The Sum of Us: Eric - Birmingham Packaging Manager

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For this month’s Sum of Us we visit with Eric Farley, our packaging manager, from our main plant located in Birmingham, Alabama.

We love our people! Each month we love to highlight a stand out employee who represents the spirit of Royal Cup. We have a saying around here, “It’s not the some of us, but the sum of us.” Eric is a fantastic example of how our people are the real difference makers at Royal Cup. Everyone give Eric a big welcome!

Tell us a little about yourself Eric:

My name is Eric, and I am the Packaging Manager at Royal Cup in Birmingham, Alabama. I have been with Royal Cup for 22 years. In my position, I work along side four Production Managers and anywhere from 80 to 90 hourly associates in the Packaging Department. I am responsible for meeting demand, quality, efficiency and safety, just to name a few of my responsibilities.

You have an interesting history with Royal Cup. Tell us a little about it:

My mother Lorene started at Royal Cup in 1986 as a packaging machine operator in the plant. I started coming to the plant shortly after my mother started to work at Royal Cup, when I was around age 11. I thought the coffee and tea plant was the neatest thing. I was fascinated by all the machines, and would stand and watch them make packages. At that time, the top and the bottom flaps of the cases were stapled together with a big staple machine. The operator would fold the flaps and stick the case under a big staple machine. Mash a button with his foot and this would shoot staples through the case to hold the flaps together. There were big stamps that had to be soaked in an ink pad and would be used to stamp code dates and use by dates on the side of the cases. I thought it was very exciting to use the big stamp along with the stapler.

Occasionally, I would watch other associates perform their jobs. Dumping green coffee was very fascinating to me. I also enjoyed lots of free popcorn and drinks that were provided in the break room. I have one brother and two sisters, all whom have worked for Royal Cup along with two of my nephews and other family members.

I started working with Royal Cup in 1993 and worked every evening after school and weekends carrying out garbage, washing flavor and rework bins, sweeping the floors and cleaning out from under packaging material storage racks. After finishing school, I was assigned to the coffee shredder.

Over the past several years, I performed several jobs throughout the plant, such as operating packaging machines, roasting and providing maintenance. After being a team lead in both the roasting and maintenance departments, I moved back to packaging where I found myself working for my mother. Afterwards, I became the packaging team lead that reported to her, and later on I went on to become the second shift manager. I was then assigned to start and manage the plant’s third shift and continued to manage it for two years. After that I became the first shift manager and moved on to my current position as packaging manager.

If you could only drink one Royal Cup coffee or tea for the rest of your life what would it be?

It would be the traditional one ounce filter pack tea.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment is my wife, Regina, of almost 18 years (as of October) and my two kids, Emily and Daniel, who are supportive of me.

What excites you the most about the future here at Royal Cup?

Royal Cup continues to be a privately held company, which is financially strong. Also, the family is currently putting money back into the company for future growth.

What does Royal Cup represent to you?

It represents a great, privately held company that has always balanced the wellbeing of its employees along with the business needs, leading to dedicated employees.

We would like to thank Eric for his time and his valued contributions at Royal Cup! Be sure to read our other employee features at our Sum of Us homepage.