SRSI is delighted to welcome Celeste Fort to the team as a Warehouse Management System (WMS) Specialist. She works remotely out of her home in southern Maryland and travels around to meet with customers all over the US. What could be considered a ‘happy accident,’ as Celeste calls it, will bloom into incredible connectivity for SRSI and its customers.
Initially, Celeste worked primarily in business process improvement with a consulting group. They worked with a platform that was ahead of its time, focused on collaboration, and capitalized on forward-thinking innovation. A lot of the principles in systems design are still used today, except for the need to dial-up! Tossing old ways of connecting through modems made for a major milestone in the collaborative software sector. Web-based platforms now allow for faster and more accessible communication.
Celeste attended Wellesley College for her undergrad in Psychobiology and then graduated with her master’s degree from George Mason University in Information Systems. After working in consulting, Celeste took time to raise her two children, staying involved as a community volunteer at their schools, the library and local marine museum. Most recently, Celeste worked as a Secretary at a local elementary school. There she noted that, while many sophisticated software systems were in place or being deployed, many were not being used to their full potential due to challenges in implementation strategy or end-user training. Celeste’s work optimizing system capabilities to improve information access fueled her decision to return to the field of business process improvement.
As a military spouse, Celeste participated in a Veteran’s employment program where she met Stephen Wilson, SRSI Software Solutions Manager, during a mock interview session. Celeste mentioned robotic process automation – not necessarily in respect to the material handling industry, however, Steve immediately took that and translated it into warehouse automation. “I think we can make this work,” Celeste recalls Wilson declaring in their interview. She adds, “the concepts really are so similar because our goal is to achieve operational efficiency in each setting. The difference is instead of optimizing office-based workflow, we are doing the same thing with product flow and management systems.” From this introduction to the field of material handling, Celeste felt an instant connection and is now all in!
“The material handling industry is fascinating because even though there’s a huge learning curve for me, it is in the same vein of maximizing a return on investment of time and money. The focus is on a combination of the end-user, operational effectiveness, and product movement efficiency,” Celeste notes. She’s intrigued by how the physical work is tangible, generating quantifiable data to measure and analyze results for areas of improvement.
“Thinking optimized,” an SRSI slogan, resonates with Celeste because she’s always thinking of ways to improve efficiency and reduce waste, whether it be in time or resources. She also noted the metaphor used by SRSI that, “Individually, we are one drop, but together, we flow undeterred,” as a strong motivator to her passion for collaboration. “Teams are so much more effective when people are aware of what’s going on and they are willing to work together through inevitable challenges. Communication is so important, and it is crucial to check back in on expectations and reset them, if necessary, to continue effective collaboration,” says Celeste.
As she looks ahead on an exciting journey with SRSI, Celeste plans to be an effective contributor with client engagement for systems implementation. This involves managing client expectations and building plans to support long-term success for customers. She added how SRSI’s RAPIDS is an important aspect of customer service and follow-up processes.
Outside of work, Celeste enjoys time with her family and their adventures in nature. Together they enjoy anything and everything on the water from waterskiing on the Patuxent River to boating on the Chesapeake Bay, to snow skiing and ice skating. New to the world of RV’ing, Celeste and her family enjoy planning their next road trip to explore great hiking destinations such as their first trek to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. As a dog-lover, Celeste’s family is blessed with an amazing golden retriever who accompanies her husband to work as his service dog and returns home to relax with the family. The SRSI team has already had the pleasure of witnessing Celeste’s dedication and motivation to promote collaboration, and everyone is eager to continue working with her to make a difference in the material handling industry in years to come.