Javier Hernandez is the kind of guy you want working for you or with you.
He works hard, he works long hours, he takes responsibility and he's happy about it.
He has worked 20 years at Pepsi Beverages Co., which bottles and distributes Pepsi products in Kansas. For the past 17 years, he has coordinated warehouse inventory at the plant, near 47th South and Broadway.
Part of his job is to come in at 4 a.m. every day to count the inventory — roughly 500,000 cases every day.
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He has a real passion to do it well, said warehouse manager Karla McDaniel, who has worked with Hernandez in various capacities for 15 years.
He was recently named one of 218 Pepsi employees worldwide to win the PepsiCo Circle of Champions award, which he received during a ceremony at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
"He deserves every bit of respect that he has gotten," McDaniel said.
Is it true that in 20 years you've never called in sick?
"I have a responsibility. If I'm sick, I'll come in and then leave early if I have to."
You work one weekend a month, both days, to help with inventory. What does your family think?
"I like the job and can't complain. But my wife sometimes asks 'Why? Anybody else can do it.' And I say, 'No. It's a process. You have to understand how it's done.' "
Doesn't coming in at 4 a.m. get old?
"That's the greatest part. It's so quiet you never miss anything and you don't overcount."
So, how do you keep your enthusiasm for the job?
"We have great management, so it's easy for me. My management respects me and takes my input when they're making a decision. Respect, that's the key word. They trust me and I trust them."
What's your favorite Pepsi product?
"Pepsi. I drink one can a day at dinner when I get home. At work I drink water... Aquafina, of course."