Ever wonder what it’s like to work in Accounting or Finance at Associated Asphalt? We sat down with three team members to learn more about their roles in Paving the Way Forward for Associated Asphalt and its customers. Get to know Melissa Jones, Lori Ramey, and Sondra Barton below!
Q: Introduce yourself and your role at Associated Asphalt.
Melissa: I’m Melissa Jones– I’ve been with Associated Asphalt for almost five years– and I’m the Credit Manager. I work to minimize credit risk with customers and run accounts receivable.
Lori: I’m Lori Ramey – I work as a Staff Accountant for the Roanoke, Bristol, and Hopewell Terminals and Transport. I joined the team in July!
Sondra: And I’m Sondra Barton – I’m the newest of the group. I just started in September as an Accounting Clerk to support the Accounting team.
Melissa, Lori, and Sondra are just three of twenty members of our Accounting and Finance departments who all work out of the Corporate Headquarters in Roanoke, Virginia.
Q: Tell us about your professional background and how those experiences transfer to your work at Associated Asphalt.
M: I’ve been in credit management and accounts receivable for over 25 years. I started in commercial credit, so my background with commercial credit reports was helpful when I joined the team at Associated five years ago. I learned what goes into credit reporting and leveraged that knowledge to make credit decisions on risk and accounts receivable.
I worked for three other manufacturing companies over my career where I gathered valuable information that helps me analyze credit, reduce risk and gently collect accounts receivable.
L: I worked in local government at the City of Roanoke for 14 years. I started out in 911 and then moved into finance where I was a Senior-level staff accountant. My focus primarily involved debt and capital assets. Working for the City taught me how to use a variety of perspectives to understand the financial objectives of the company.
S: I joined the team after 15 years of office administration, and spent much of my career 25-year career in a Corporate Office. That gave me a lot of experience in tasks like payroll, banking, finance accounts receivable and accounts payable, and customer service.
Q: What does a day in the life at Associated Asphalt look like?
M: Every day, my primary focus is typically the same: Start the morning to see what payments were received by the bank, review past due companies, and reach out. Proactively, I also check daily for any credit concerns for our customers.
L: I spend most of my time reviewing sales from each terminal, working with them on a variety of tasks, receiving and processing invoices for terminal inventories, and journal entries needed for financial statements.
S: I like that no two days are the same because I do a variety of different tasks and projects to support the accounting team. Typically, I’m working with payroll, accounts, and help with other administrative duties.
Q: How did COVID-19 impact your work both internally and externally?
M: We were very fortunate to be able to work from home for 16 months. We are very blessed in that Associated Asphalt was forward-thinking enough to let us work from home to keep us safe and keep the business running smoothly. The transition was pretty simple for our department because we already do most of our work online. Thanks to the IT department, there weren’t any major hiccups with our technology or automated systems.
For customers, there was an increase in credit risk because of the pandemic’s impact on companies. There are a lot of factors that we are still keeping an eye on two years into it.
L: I wasn’t here in the initial hit of COVID-19 but I have noticed that there were issues with staffing and the ability to get drivers for trucking our products.
M: Management also did a great job of making sure they stayed in touch with employees with constant phone calls. My manager was constantly checking in to make sure I had everything I needed to do my job. HR and IT worked closely with us to make it all happen.
S: I wasn’t here in the thick of COVID, so I can’t speak to that time but they are very proactive at communicating any potential exposures. They continuously provide helpful information for us and you can tell that they truly care about keeping everyone as safe and healthy as possible.
Q: What is your favorite part of your role? Is there any part of your job that you’re especially proud of?
M: In credit, we’re really proud of the fact that for over ten years we’ve had zero write-offs. With such large budgets, that’s a remarkable feat to not have a single customer get to the point where they couldn’t pay. That means we’re not only making good credit risk decisions, but we’re working alongside the customer to find financing solutions that work for them. Daily, my colleague Larry Gibson and I get excited to see a customer get to the point where they have paid their account current.
M: Yes, it’s the first company I’ve worked for where you’ve had the ability to see members of upper management and interact with them on a regular basis. For most companies of this size, the leadership is eight states away. Here, the CEO and Chairman know you and will interact with you on any given day.
L: One of my favorite parts of working here is the atmosphere. I enjoy working with the terminals and with management to see how everything ties together. I am proud to be a part of the “family” here at Associated Asphalt. My experience with both management and the employees has been great. Everyone works together to accomplish the goals of the company.
M: Another quick story about our company culture. Back in October, we started working on puzzles together. Someone put a puzzle in our break room and as the staff comes through for food, they add in a few puzzle pieces. We run through one about every two weeks.
S: I enjoy working on projects with people every day, and the satisfaction that comes from knowing I have helped them complete a project or task and made their day a little easier.
Q: Who are you outside of work?
M: I’m an empty nester. Most of my free time is spent with my new granddaughter. My daughter is a coordinator for Night to Shine – a prom for individuals with disabilities – so I help her plan those events.
- Favorite Movie: Willy Wonka
- Best Concert I’ve Been To: Maroon Five
L: I have two young children– 7 and 4 –so they take up most of my “free time”.
- Favorite Food: Spaghetti
- Favorite Place Traveled: Virgin Islands
S: I have three active daughters, so I’ve always been involved with whatever activities they have going on like volleyball, basketball, dance, and band. Now that they’re older, we love to travel, attend sporting events, and concerts together.
- Favorite Sports Team: Cowboys
- Favorite Concert(s): Eagles, Carrie Underwood, Katie Perry
Sitting down with these three ladies, it’s very clear to see the camaraderie that comes with working at Associated Asphalt. We’re so thankful for all of their hard work and the fun they bring to the office.
Get to know more Associated Asphalt employees on our blog!