Meet Colleen Sorben, the operations manager at Empire Supply (

Tell us a little about your business. – We are a custom metal fabrication and finishing company. We have the ability to design and fabricate your design and then media blast and paint it all in one stop. We have also done just fabrication or just finishing.

How did you get started in the business? – I got started in this business by accident. One discussion with Matt Warner turned into an opportunity to come work for Empire. With the need to learn and understand the finishing business that was purchased in October of 2021, I took over managing both the fabrication and finishing facilities. I have loved learning about both businesses and how we fit in with our sister companies.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – Being a female in male dominated industries provides daily challenges.

Tell us a little about your family. – I have been married to my husband Nathan for 21 years. We are both originally from South Dakota and moved to Waverly in 2006. We have four kids, three girls and one boy. Dylan is senior at Waverly High School, Jackson is a freshman, and Quinn is a 5th grader. Our daughter Regan passed away at 4 days old in 2010.

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – The biggest turning point in my life was after my daughter died and learning how to move forward. We continue to remember and celebrate her short life. It made me a stronger person and I have met some incredible people who have also suffered the death of a child.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – Read a good book or watch my kids participate in their activities.

What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – You must be 10% smarter than the item you are working with. My dad would tell me that when I couldn’t figure something out. It would always irritate me but would push me to figure out what I was struggling with.

If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be? – Tenacious.

If you could have a super power, what would it be? – Time manipulation.

Which talent would you most like to have? – Multilingualism, or knowing more languages than just English.

If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be? – Pediatric cardiologist.

What local nonprofit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why? – Compassionate Friends. It was the one thing I needed after Regan died. I needed to find others who were in similar situations to know I wasn’t alone in how I was feeling.

What is your favorite local restaurant? – El Potrero.

If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be? – Abraham Lincoln. He came from nothing, rose to the highest position possible in the government, and dealt with a nation divided and in a civil war. He was able to bring the nation back together while also dealing with personal tragedy.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?(531) 207-9329;