Melissa Irk With her Family
From left to right, bottom to top: Layla, Melissa, Randy, and Tegan Irk.

MELISSA IRK

Melissa Irk celebrates 18 years at Apollo this month. She began her career at Apollo as Email Coordinator. She's also held the positions of Inside Sales Rep, Marketing Assistant, Marketing Specialist, and Marketing Manager, before assuming her current role of Business Operations Manager.

Melissa knew quite a bit about Apollo and its team members. At the time of her hiring, her aunt was the CFO, her sister worked in accounting, and her uncle was an Inside Sales Rep. "On my first day of work, I quickly realized how friendly and laid back everyone was and how important great customer service was to Apollo."

When asked what her favorite role has been so far, Melissa readily responds, "Business Operations Manager. I enjoy interacting with all departments and working on building a great team and improving our company and our products." She goes on saying, "Every day is different and brings new challenges. I also enjoy those I work with."/p>

Melissa's kids motivate her to be a great example. She wants nothing less than for them to see how to live a productive, healthy, and happy life.

"At this stage in my life, I enjoy watching my kids play football, basketball, baseball, softball, and track. If I’m not at a sports function, I enjoy relaxing poolside with family and friends, reading a good book and teaching Sunday school," shares Melissa.

When Melissa went through a personal crisis, she found a family at Apollo. "Many years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. My coworkers held a prayer circle before my first surgery. That forever will be engraved in my heart. The amount of support they showed during the entire process was priceless."

Melissa, we find you priceless. We're so grateful the Lord answered our prayers for your healing.

Caleb and Emma Nichols enjoy time together.
Caleb and Emma Nichols enjoy time together.

CALEB NICHOLS

Apollo's CNC Programmer, Caleb Nichols, finds satisfaction in this position. It's by far the most challenging role during his 9 full-time years with the company.

Caleb started out in Shipment Packing, then moved to Gel Laser Operator, Glass Technician, Glass Cutter, and Machinist, before moving to his current responsibilities. Caleb finds motivation in goals, profits, teamwork, and problem-solving.

His first part-time Apollo job came at the young age of 12. He admitted that he wanted to play with friends outside but agreed to help his parents count inventory instead. "I already knew most of the people working at Apollo, so it was a pretty comfortable environment," he shares.

After work, Cable loves to spend time with daughter Emma. "She's way more fun to hang out with than I am," quips Caleb. He also drives and works on cars and enjoys being with friends. Rumor has it that he's pretty fearless when drifting cars.

When asked to share personal insight into Apollo, he responds, "My mom lets my dad think he runs the company."

Way to go, Caleb – and Keersten!

Jeff Peterson has a strong work ethic without taking himself too seriously.
Jeff Peterson has a strong work ethic without taking himself too seriously.

JEFF PETERSON

Ringing in 22 years at Apollo this month, Jeff Peterson has witnessed a lot of change and growth at Apollo during his tenure. He recalls the first office space Apollo leased. They shared a small building with other businesses and a family of raccoons.

Jeff presently serves as Shipping Manager. When asked what he most likes about his work, he responds with, "I enjoy most that Joel and Keersten trust us to make good and proper decisions."

He's only held a few positions during his time at Apollo. When asked about his favorite job, he responds, "The one currently paying the bills. Those darn bills keep showing up, so I keep getting out of bed and coming to work."

Outside of work, Jeff finds pleasure in spending time with his family, traveling, mowing his grass, and taking care of his car.

The Apollo family is glad Jeff still has bills coming in – we love his warm, friendly smile and work ethic.

 Mike Schmidt and Don Schmidt practice judo techniques at their club.
Mike Schmidt and Don Schmidt practice judo techniques at their club.

DON SCHMIDT

During his first year with Apollo, Don Schmidt has taken the lead on one large project.

Don was responsible for reverse-engineering a product line so that it could be manufactured using a flatbed printer and laser cutters with thin ply-laminated wood. He also researched materials to print and cut in search of the best quality product produced in the shortest amount of time. The product needed to hit several markets and price points within a brief time-line.

"It is an exciting new process that required 'thinking outside the box,'" shared Don. "It is a demanding role, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I appreciate the flexibility and freedom we have on our projects to produce a high-quality product n the time allotted."

Don's wife, Tracie, is Apollo's Art Director. Tracie knew that Don had the skillset to execute this project and others.

In his spare time, Don runs an evening martial arts dojo with his brother. He participated in his first Spartan race last year at the age of 45 and loved it. This year, he's training for several Spartan races and is mentoring others along the way.

When asked what gives him a purpose in life, he answered, "I love my wife and kids and strive to maintain a God-centered life. I love choosing something physically I 'can’t' do and just doing it!"

Don, we love your "can do" spirit at Apollo!