Jorge Gustavo Carrion came to the United States in 1993. He grew up in Ecuador, but due to political turmoil, many Ecuadorians had trouble finding employment. At that time, Jorge, his mother, and his sisters decided the next best thing was to move to New York. He began working at John F. Kennedy Airport for a food service company but one day, saw a news broadcast showing that Iowa had lots of job openings available. In 2001, he and his family made another decision to relocate – this time to Iowa.
Now 78 years old and a valued teammate within ALPLA, Jorge still enjoys coming to work. Unlike most who choose to retire at 65, the economy and Jorge’s youthfulness at this age were factors in his decision to remain at ALPLA. To date, he is known and loved by his entire ALPLA Iowa family and truly embodies what it means to be an ALPLA pioneer.
Here’s just a small glimpse of his life with the company.
Jorge, do you mind telling me how you started working with ALPLA?
I started as a temporary talent through a local agency called Cambridge. In 2007, my supervisor at the time, Wade Riley, recommended I come to work for ALPLA full time. I have been with the company for 15 years and a little over four months now working as a Packaging Operator, and I really like to show new employees the ropes.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities and how have you been able to adapt to life at ALPLA?
Some of my day-to-day responsibilities are inspecting bottles on the line, making boxes, running the MVPs, and wrapping pallets. I’m about to turn 79, so I know how to do my daily rotations on the shift, but I also like being part of a team and potentially making an impact. My work ethic consists of liking what I do every day, then coming to work and doing my best at my job. In all my experience, my values or ethics haven’t changed. I interact with the people on my shift and like to help new people when they need it. When I started, I was still figuring out my life in America, and I’ve proven that diversity, my cultural background, and my age have not been a barrier, especially among my team. I think that no matter where you are at in life, diversity and having diverse people on your team can be a good influence.
Wow, so what is it that motivates you to continue working for the company?
I am motivated because this is a good company to work for, and ALPLA Iowa City is still giving me an opportunity to work and be on the job. Another thing that motivates me is my shift – like I said previously, I like the people I work with and just helping where I can, especially with new people.
How would you say life in Ecuador has influenced you and is there anything you learned from your past experiences that you think about often?
Some of the difficulties I faced in my life was when I was a young man in Ecuador – the government being bad, having a hard time getting work ... this inspired me to come to the US, to learn something different from this country. Those experiences gave me courage to know I can overcome any challenge, and what I discovered about life is: not to be nosey, to be a good team member, and to have honesty (which I learned from my mother). To this day, I think about these things, and I know what needs to be done and where I need to go. I have also learned to interact with others and how to do the job that’s required of me.
Now that you’ve been living and working in Iowa for some time, can you share what you really love about ALPLA Iowa City?
I have liked everything about ALPLA from the beginning to the end. I feel cared for by the company and I love the Holiday Parties!
Get to Know Jorge: 5 Fun Facts
- Words of Wisdom/Motto You Live by – Honesty is something I’ve learned from my mother and be fair to everyone
- Favorite Snack – Sancocho, a food from Ecuador (a traditional soup or stew with meat and vegetables).
- BBQ or Cheeseburgers – BBQ
- Beer or Wine – I like wine but will drink beer sometimes
- Favorite Memory – My favorite memories are growing up in Ecuador and playing soccer and volleyball with three people. I also enjoyed boxing.
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