Spotlight on Sonny Beasley

What department do you work in?

What’s your current position/title?
Operation Manager

Where did you go to school?
I graduated from Troy University, Troy, AL.

How long have you been with G.A. West?
I started at G.A. West on October 28, 2002. I’ve been here 14.5 years.

How has the company changed since you’ve been here?
We have grown from approximately 250 employees to approximately 900 presently, and have modernized in most areas. Change is hard but the company has always sought to be on the cutting edge and I think we are going in the right direction.

Describe your job in 25 words or less.
I love this job, it is rewarding, demanding, interesting, stressful and enjoyable. I love putting people to work.

Tell us what a normal day at G.A. West look like for you.
I typically arrive between 6 and 6:30 a.m. After that nothing is normal in the Personnel Department. We do have a process for contacting people for hiring and testing, but after that it is reacting to any needs which may arise during the day. These could vary from manpower needs to handling complaints from employees. In short, every day is different.

Before working at G.A. West, what was the most unusual/interesting job you’ve had?
I worked for 30 years with Union Carbide/UOP. I worked in the Procurement Department and for several years I was part of a negotiating team where we traveled all over the United States. One of these trips was to Louisville, Kentucky during Derby Week and the guy we were negotiating with had a box of 30 seats on the finish line for the Kentucky Derby. He knew I was a big fan of horse racing so he invited me to stay over and go to the Derby with him.

What is the one accomplishment or project at G.A. West that you are most proud of?
We have implemented a software system for the personnel group which will give us so many options in dealing with the recruiting, testing and hiring process. It will also help us go paperless. I am really proud of this. It’s been a total group effort and I am proud of the work each team member has poured into this project.

What do you enjoy most about working at G.A. West?
I have always been a people person so I enjoy working and interacting with people and that is what this job is all about. Sometimes it’s good and sometime it’s bad but that is how it is and I enjoy it.

What are three career lessons you’ve learned thus far? (here or elsewhere)
1. Always tell the truth.
2. Always work hard and smart.
3. Never quit before the job is complete.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?
My mom and dad taught me to be faithful to God, my family and my job, in that order. I have found through the years this was very good advice.

What is the worst advice you have ever been given?
I am sure I have been given some bad advice, but I don’t remember what it was, which is good.

What 3 words would you use to describe G.A. West?
Growing, changing, progressing.

What’s playing in your car right now?

What is the one thing you cannot do without?
My wife.

If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Robert Browning. He was a great poet and if I ever die, what is considered his greatest work will be read at my funeral.

If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Prime rib and a baked sweet potato.

Tell us about your family & activities outside of work.
My family includes my wife Bonnie, my son Mark and his wife Brandi, my daughter Brooke and her husband Brad, and three grandchildren, Gracie, Brynlee, and Jaxson. They take up most of my time. Bonnie and I have season tickets to Alabama girls’ softball so we attend a lot of softball games. I also enjoy gardening, reading and spending time with my 94-year-old mom.

What is your favorite movie of all time? Favorite song?
The Ultimate Gift. This is also a book and should be required reading for every employee of G.A. West. My favorite song is a gospel song entitled “It Is Well With My Soul”.

What TV show/movie are you ashamed to admit you love?
I’ve never been ashamed of any movie I watched, though I’m not much into them in the first place.

If you could take a vacation anywhere, where would you go?

If someone were to write a book about your life, what would be the title?
He Did It His Way

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?
Tom Selleck.

People would be surprised if they knew:
I love poetry.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to thank Gary and Benita for giving me a chance to work with G.A. West, they have been so good to me and my family.