Career & Education

Carl's calling

An electrifying 50 years of service at ATL

Sunday, May 26, 2019

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From a trainee electrician to technical service manager, it has been almost 50 years since Carl “Zaza” Ennis answered 'his calling' to work at Appliance Traders Limited (ATL).

“I did a five-month stint as an apprentice and quickly realised it would be a good place to start a career, so I applied for a permanent spot and began learning as much as I could,” recalls Ennis.

Eighteen-year old Ennis joined the ATL team in the early 1970s to work with the then flagship brand Fedders on room air-conditioning units.

“My first day on the job, I came very early and the team loaded the vans with about 15 Fedders units and we went to our first location. I was the electrician, so I was supposed to run circuits from panels to switches on the (AC) units, but I was given a hammer and pointed to a wall with a pencil marked out square where the unit would go and I was instructed to go ahead and knock out the wall,” Ennis chuckled as he recollected his initiation.

“I was no mason, but I had to chisel that wall and do it neatly before I even ran one inch of electrical wire. My hands were sore, my shoulders hurt that night, but I could say confidently that I gained a new skill,” he said.

Ennis quickly branched off into the appliance division where he started to work on refrigerators, washing machines and other appliances. He became an apprentice in that division and learned the ropes quickly. After a few months, he was promoted to technician and eventually senior technician.

“As team leader, I was now the one teaching apprentice technicians how to chisel walls, make diagnoses and complete installs. My early ATL days certainly prepared me for the road ahead,” Ennis recounted.

Now the go-to man for all technical service queries, Ennis is the embodiment of ATL's philosophy on training and development.

“I have learned a lot during my time here — not just about appliances, but also life skills including deportment, customer service and so much more. I'm happy that I got my start here and I'm proud of the journey. If you are valued where you are, then you stay there and that is why I have stayed for 50 years,” he said with a smile.

After five decades, Ennis still beams with pride when he speaks about his service students and the camaraderie of the ATL family, including Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart. “ATL is big on family and that comes from the chairman himself. He (Mr Stewart) had a vested interest in the lives of his employees even outside of work. He always went the extra mile to ensure they were comfortable, so they could give their best when they represented ATL,” said Ennis.

The company, which opened its doors on June 1, 1968 at Caledonia Avenue in Cross Roads, St Andrew, before moving to its current address at 35 Half-Way-Tree Road, celebrated its 50th anniversary with a church service on June 1 last year, followed by a gala in which it recognised long-serving employees, clients and suppliers.

Ennis was among those who received the Pioneer Award from ATL founder and chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart and Deputy Chairman Adam Stewart at the gala at Hope Botanical Gardens for over 40 years of service to the company.

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