On the Rise: Caitlyn Lytle

Oct. 31, 2023

Caitlyn Lytle

Principal industrial engineer — commercial plant lead | Bridgestone Americas Inc. | Lebanon, Tenn. | Age: 30

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job in the industry was working at Bridgestone’s Tire Manufacturing Plant in Lavergne, Tenn. as an associate industrial engineer. In this role I worked in the largest department in the plant (tire assembly) to improve processes, increase throughput, and reduce cost by working with the tire builders and the operations team. I am very thankful for this experience as it provided me a solid foundation of how a tire is produced, and everything that goes into our finished product.

What attracted you to the industry?

I always had ambition to work for a manufacturing company, I enjoy working in an environment where you see a product from start to finish. Also growing up in a family within the auto industry, we were raised to have appreciation of all the details that go into allowing the world to travel. Tires are a huge piece of this. The detail that goes into creating and designing a tire was something very amazing to me that I wanted to be a part of.

What is the biggest challenge you've faced in your career?

In December 2020, I was promoted to area business manager over the curing and final department at the manufacturing plant. I was the youngest area business manager that has worked at that plant. This was a stretch role but I was up for the challenge. The real challenge came with not only stepping into a new role but having to navigate this through the height of COVID-19. My team and I had to be flexible and agile to adjust to the changing and unstable times we were facing as a team.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?

My father, Bob Lytle, has by far had the biggest influence on my career. Growing up I watched him run manufacturing plants, become a vice president of companies, and even start his own business. There is no challenge that he has not seen or faced at some point in his career. He is my advisor when I run into problems or need advice and is my biggest supporter in my successes. I would not be where I am today without him.

What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?

My biggest accomplishment in the industry is my contribution in supporting new engineers and co-ops beginning their careers at Bridgestone. I am grateful I have been able to mentor and hire new co-ops and engineers to teach them what this industry has to offer and to have shown the younger generation how much opportunity there is within the manufacturing environment. I loved having the eagerness of interns and co-ops in my department to allow them to run with projects, be a part of the team, and be able to see the impact they were able to make on a finished product.

Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your workday?

My current role is a principal industrial engineer over our commercial manufacturing plants. I can use my experience on the engineering and operational side to help coach new engineers across the business.

What's been the biggest surprise of your current job?

The biggest surprise has been being exposed to all the different businesses within Bridgestone.

Tell us about your family.

My family is so important to me! I am close with my Mom and Dad, and have two sisters, with two beautiful nieces. Then most importantly, Chris, my fiance, is my best friend, and rock!

If you could wake up tomorrow with one new skill, what would you choose?

Hands down, being able to speak Japanese! Working in a Japanese company, this is one skill I wish I had, and that I would like to learn very soon.

In a single word, how would your friends describe you?

Leader — and having the ability to be friends with just about anyone! Growing up in sports, at a young age I learned teamwork, communication and how to bring a team together.

If you could switch jobs for a day, what job/who would you choose to swap with, and why?

A plant manager. This is a goal of mine to become one day, and I would love to shadow and understand the challenges that you face on a daily basis.

What's the biggest issue facing the tire industry?

Finding hard working employees to join the team! Bridgestone has a great team with a lot of knowledge, but as employees retire it will be critical to pass this knowledge onto the new generation.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An engineer like my dad!

What goal did you set for yourself this year? Are you on track to reach it?

Learning about investing money, and to start investing! Yes and yes!

What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?

I would love to be still working for Bridgestone. Being able to run a plant and become a plant manager is a very big goal of mine.