Sales representative John Bernal has spent his 26 years at L&M Radiator traveling across the country and building long-lasting relationships along the way.
Columbia, California – Given a map of the United States, John Bernal would surely have a significant number of metaphorical pushpins to place.
A true West-coaster, Bernal was born and raised in Sunnyvale, California, a city north of San Jose, California. In the early 2000s, he moved from Silicon Valley about 130 miles inland to the old gold mining town of Columbia, California, and has lived there ever since.
However, his role as a sales representative for the Western United States region at L&M Radiator, the industry-leading manufacturer of Mesabi® radiators, has sent Bernal from state to state to state. From dry heat, tropical paradise, plush winters, and everything in between, Bernal has seen it all.
Throughout his sales career, Bernal’s territory has included California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. Nowadays, he also oversees and mentors other sales representatives in Canada, along with the Gulf states and his old territory. Presently, Alaska is the only state he is directly covering, but in his peak travel days, Bernal would fly to a new state every other week, leaving Sunday night and returning on Friday.
“My job is to meet people, which I love. In doing so, you’re building a relationship that, in many cases for me, has been long-lasting,” said Bernal. “I have several friends from the industry or customers who have retired and I’m still in touch with them on a personal level. That’s heartwarming. It makes you feel you did your job and you did it well.”
Throughout his travels, Bernal has gotten to see some of North America’s most beautiful landscapes.
“Even just by virtue of going from point A to point B, you get to see a lot of amazing things,” said Bernal. “In Alaska, I traveled on the weekends to see places such as Hatcher Pass or Homer, the halibut capital of the world, and just venture around. Alaska’s a magnificent state.”
Finding a Landing Ground
While journeying from state to state, Bernal stays grounded knowing that his team, including his colleagues across the United States, are there for him.
“L&M has always been very good to me in the sense of accomplishing my goals and being heard. Whether I have a medical issue or something in that regard, they have been right there with the attitude of, ‘Whatever you need, take care of it.’ It gives you a feeling of belonging.’”
In 2023, Bernal is celebrating his 26th year with L&M Radiator. Looking back over the course of his career at L&M Radiator, Bernal said he wouldn’t change a thing. “L&M has given me everything that I could have ever asked for in the long term. When people would ask me, ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years?’ I saw myself at L&M. I saw it growing as I did, and I don’t look back with any remorse.”
Growth is right. Since Bernal joined L&M Radiator 26 years ago, both he and the company have gone through some serious growth and change. Though Mesabi® radiators have been on a few major suppliers from an OEM standpoint since before he joined the team, Bernal remembers the surge when more and more major heavy-duty equipment companies introduced Mesabi® radiators on their OEM products. “After that, people started seeing us in a different light. Things have just blossomed, and it hasn’t stopped,” said Bernal.
Bernal has been there through it all. Humbly, he credits his colleagues for their innovation and drive to keep pushing forward.
“As a company, we have done everything we can to give the market what it wants and what it deserves. I accomplished a lot, as did a lot of others. I was just one spoke of the wheel,” said Bernal. “Engineering at our company is second to none in the world. They deserve all the props they can get. They’ve worked with every application possible and if they haven’t, they can figure it out. You can’t beat that. They really listened to the market, came up with great ideas, and we took it and ran with them. And they still do!”
After 25 great years with the company, Bernal is pulling back on work and focusing on spending more time with his beloved wife, Linda Bernal. Who knows what adventures the two will take together?
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