Behind the Gasket: Meet Elfrida McClain

Spec Rubber has been in business since 1968 – one year before we landed men on the moon – and throughout our journey, we’ve been blessed with employees who have been a loyal and ever-present part of our family.

Without dedicated employees, we wouldn’t be where we are today. One employee, in particular, has been with Spec Rubber for over 45 years, and we want to draw special attention to this amazingly committed pillar of our company: Elfrida McClain.

Meet Elfrida: Providing Stellar Service for Over 4 Decades

When Elfrida joined Spec Rubber as a front-line production teammate in the 1970s, times were different in almost every possible way.

The industry had just witnessed a fundamental advance in the decade before – the creation of ethylene propylene terpolymer rubber (EPDM), a key ingredient in today’s mol

ded rubber products that offer superior heat, light, and ozone resistance compared to other forms of rubber in common use at the time.

Domestic demand for rubber was also on the rise, which was one primary reason behind the creation of Spec Rubber.

But competing as a new company at a time when more suppliers were hitting the market – including from overseas – was only possible with a steady, reliable, and responsible workforce. 

Elfrida represented an invaluable asset to the company: a homegrown worker who knew that the products she helped create would serve the community in which she lived.

She initially began as a part-time worker in the cutting department. It was (and remains) hard work, but Elfrida didn’t shirk from it. In fact, she threw herself into her craft, learning as much as she could. That kind of diligence and effort stood out to management, who thought she could be an even more valuable asset to the Spec Rubber family.

As a result, the company gave Elfrida every chance to learn about all the jobs under the Spec Rubber roof, and Elfrida took it. It was only a short time before she became a supervisor and, from there, a Production Manager. Her years of putting her hands on every part of our process gave her the insight she needed to do a great job, but she would’ve only gotten that far with the perseverance and dedication that has become her calling card.

Elfrida’s Principles of Success and Lessons Learned

Elfrida reached her current position in no small part thanks to her philosophy – and Spec Rubber’s – that supervisors should be on the floor, rubbing elbows with their teammates, instead of “holed up in their offices,” as she likes to say.

Communication is critical, and the supervisor needs to have an ear to the ground. Being on the floor is the best way to keep lines of communication open – especially in an industrial environment.

Elfrida also believes in teammate retention. “You don’t keep teammates for decades if you don’t take care of them and give the folks who want to learn opportunities to advance,” she says. That principle has led her to stick around for over 45 years: giving teammates every opportunity to reach their fullest potential.

Another essential principle – not just for managing and retaining teammates, but keeping customers happy – is believing in always keeping your promises. When we say we will deliver something, we will do everything possible to fulfill that promise. If something unexpected happens, we communicate immediately with our customers and teammates so no one has to be in the dark.

“Most folks in our industry aren’t used to that kind of service,” Elfrida says, “and it makes me proud that we take care of folks like that.”

Finally, understanding the importance of American manufacturing and supplying American jobs is vital. “When a customer calls, they get someone right here in Alabaster, Alabama, who understands their job and can provide the information they need,” says Elfrida. That local connection – having a provider who understands you because they live in your community – is why Spec Rubber and teammates like Elfrida have been so successful over the decades.

Here’s To Another 45 Years

Elfrida has helped make American-made gaskets and other rubber products for over 45 years – and we’d love to have her around for another 45.

She’s a sterling example of how much impact a loyal and energetic person can make on a company, its workers, and its customers.

With people like Elfrida, Spec Rubber exists. Her commitment is legendary; her attention to others is exemplary. We’re thankful for Elfrida McClain, and if you become a customer, we’re confident you’ll be grateful for her, too.

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