Here at Lockaway Storage, we know our success is due to our wonderful team. The care they give our renters is unparalleled and we want to highlight their milestones along the way. Below is an interview with Shawnee, Kansas team member Tom Cox who is celebrating his 5-year anniversary with SPMI this week. All interviews are performed by Peter Soto.
Peter: Hey Tom, thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to speak with me. I’ve been told it’s going to be your 5 year anniversary. Is that right?
Tom: Yeah, crazy! Just in a couple days.
Peter: Would you mind telling me a little about how you got into the self storage industry?
Tom: Yeah, I actually started working for one of our vendors, Red Nova Labs, which manages our website and does some marketing services for us and I actually got to know the company, because I worked with our CEO, Don Clauson, to sell the initial product that we use. I actually started as the account manager for Strat Property Management and after about a year I left that company and Don offered me a job internally to come work for the company full time.
Peter: That’s great. What was it like going from the vendor side to the operator side?
Tom: It was nice. It’s a lot calmer dealing with one client full time than it was dealing with, like, 20 clients full time. So that’s really fun and you just get to learn so much about the operations side. Things that as a vendor that’s hyper-specific to a certain area of the company, you just don’t learn a lot about websites, about revenue management, about operations, about what it’s like to be day-to-day as a manager. I just really enjoyed learning and seeing the whole picture.
Peter: Something that I’ve heard with Lockaway, and it sounds like you have experienced the same thing, is that you get exposed to a lot of different facets of the self storage industry, but you’re also given a lot of ownership over your role. Have you found that to be the case with your role at Strat?
Tom: Absolutely. It’s without question that Don and Randy have really just trusted me to drive my area forward in a way that is so rare in any company. It’s one of those things that makes you want to work harder and fight harder for the company everyday when you realize how much trust and faith they put in you. You really make sure you want to succeed for them.
Peter: That’s great. So, you have a life outside of work. Who are you when you aren’t Tom Cox, Vice President of Marketing and Technology?
Tom: I am also a Kansas State Representative. Recently elected. I spend part of my year in Topeka, Kansas, at the Capitol legislating. That is the biggest other part of my life by far. Ever since I first paged in the Capitol , where you go up there for a day and, kind of, run errands for people when I was 12 I have wanted to be a state legislator. I’ve always wanted to serve in the Kansas State House of Representatives and its something I thought I’d try to do 10, 20 years down the road, not now, but the opportunity came up and it is the most amazing thing to be able to serve my community in this capacity.
Peter: Kansas City is where you live. Correct?
Tom: Technically Shawnee, Kansas, in the Kansas City Metro. On the Kansas side.
Peter: What’s your favorite thing about living in Shawnee, Kansas?
Tom: The people and the culture. I just love that in this part of the United States everyone is so friendly and genuine. It’s very refreshing. You can go anywhere and people genuinely ask how you are and they’re curious and they wait to hear your answer and they remember the next time you come in and they say, “Oh, you know, how’s so and so?” That’s a hard thing to beat anywhere you go. It’s easy to feel at home here, which it is home. Plus the erratic weather. I really like the erratic weather. Keeps things interesting.
Peter: Oh, yeah, what’s the expression, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes?”
Tom: Yep, haha, sounds like you’ve been here before.
Peter: I’ve taken a few trips, haha. What’s your favorite thing to do in the Kansas City metro area?
Tom: The sports community up here is fantastic. We’ve got the Kansas City Royals, the Kansas City Chiefs, Sporting Kansas City soccer team, we’ve got the KU Jayhawks basketball team around here too. It’s a sports city, so there are always amazing events, amazing fans. Even if our teams are losing, our fans are still packing stadiums and just having a blast. Additionally, this will probably ruffle the feathers of my Texas friends, but we have the best barbecue in the world. We really do. I’ve been to a lot of places and other places have great barbecue. It’s just that Kansas City has the best. It’s easy to come up here just to do barbecue tours just to hit up some of the famous places around here.
Peter: What is your favorite place in KC for barbecue?
Tom: Jack Stack for sure.
Peter: Would you like to give a shout out to anyone at the company?
Tom: You know, I’m going to give a shout out to everyone. I appreciate the support that everyone provides, that we are just one big team and none of the success the company has could be possible without all of the people that are making it possible. We’re a well oiled machine with many cogs and if any of those cogs left it would really hurt the machine process. It’s so hard to pick specific people out, because it’s a truly amazing honor to be part of a team where so many people love what they are doing and are so dedicated to this company and the job they perform. You just don’t see this other places and it makes me excited to be a part of it. Shout out to everybody!