When people start jobs through a temporary employment agency, by definition, they aren’t expecting a long career where they are placed – never mind working up into a supervisory role.
But for Willie Liggins of Allen Park, that's exactly what happened at Wallside Windows.
In May 2013, Willie had had enough of a hard job that was physically wearing him down.
“Every time I left that job, my hands were swollen, my feet were swollen. I went and called a temp service. They said, ‘Have you ever heard of Wallside Windows?’ I was like, ‘What is a Wallside?’ he laughed, remembering that exchange.
“I thought it was about to be strict but it was probably about 10:30 a.m. when my supervisor, said, ‘You don’t have to wear pants and boots.’ So I went home at lunch and changed into shorts.”
That was his first sign that Wallside was going to be a good fit for him. The temp job at the Taylor, Michigan, factory was as a loader. That involved him scanning windows and putting them on a cart. After seven months, he was laid off, only to be called back by the temp agency who said Wallside wanted him again. Within a few months, he became a Wallside employee and full-time loader, a job he held for about three years.
During that time, he’d watch how the checker he worked with did his job. Checkers inspect the product — sashes, glass, frames — put the window sashes inside the frame and slide it down to the loader. Willie said when the checker would walk away, he’d take over the work on a window and eventually got faster. Eventually, he was offered a full-time job as a checker.
While he spent two years as a checker, Willie also cross-trained and learned other jobs on the line, planning for his future.
“I was starting a family. I knew with me learning different things in the company it would give me a better chance for raises and look good for the company. I really like working for Wallside,” he said.
As he cross-trained, Willie learned several jobs, and his hard work and interest in learning all he could at Wallside soon paid off. When the company announced team leader positions as a new step before supervisor, he knew he had to try.
After a successful interview, Willie was offered one of four team leader positions. A six-month trial period followed, when he learned computer programs and more details about windows. Then he was able to interview for an open supervisor position. He won that job — supervisor of the frame line — when company leaders said they liked that he showed initiative.
Now coming up on a year as a supervisor and his 32nd birthday, Willie says it’s been hard work, but that it’s going well.
“It’s a new phase in life. I get to learn different things. When I became a supervisor, I got to take a trip to the glass company that makes our glass. That’s pretty awesome,” he said, adding that he appreciates his good relationship with the owners.
For Willie, the biggest challenge has been having to review the employees who work for him because they’re also friends.
“I know at the end of the day, I’m their boss so I have to separate friendship when it comes to something like this,” he said.
He also likes the example that he’s setting for his kids, a son who just turned 1 and a 9-year-old daughter.
“This is a step I can show my kids. Daddy was working here for this long and became a supervisor. If you hard work you can succeed. To be a young person and become a supervisor… I just wanted to show them if you put your mind to it, you can do it.”