Patricia Emilia Troncoso Vidal
Technology team leader | Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. | Danville, Va. | Age: 33
What was your first job in the industry?
During my last year of college, I started working as an intern in final finish at Goodyear Chile, my home country. Initially my internship was going to be six months and very quickly it turned to nine years of a full-time job.
What attracted you to the industry?
At the beginning I was attracted by Goodyear itself. I was looking for an international company, that would give me opportunities to grow in different roles, departments, levels and even other countries. Once I started working as a chemical engineer, I just fell in love with the process.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Being able to adapt to change. In the past three years, I’ve had three roles in two different countries and I’m now leading two areas as a technology team leader in Danville, Va. I’ve had to adapt to a different culture, learn the process, lead quality technicians and engineers — while giving results. This constant change also keeps me motivated. I like to learn and improve to become a better version of myself.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
I believe both my father and husband have been the biggest influence in my career. My dad from the beginning has been a great role model, supporting during the hard times, helping me choose what is best for me. I still call him for advice. I met my husband at work and we just became a team. He supports my career like his own and gives me constant advice and strength.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
I am good at solving problems and being part of focused improvement projects even when I am not the expert. I like working with other people, investigating and being persistent to reach the cause and solution of the problem. This has helped me grow and the best part is it has given the opportunity to coach others — operators, quality analysts and engineers — to solve their own problems and make considerable savings in projects.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your workday?
As a technology team leader, I am in charge of two areas and I lead a team of 30 people that have different roles such as quality analysts, lab technicians, die cutters and engineers. I’m responsible for developing and supporting my team, developing new products and producing components within specification and in an efficient manner. During a workday, I have daily tasks that include reviewing KPIs and projects with my team and supporting them with immediate actions. Other tasks are more strategic, focused on continuous improvement, looking for medium- and long-term projects that are based on our top losses and even reaching out to other plants to see what things we can replicate and learn from them.
What's been the biggest surprise of your current job?
On his last day one of my interns wrote me a letter and thanked me for ‘being a fantastic and inspiring mentor.’ I was having a stressful day and his words my day. I’m very happy I was able to teach him something, because in fact I was the one learning from him.
Tell us about your family.
My family is the most important thing for me and I wouldn’t be the person that I am today if it wasn’t for them. I have a wonderful husband, Diego, and two dogs, Mango Jack and Maclion. I met Diego at work and he is one of the most noble and smart people I know. I couldn’t have chosen a better partner.
My dad, Pedro and mom, Mercedes, have been role models to me and my siblings; they are the real team. My dad is supportive and always helping us overcome our fears, and my mother is very loving, patient and empathetic. My older sister, whose name is also Mercedes, wanted to give me away when we were kids, but we are very close. She is full of life and is not afraid to try different things. My younger brother, Diego, is very bright and always reminds me that the simple things are the most important.
If you could wake up tomorrow with one new skill, what would you choose?
Being a dog charmer or trainer. I love dogs and training Mango Jack, our Siberian husky, has been a challenge. I’m always looking forward to our dog trainer, Skye, coming for Mango’s classes. I am so impressed with her skills and I can always see a huge improvement on Mango and also myself after she leaves.
In a single word, how would your friends describe you?
If you could switch jobs for a day, what job/who would you choose to swap with, and why?
I would switch with someone at Doctor Without Borders. Being a doctor and helping other people get better is already something noble and admirable. Having the chance to do that, while getting to know a different culture and other people's realities would be great.
What's the biggest issue facing the tire industry?
Continuously improving and renovating according to customers’ demands, especially from an environmental standpoint.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A ballet dancer. When I was 7-years-old, I began dancing ballet as an afterschool activity. At first I wasn’t very good at it, but I had a very good teacher and I loved practicing with my friends. After a few years I started to get better and got to be the lead in some recitals. Obviously, I never became a professional dancer, but I sure did dream of it.
What goal did you set for yourself this year? Are you on track to reach it?
For this year, my goal was for my husband and I to adapt to the life here in Danville and to our new roles in the company. I believe we are both on track to reach it, we feel very comfortable with our peers and work together with them as a team.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
In 20 years, I would expect Diego and I to have made our family a little bit bigger, hopefully with kids and pets. Career wise, I see myself still in the tire business, not exactly sure of the role or position. I just think that if I work hard and give my best, opportunities will start to come and then I would know what decisions to make.