What was your first job in the industry?
I began my full-time employment at Cooper in 2014 as a maintenance material planner. My current role is as a maintenance scheduler.
What attracted you to the industry?
I knew Cooper Tire was the place for me as soon as I got my feet wet in the manufacturing plant. In fact, after spending a summer working as a vacation replacement at Cooper I changed my college major to pursue a career in manufacturing. I then completed my bachelor’s degree at Ohio University and was hired as a full-time employee. I feel very fortunate to work for Cooper, and I’m excited to see where my career path will lead me.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Both of the positions I have held at Cooper have been new roles, so coming into these positions I have needed to develop the jobs’ responsibilities and expectations. In each case, my goal was to increase the reliability of our equipment. While championing a new role is a challenge in itself, these positions also included an additional element of difficulty as they required me to challenge the status quo to ensure what we ‘used to do’ or ‘have always done’ didn’t serve as a barrier to making progress. My ability to communicate and work with others has helped me excel at accomplishing these tasks and drive equipment reliability to new levels.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
The biggest influence on my career has been my personal drive and expectation to succeed both for myself and the betterment of Cooper.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
My biggest accomplishment has been earning my Green Belt certification. I completed this while making major changes to the scheduling process, learning a new scheduling software package, ramping up scheduling across six departments and juggling my full ‘standard’ workload. In addition, being part of the Cooper Dream Team has been a major accomplishment. This has allowed me to share with youth the many positives associated with careers in manufacturing in conjunction with the national Dream It. Do It. program. As someone who chose manufacturing for my career based on experiencing it first hand, this is important to me.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your work day?
In this position I oversee and coordinate a workforce that provides preventative and reactive maintenance for electrical, mechanical, plumbing and more to minimize equipment downtime. I spend my day executing planned work that was scheduled for that day and juggling the unexpected with a set workforce all in the effort of maintaining production.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
It has been a lifelong dream to make my way through the ranks within Cooper Tire and ultimately become a high level manager within the company. I would like to run the company or a portion of it at some point in my career.
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
There are multiple issues facing the manufacturing industry, but in my opinion the biggest issue today is filling the workforce pipeline. There is a skills gap that is rapidly expanding with experienced operators/skilled trades retiring and a lack qualified workers to fill those roles.
What’s the one thing you wish someone would have told you before you entered the industry?
The pace of the industry – it’s fast. There is continual adjustment and constant change, which means there is always new learning and opportunities for improvement.
What class(es) do you wish you had paid more attention to in high school?
I wish I would have given a little more effort in science and math classes. I believe with the added effort I may have been able to score higher and allowed myself to pursue a different engineering career.
What’s the worst cliché or generalization made about your generation?
I have tried to ignore any and all of the clichés or generalizations. I have worked very hard since entering the workforce to achieve my goals. I have a strong drive, and my will to succeed is too high for failure which is not a word defined in my dictionary.
Tell us about your family.
My father, Russ, is recently retired from Cooper Tire & Rubber Company in Findlay, Ohio, after 32 years. He is enjoying his hard earned free time with household projects,activities and cooking. He occasionally accompanies me to the golf course for some father/son bonding time. My mother, Becky, is a loan officer with AgCredit. She has worked with AgCredit in Ottawa, Ohio, for 23 years; she enjoys working out, bike riding and the occasional shopping trip. My oldest sister, Kacee, works for Earhart as the director of commercial Sales in Troy, Ohio. She loves playing volleyball, spending time with family and friends and is engaged to be married. Courtnee, the middle child, works for Good Samaritan Society in DeLand, Florida, as the director of social services. She loves Crossfit, traveling and is an avid beach goer. My girlfriend, Ashly, works for Cooper Tire in Findlay as well. Her title is operations accountant. She loves riding horses, taking care of her animals and going on adventures.
What’s your favorite weekend activity?
I love getting together with my family and friends to hang out all day. I love fall. Cooler weather in Ohio brings on jeans and sweatshirts, which is a great time for Saturday/Sunday football parties while we cook soup on the fire or toss the football around the yard.
What keeps you up at night?
Normally the things that keep me up at night are tasks I will have to address the following day. As an example, being a maintenance supervisor there are times when you know projects will carry over until the next day and having those on your mind the entire night makes for some restless nights.
How do you encourage others to enter the industry?
You encourage people to enter the tire industry on the basis that there are multiple and endless possibilities to pursue. Manufacturing industries allow you to start in one role, learn and then given enough experience you can switch your career path without missing a step. I am living proof of this. I started out with the hopes of rising through the production ranks learning the different departments and their individual processes of manufacturing a tire. Upon hiring into Cooper, however, I immediately switched from production to maintenance and now I realized this area is a great fit for me to build and grow my career path. There are endless possibilities within a manufacturing environment.
Tell us something about yourself others might not know.
I love people watching.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
A few adult beverages after work while playing in the backyard with the dog.
Name a talent you wish you had.
Consistency is the talent I wish I had. I love to golf and consistency would be a huge attribute that would definitely improve my golf game. Consistency would have also helped in the other sports during high school along with my study habits all throughout my schooling.
What’s your favorite food?
I am a huge fan of Philly cheese steak subs and Italian subs. I feel the need to try each of the two subs at every restaurant that I visit. I have yet to have an actual Philly Cheese Steak from Philadelphia and visit Italy to have authentic Italian food; both are bucket list items.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
I would have dinner with my late grandparents. Grandma Irene passed away before I was born and Grandpa Norm passed away when I was 12 years old. Having a second chance to talk with them at this day and age would be enlightening.
What’s your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite memory was when my father took me to Canada for a fishing trip. We spent about 13 hours driving in my uncle’s truck before we reached a little inn in Canada. I can’t remember what the inn was called but there was a two story tall goose out front, couldn’t miss it. Next morning we were up early standing on a dock right beside a huge lake with all of our gear around us. Out of nowhere a float plane started up and taxied right up to us. We loaded the plane and we started to taxi to the middle of the lake. This was my first time flying so I was a little hesitant but we accelerated then took off without a hitch. I just remember looking out of the plane and seeing nothing but lake after lake, the trees and the vastness of all the greens and blues. Those were beautiful views and something that I will never forget.
If we took your cell phone away and said it would cost you $1,000 to get it back, how long would you survive until you paid the ransom?
I would say not very long, maybe a few days dependent upon my mindset. I rely on my phone pretty heavily.
Other than your cell phone, what’s a tool you must have to get through a work day?
My working relationship with my coworkers is a tool I vigorously use every day. I work in a team environment where it is crucial that everyone is on the same page and clicking together. Without these relationships, we would not be as effective and productive.