In 2004, Lenny Brookes saw a note on the Boston University job board for part-time work in a bearing warehouse. At the time, he figured it was a short-term situation, something to help him pay his way through school. Now, sixteen years later, Lenny is one of the most knowledgeable sales engineers at Alpine Bearing.
Lenny grew up in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and came to Boston to attend BU. Originally, a film and TV production major, he became less enchanted with his major and by graduation, decided he wanted something else. Jim Levin saw his intelligence and work ethic and offered Lenny a full-time job as a sales engineer.
Alpine sales engineers get to know their customers
The Alpine sales engineers learn by doing. They talk to customers about their needs and challenges. They read about bearings and their applications. They spend time with senior staff members, fulfilling orders and asking questions. They get to know the brands and the huge stock Alpine carries, so they can pass that knowledge onto customers and new employees. They learn how to solve problems.
For Lenny, that’s the best part. He says, “I studied film and TV because I like being creative. Ball bearings may not seem creative but thinking of new ways to meet customers’ challenges is. When someone calls saying they’ve had to replace the same bearing over and over, I ask them a few questions about the bearing, the machine, and their industry. Based on that information and my experience, I can recommend a replacement bearing more appropriate for their application. When they call next time, it’s to say thanks or place another order. Now, that person is a regular customer.”
At Alpine, a sales engineer stays a while and learns a lot
The sales engineer positions at Alpine don’t turn over much. Many have been with the company for ten, fifteen, or even twenty years. Lenny credits the atmosphere, people, and consistency for his longevity. He also likes being part of a team full of people with different skill sets. “I’ve been here a while, but I’m still learning. That keeps it interesting.”
When Lenny’s not helping Alpine’s customers, he’s at home, north of Boston, with his family. His wife, Diane teaches high school Spanish. The two met in Saint Thomas just before they both left the island to start college in the continental U.S. The couple have two children. Evelyn is 3 and Jeremy is just a few weeks old.
With work and a growing family, Lenny doesn’t have a lot of time for hobbies, but he likes to stay in shape by lifting weights and chasing his daughter around on her scooter.
Though he didn’t start out with a career in ball bearings in mind, he’s happy to work at a company that enables him to think creatively and work in such a pleasant environment.
Note: Since COVID-19 hit, Alpine Bearing has been on a hybrid remote and office schedule. They all work from home a couple days and go into the office the rest, to keep the office less crowded and each team member and their families safe.