Climbing The Shop Floor Ladder

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At MacLean-Fogg, we have a large number of employees who have decided to make career moves. Even employees who love their jobs do not stay in the same role forever. People choose to move around for various reasons. It might mean moving up or moving around to try something new or finding a position that fits their individual needs. Talent is everywhere while opportunity is not, which is why at MacLean-Fogg we invest in the educating and training of our employees to ensure that the company and our employees all remain competitive and at our best. Evidence of this can be found across the company at every level.


 

Jeremy Bone - Operations Manager, Mundelein

 

 

Meet Jeremy Bone from Mundelein. In May of 2006, he had no idea agreeing to a two-week project to help out a friend who worked at MacLean-Fogg would turn into a career. Little did he know, he was about to set out on a journey that would lead him into a rewarding profession.

 

After the two-week project was over, Jeremy was offered a job and started working at Dynalink (a previous MacLean location) in June of 2006 as the Lead for the automation line. Having no manufacturing experience, Jeremy felt some pressure and was nervous but quickly realized he

excelled at it.

 

After one of the CNC Managers left, he was promoted to Production Supervisor of the CNC area. In 2008, the Management team saw his potential and offered him the opportunity to move to Richmond, where Jeremy became a Forming Operator and stayed there until 2013. He vividly remembers a conversation with management about his career path and decided it was time to go back to school. He received his Associates degree in Manufacturing Management and graduated with honors. Jeremy knew what it took to be successful.

 

He worked his way up, gaining additional experience along the way, including Screw Machine Department Lead and eventually Manager of that department. Currently, he is now the Operations Manager over Tapping, Deflection, and Machining.

 

Jeremy was very humble when talking about himself. He credits much of his success to his team and the people at Mundelein. "Management was always looking out for me and pushed me to be the best I could be, helping me learn and fill in any skills gaps I had", said Jeremy. He added, "My mentors here at MacLean always rolled their sleeves up to help and were not afraid to get dirty and work together. I take that same approach with my teams." His favorite part of his job is the people. He prides himself on the culture he has built within his team.

 

Jeremy's advice to others is never to turn down an opportunity to learn and be challenged, even if it pushes you out of your comfort zone. "The more you know, the more you are valued. You must have cross-functional knowledge to be an asset, not just to your department but to the entire production floor. In 2006, I took a job that I thought would be two weeks, and here we are today in 2021. Investing and believing in yourself pays off," said Jeremy.

 

 

Tracy Savage - Supervisor, Trenton

 

 

When it comes to helping people and getting the job done right, we are all familiar with the phrase “boots on the ground.” Tracy Savage at Trenton lives and breathes this expression. 

 

Tracy started at Trenton in May of 2013 as a Connector Operator. In 2014, he was promoted to a Lead in Connectors and a Lead over Saws in 2016. In 2017, Tracy was promoted once again to Process Technician, then to Supervisor of Connectors in 2018. Tracy would move to Distribution Hardware as a Supervisor in 2019. Then in July of 2021, he became the Supervisor of Anchors, where he is still today.

 

“When the first Supervisor position became available, I thought I could do it and knew I could be successful. I had come full-circle with learning the processes and wanted to help others do the same,” said Tracy.  Tracy worked his way around the shop floor, learning everything about every department. “I learn best by going in and working with the operators; I am comfortable there. Showing people I can be right there alongside them is how you build trust,” he said.

 

It is easy to see why his career has flourished at Trenton. His servant leadership style is a nice compliment to his ability to relate to his employees. Tracy’s calm demeanor is critical when teaching others how to solve problems. “If you get wound up, they do too. Everyone works better in a relaxed atmosphere. I try to remain laid back and lead by example. We make the environment the way we want”, He said. 

 

Tracy stays motivated by always being up for a challenge. He enjoys watching the development and growth of his employees and wants everyone to succeed. This is his favorite part of his job. He often compares his style to coaching youth football. Tracy said, “If you take a hard hit, you just have to get back up and keep going.”

 

His advice to others is to raise your hand and ask for what you want. “The opportunity is right here, and you have to be proactive and hang in there. Continue learning and being your best. Excellence doesn’t happen overnight,” he said.


 

Lavon Lowery - Foundry Supervisor, Alabama

 

 

It isn’t often you come across a person like Lavon Lowery, Foundry Supervisor at Alabama. His calm, patient demeanor would work to his benefit as he navigated his journey at MacLean Power.

 

As the famous saying goes, timing is everything. If something is meant to be, it will happen at the right time and for the right reasons. Lavon can attest to this as his path to Foundry Supervisor would not come quickly. Lavon was offered a supervisor position twice but did not take it. “I was a Pastor and a gospel singer at my Church and was traveling a great deal. I knew I wouldn’t be able to give 100% to either of those things if I took that job”, he said. This is who Lavon is. He is not willing to do half the job; it’s all or nothing.

 

Lavon has been with MacLean for twenty-four years. He started as a molder helper when MPS acquired Bethea, the company he was working at. He was eager to learn all he could. He recalls, “I remember I told the Plant Superintendent I want to know everything YOU know.” He listened and made sure Lavon would go on to learn every job there was in the foundry.

 

Lavon never looked back. He would hold positions in fiberglass, as well as the aluminum furnace. During that time, Lavon did two tours in Iraq with the National Guard. Upon his return, he was offered another Supervisor position. It was now the right time. “Management recognized my potential and never gave up on me. When I came back from Iraq, they looked out for me, and it was as if I never left. I have nothing but gratitude for this company”, he said.

 

Lavon’s servant leadership style resonates with everyone around him. He has a special kind of energy and makes everyone around him better. Lavon loves interacting with his team and everyone else around him. He said, “My daddy always told me when someone does something nice for you, you have to repay it.” Lavon wants others to adopt his “give 100%” attitude. His advice to others is to have goals, come to work, and stay involved. And most importantly, always ask questions.


 

Monica Moore - Warehouse Manager, Trenton

 

 

If you are ever in the Trenton location, you will find Monica Moore moving around the shop floor helping others; it's just what she does. A self-described people person with an open-door policy,

she is never too busy to lend a helping hand or provide some coaching to team members.

 

Monica came to Trenton in 2013, where she was hired as the Warehouse Supervisor. She spent six years in that role, and in 2019, was promoted to Warehouse Manager. Admittedly, Monica

was a little scared to leap into management. Still, she had so many ideas and was excited to think about all the great things she could do.

 

"There were a few managers before me, and I didn't always agree with the way things were done, and I saw so much room for improvement," she said. After taking on the role of Warehouse Manager, her new ideas are paying off in a big way. The processes she implemented yielded immediate returns. The physical Inventory, which used to take four to five

days, now takes only two. 

 

When Monica talks about her team, her admiration for them is evident. Monica spent years building these relationships throughout the entire shop floor. "We are a family and get through the days together," she said. That is her motivation to be her best self. It's all about the connection and having the right fit for every person on her team.

 

For anyone looking to move up and around on the shop floor, her advice is never to stop learning. Monica said, "Learn what other departments do so you can cross-functionally train and be of value. Most importantly, don't be afraid to tell people what you want and where you want to go; be proactive."

 

Her desire to help her team develop is unmistakable. She tells them, "I am going to ask you to trust I will put you in the right place, let me train you and help you grow," said Monica. This is why the people here at Trenton are Monica's favorite part of her job. Monica then said, "I live by the 80/20 rule. Twenty percent of the people will take eighty percent of my time." And she wouldn't have it any other way.


 

David Nichols - Production Supervisor, Alabama

 

 

The dictionary defines the word determination as the process of establishing something exactly by calculation or research. What it should say is the name David Nichols from MPS Alabama. Not only is David determined, but he lives his life by never giving up and putting his best foot forward.

 

David’s story is a lot like all of ours. He had some rough patches trying to figure out what he wanted his life to be. He knew he wanted a better life for himself and his family. He set out with a plan and moved from Texas to Alabama. In August of 2010, he was hired as a Molder Helper and spent his first day cleaning up sand from the foundry floor. “Someone told me MPS was

the best place to work in this area, and I was looking for stability. I wanted a place I could call home and retire from”, said David.

 

He understood that to be successful, he had to learn everything he could. In 2011, David applied for a Set-Up job and got it. Doors started to open, and he took every chance he could to learn. “I wanted to be the go-to guy. I like that. I wanted it and was determined to succeed.”

 

David spent time in various departments, including Quality, Assembly, and Drill, working his way up. In 2016, he applied for the Production Supervisor job in Assembly and got it, where he remained until 2020. His hard work paid off again, and David became the Supervisor in the Foundry in 2021. He credits much of his success to his coworkers for mentoring him. “I will

never forget something Morris Rembert, the Foundry Supervisor, told me on my very first night. I asked him what I needed to do to be successful in this company, and he replied to me, learn all you can.”

 

Today, he still lives his life by that motto. “MacLean Power Systems moves you up quick, but you have to stay hungry for success. Put the time in to learn all you can; knowledge is power,” he said. David’s favorite part of his job is watching his team prosper. Every day he gets to help his employees by sharing his knowledge and coaching his team to success. He said, “They have seen me work my way up. I’ve been where they are and try to help every chance I get. You have to look out for others who want that same success, nurture their talent, and help them grow.”

 

His positive outlook and attitude towards work and life are infectious. David moves fast and loves to be busy. “If I’m not fixing something, I’m not getting anything done.” David’s advice to others is never to give up and surrender. If you get knocked down, get back up. He truly believes people can change if they want something bad enough. David is the perfect example of that.


 

Shae Lawley - Production Supervisor, Alabama

 

 

If you ask someone what the ideal job at MacLean Power Systems is, working in the foundry in Alabama may not be at the top of anyone’s list. Working in the foundry is not for the faint of heart. However, if you ask Shae Lawley, Foundry Supervisor that question, she will tell you, “If you’re not used to hard work, this line of work is not for you. For me, I like where I am; I love what I do. This is my home.”

 

Shae came to MacLean Power Systems in July 2006 and started in the fiberglass and crimp area. She moved around to the brackets department and then landed in the foundry. Shae started as a Molder Helper, became a Hunter Operator, and then learned every job there was to learn in the foundry. When an opportunity came up to apply for a supervisor position, Shae was up for the challenge. She already knew all the machines well and had the confidence to apply.

 

In January 2021, Shae took the Supervisor job in the foundry. She is most proud of her accomplishments, and her face lit up when she said, “One shift had a record-breaking month. We ran 2,150 molds that day when the average was 1,650”. She attributes that win to processes and teamwork. Shae acknowledges the lack of women in the foundry but said that it never held her back. “Growing up, I was always around more men than women, so I felt comfortable in that environment. It was not intimidating at all.”

 

These same coworkers are the ones who taught her the ropes. Now she wants to pass that knowledge along to others. She loves teaching people processes they do not know, which allows her to look out for others. Shae said, “When I see people catching on, it’s a feeling like no other. My advice is never to stop learning and teaching others.” This coaching and mentoring

spirit is what drives Shae to be her best self.

 

For now, Shae is happy where she is, but she said she would never stop learning and helping others. This team player mindset is what sets Shae apart. She has high expectations for herself and her entire team. With this way of thinking, the possibilities are truly endless. The sky's the limit for Shae.


 

Tyler Phillips - Supervisor, Trenton

 

 

Surely when Tyler Phillips started as a temp at Trenton in March of 2015, repacking parts in the warehouse, he never thought this would become a career for him. This position was his first job in a factory setting, but he was up for the challenge.

 

Tyler is no stranger to hard work but wanted to try something different. His "try anything" thought process would carry Tyler through his journey to where he is today as a First Shift Supervisor in

Distribution Hardware. It wasn't very long before Tyler's willingness to help was noticed. Just a few months into his new job, it was recommended that he move to anchors pack out to help. From there, he started working on the assembly tables and also received forklift driving training.

 

Over the next few years, Tyler worked all shifts, both day and night, in various departments learning all he could and stepping in where help was needed. "In 2017, I heard there was a Group Lead position open in the forge department on second shift, and I thought to myself, I want to learn that! So, I applied," said Tyler. Not only did Tyler get that job on the second shift, but he was promoted to the Supervisor of Distribution Hardware in May 2018.

 

Once again, Tyler was in "help" mode and offered to move to the third shift because he knew they needed support and could make a difference. Tyler now works the first shift, but he is never too far away to lend a helping hand. Everything Tyler has learned he credits to his coworkers. The culture of cross-functional training at Trenton allowed him to build and foster these relationships, all while learning all he could.

 

He said, "It’s the people for me. I work with a lot of great individuals and have learned so much from others that I have worked with throughout my journey here. I just roll with the punches, and I am up for whatever they need me to do.” The growth possibilities are endless for Tyler.

 

“The next logical move would be to Value Stream Manager. But honestly, I will go wherever they put me or feel I will be the best fit”, said Tyler. Management knows how effective Tyler’s attitude can be. They recognize that the processes will improve no matter where Tyler works; he will make a difference.

 

Tyler always coaches others never to stop learning and never stop raising your hand to help or ask for help. He was not afraid to say, “I am still trying to figure out what kind of manager I want to be. I know MacLean-Fogg will help me with that and more by providing the training I need to be successful.”


 

Mike Puvalowski - Production Manager, Maynard

 

 

Mike Puvalowski calls MacLean Maynard his home away from home. Mike began his career at the Chesterfield, MI location as a Header Operator almost thirty-five years ago in 1987. He then moved to the position of Header Setup for 25 years.

 

For the following five years, Mike was the Header Setup/Leader. During that time, he knew he wanted a change. The daily grind was wearing on him, and Mike wanted to explore something different to avoid potential burn-out. In 2017, he took a chance and decided to throw his hat in the ring when he knew his boss was retiring.

 

All his hard work paid off, and he got the Supervisor job. "It was scary at first, but since I knew everyone and worked side by side with them for so many years, it was an easy transition. I have a great team," said Mike. Mike loves to help people on the shop floor. He is intrigued and gets excited about the launch of new products and designs.

 

After all those years, coming to the same place for so long, I asked Mike what keeps him going every day. Mike's energy was infectious, and he said, "Bringing people along, seeing them succeed is what keeps me motivated. MacLean-Fogg is a great place to work. You can have a career, support your family and work at a family-owned company where they care about you."


 

Saybah Suah - Production Supervisor, Alabama

 

 

Imagine coming to the United States from West Africa, knowing no one other than your husband, and then being tasked to find a job and make a life for yourself. Most people would be intimidated by such a large undertaking. Not Saybah Suah, Production Supervisor at Alabama. Not only did she seek out a job, but she has also managed to make it her career.

 

In 2015, she came to the U.S. and found a job working at a local grocery store. Her husband, Peter, worked at the Alabama plant and inquired about the possibility of Saybah applying for a job to come work there too.

 

In 2017, Saybah was hired as an Assembler in the assembly department and quickly started raising her hand and volunteering to do anything to learn and assist others. As a result, she helped out in the Drill, Inspect, EHV, and Quality departments. “I was constantly pushing myself, volunteering to help when people were on vacation because we had a job to get done. I wanted to learn all I could”, said Saybah.

 

When a Team Lead moved on to another position at MPS, she applied for the Lead in the Aluminum Side Opening and got the job. Saybah’s can-do attitude and love of 5S processes prepped her for what was to come.The “why” is very important to her because she understands her job is bigger than her. “It’s about the customer, getting the order out, on time, and done correctly and safely,” added Saybah.

 

In March 2021, she was promoted to Production Supervisor. Saybah recalls something her grandmother always told her, which fuels her desire to learn. “My grandmother always told me, 'It’s easy to ask someone to do something for you, but it is better to see yourself doing it and then ask for help. Then you can learn together'”, she said.

 

Saybah looks forward to being pushed in new ways and working alongside people that can teach her new things. Her advice to others is loud and clear. “You can become anybody you want in this company. Come in on time and do what you are supposed to do. I am always here,

and people can count on me. I am where I am today by pushing myself”, she said.


 

Roger Bush - Production Supervisor, York

 

 

For the last eleven years, you can find Roger Bush on the production floor at the York facility in South Carolina on any given day. He started his career with MacLean Power Systems in 2010 and was hired as a material handler in the arrester department. Roger was recognized by management and moved to Team Lead in 2011.

 

After seven years, Roger was promoted to Production Supervisor in 2018, where he is today. "Roger is hard working, loyal and dependable. His daily activities are always aligned with the best interests of MPS and our employees," said Christopher Wallace, Operations Manager, York.

 

Roger credits his teammates for helping him take a chance on himself. "Some Team Leads came from Chicago to visit our facility, and we talked about opportunities. They really got me thinking, and they prompted me to apply. I knew I could do it; I just needed to take a chance," he said. This straightforward approach has helped him to reach his goals.

 

Roger finds his motivation by satisfying the customers' needs. He said, "I pride myself in accomplishing things. I don't like to leave anything unfinished." Roger's advice to others is simple: Take your time and do things right, don't be hasty. Never stop learning and adding value to your department.

 
 
 

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