January 19, 2013
Paul Box chalks it up to a certain amount of luck and a definite degree of determination.
Maybe a dash of insanity, too.
For the past 10 years, Box hasn’t missed a minute of work as a bullet technician at Sierra Bullets. He’s been known to show up early, sleep in the office and once even walked miles in the snow to make sure he was to the office on time.
“I love my job,” he said simply. “I’ve always wanted to be a bullet technician, since I was 18 years old. So working here, it’s a dream come true for me.”
Box has always been dependable, starting in his one-room schoolhouse when his teacher offered her students a silver dollar if they came to class everyday. He received two, one for each year he had perfect attendance. And yes, he still has the coins. In 1994 he started working at Sierra Bullets as a technician, answering calls and emails from around the world about the company’s products.
“There isn’t really training involved, it’s based on experience,” he said. “I grew up hunting and shooting (targets) so I have a lot of years to look back on. Whether it’s a question about a particular type of bullet we make or a powder problem someone may be having, I cover it all.”
“Ever since he started here, Paul has always put the company first, doing whatever it takes,” said Matt Reams, Sierra’s vice president of sales and marketing. “And then when he started coming in every day not missing a second of work, it got to be pretty amazing.”
Aside from vacation days which are scheduled well in advance, Box has been at Sierra Bullets day in and day out. He said he hasn’t gone to extreme lengths to make sure that happened, but did acknowledge that depended on what one would call “extreme.”
“Once I knew a blizzard was going to be coming in and since I live in the country, outside Otterville, I knew it would be hard getting into work,” he said. “So I packed up a few things, made myself enough sandwiches and just camped out (in the office.)”
During another winter, a coworker offered to pick Box up if he could make it to the main road, meaning he had to walk four miles on a gravel road then cross over snow drifts that were a few feet high. Box didn’t hesitate.
“It wasn’t that big of a deal,” he said. “If you love what you do, it’s important to you. Being here in the office is important to me.”
Reams said he admired Box’s dedication level and noted the company’s attendance award had recently been renamed in Box’s honor.
“The previous guy had the 10-year record of perfect attendance so when Paul hit that, we decided to rename it,” Reams said. “I have no doubts he’ll shatter that record in years to come.”
Box said he has no plans to retire.
“People call me at home asking about bullets, so I might as well be at the office getting paid for it,” he joked. “I guess I just like talking to people, helping them figure out a problem. I didn’t really set out to break the attendance record, it just sort of happened that way. But I’ll take it. I’m proud to work here.”