” Hughes said. “A couple people came in and shadowed a job recently.”
As she continues to settle into her role, McCofferty said she won’t just rely on her current knowledge – she wants to improve her skills and set challenging goals, including learning to use the Uponor email system.
So far, she has honed her email skills by using a Gmail account and sending messages to her Lifeworks job coach, Amanda Swanson.
“Have you heard the word technophobe? That’s what I am,” McCofferty said. “But I’m going to learn. I can learn. I can do it.”