How Alumnus, Robert, Climbed the RGV Career Ladder
SCI: So you’ve been out for a few years and able to work your way up the RGV career ladder. Wonderful! Tell me a little bit about what was happening in your life back when you were making a decision to make a change and attend a program?
R: Actually I really didn’t have an idea [of what I wanted to do], I was just trying to get into the medical field. Now the reason is, I was taking care of my dad at the time, before he passed away. So that kinda interested me in the medical field, and I wanted to go ask him about the program. So that’s what got me into school that’s how I got into the program.
SCI: Wow, nothing like having something happen close to home to make you realize your values and your passions as they apply to your RGV career ambitions. So now you’re a general supervisor?
R: Yes, a general supervisor of operations.
SCI: Tell me about your journey at CSL Plasma. Did you come in as a general supervisor and how long have you been with the company.
R: I’ve been with the company 2 years–it’s going to be my third year. I actually started as a part-timer here.
I started out at the very bottom.
My position was a donor support technician which basically was someone who set up the machines, or disconnect our donors, monitor donors, stuff like that. I was doing the minimal stuff.
SCI: What do you think it was about your experience there and what you did to help you get to the place where you are now?
R: Well for one I needed a full-time job. I made the decision to leave my full-time job for this part-time job. When I got there I had already set my goals which basically would help me out a lot–setting goals. In a year I wanted to be in a supervisory position. So, what I started doing is working hard, if they needed me to stay, I would stay later, come in earlier, stuff like that. Anything that management asked me to do, I usually did it. And they saw that I actually worked–
I pushed myself. I wasn’t limiting, I was thinking outside the box. That’s what helped me move up real quick.
Any opportunity they gave me, I take full advantage of it and it helped me out a lot. SCI: You really put the work in and it seemed like they took notice.
R: Yeah, and that’s exactly what I did.
SCI: So what does your day-to-day look like?
R: It depends on which shift I’m taking, ‘cause we do three shifts–we have a morning, mid, and afternoon shift. It just really depends on where I come in. If I come in the morning, I usually have to run reports, we have to deal with the donors directly, we have to notify the department of health if anything comes up for any of the donors. Any donations going through CSL, we test them. They send us a report, if anything comes up positive, we report it to the Department of Health. Any equipment that we need to send out, we receive supplies. Basically just managing and making sure that we’re operating sufficiently here at the center.
SCI: I did some research on CSL Plasma, it seems like they’re one of the world’s largest collectors of plasma?
R: Yes, we’re actually opening up like 25 centers per year or something like that.
SCI: Wow. Are you still in the Brownsville branch? R: Yes, I still am, they kind of don’t want to get rid of me, haha. They do send me out. Last year I was traveling with the company, they had me opening centers and helping out centers.
SCI: How do you feel that going through Southern Careers Institute has helped you in getting the position that you’re in now?
R: Well, it taught me a lot of things. It helped me open up a door that without SCI, I would have never had it opened.
I never would have had that opportunity to jump into this industry without SCI.
So I am really grateful for that. I really wasn’t planning to take up my medical career because of the money, you know, I was struggling a little bit. But with the help of Southern Careers Institute and [career] services, you guys got me this job. And from there I just kept going, and I’ll be three years here in October.
SCI: That’s so wonderful. The SCI Brownsville campus is really connected to the community and they’re really passionate about their jobs. If you’re making an RGV career transition, they’re one of the top places to do it. What is your favorite part of your job?
R: Helping out.
Anytime I can help someone else, I help them out.
I think that’s another reason why I’ve been moving up so quick too, because I help out. If I don’t have the answer, I’ll help you get the answer. Sometimes I’ll jump into production and help out people in production. That’s the way I am. I’m very proactive. Usually I don’t like staying in the office all day. So I’m usually around helping our donors, helping the employees. That’s my favorite part.
SCI: Sometimes that means not saying, “This isn’t my job,” but just jumping into whatever needs to get done. That’s such a great attribute to have and that’s what we always remind our students as well. What advice would you have for future students at SCI?
R: Just work hard. And if an opportunity arises, take full advantage.
Show them that you want to be there. Show them that you want to progress, that you don’t want to stay in the same spot. Through hard work and dedication, you will be blessed with a lot of things. That’s my advice–that you need to work hard–things aren’t given to you.
SCI: I hear CSL Plasma hires other SCI grads as well–is that true?
R: Yes, we have–I’m not sure how many but yes we have!