Cheri Conners discovered Sentry Equipment the old-fashioned way, through a classified ad in the newspaper. Thirty-five years later, there is nowhere she’d rather work.
When she applied to Sentry Equipment, she worked at a bank. But, Cheri wanted a more challenging job where she could hone her accounting skills. After she interviewed with former owner Mary Henszey, she knew she’d found the right place. “I felt that Mary valued her people and relationships,” remembers Cheri.
Cheri is the longest-serving Sentry employee, hired only a few months before Sentry’s Vice President of Human Resources, Sherri McDermott. Through the years, Cheri held several positions before moving into her current role within Accounts Payable. She manages expense reimbursements for Sentry’s employee-owners, reconciles credit card accounts, sends commission checks to sales reps, accepts and pays invoices, and initiates wire transfers.
“Every day is different, and each hiccup or challenge allows me a new opportunity to learn and grow,” she says. “My job allows for variety, and I love that it is always changing. I even appreciate the problem-solving challenges that come with it. I wouldn’t want the same old same, old each day.”
Three things she’d take on a deserted island: “My husband, music, and a good bottle of wine.”
What does she do when she’s not working? “I love to garden and be outdoors biking or hiking. I also love hanging out with our granddaughter.”
If she could do or be anything else, what would it be? “I would own a greenhouse.”
Taking Pride In Employee Ownership
Over her three-decade career with Sentry Equipment, Cheri has seen many changes and growth in the company. Most notably, she experienced the company’s transition to an employee-owned structure where our employee-owners share in an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which means we share the benefits of our hard work, positive results, and continual improvement and innovation.
Sentry Equipment is entirely employee-owned because we believe that employee ownership makes a difference.
“Each employee-owner takes pride in their work and the impact they make on each other,” she explains. “The company values their employee-owners and allows them the flexibility to be a parent and grandparent.”
She’s also seen a move toward more family-friendly work policies that promote work-life balance for all employee-owners. “Sentry Equipment has always been forward-thinking, and I’m excited to see the advancements we’ve made. This includes remote work, changes toward a relaxed dress code, and flexibility for parents,” she says.
To Cheri, one of the most significant benefits of working for an employee-owned company is access to resources that allow every employee-owner to succeed. “Sentry Equipment is so supportive of its employees. They provide the tools, education reimbursement, and technology for employees to improve personally and professionally.”
For new employee-owners, she suggests they take advantage of these opportunities to grow and learn. This could include joining the company’s ownership impact collective, sitting on the continuous improvement committee, shepherding large company initiatives, and contributing to internal news videos.
While Cheri enjoys working with facts and figures, she feels her job often allows her to go beyond the numbers. “I love numbers and accounting. But I also appreciate the autonomy and openness I have with my boss and team. I appreciate how my job is more than a paycheck and provides a cultural value that lets me explore my interests inside and outside of work,” she says.
Employee-Owner Profile is a regular feature that highlights members of our team. As an employee-owned company, Sentry Equipment believes that employee ownership makes a difference. Our employee-owners are dedicated to hard work, positive results, and continual improvement and innovation to provide our customers the highest quality products and services.