Young Employee Profile – Chuck

As part of a preparation for a local High School Open House (Kane Area), I put together profiles of all of our employees under 30 years of age.  I never expected how much I would learn about the employees who represent the future of PC Systems!  I couldn’t resist sharing these profiles on our blog, so our customers can get an idea who is actually building their product.

In no certain order, I’ll put a profile up of all the employees.  This post will focus on Chuck, who is a 1st shift “Jack of all trades” for us.  After speaking with our General Manager, we cannot seem to come up with a concrete title for Chuck.  We can count on him to be a Production Setup on Monday, run the Rectifier department on Tuesday, build Production Harnesses on Wednesday then finish the week with some Engineering Samples and Wire Cutting.  He is a very talented employee with a special gift for understanding mechanical systems, so he is very valued.

Chuck has been working at PC Systems for over 6 years and has held many different “jobs” within the plant.  He understands all of our processes while also maintaining a keen sense for cost and manufacturability.  I often find myself bouncing ideas off of him while I am out on the floor and I trust his intuition as much as I do my own.

Chuck is famous (maybe infamous?) in the plant for having a dry sense of humor and carrying a facade that he doesn’t care much for the work that he does.  If you look a little closer though, it is obvious he has a lot of pride in the work he does.  He makes sure that he understands the customer requirements and application, closely watches his control limits, and is a hawk when it comes to wasted resources and capital.  You would be hard pressed to find a more dedicated employee, although he would laugh at you if you told him that.

When we asked Chuck what his future goals were, he said he would like to own and operate his own gun shop.  He is an avid outdoorsman and has the mechanical/business skills, which would make him an excellent candidate to do just that.  He currently has various side jobs, including backyard mechanic, which I can personally vouch for.  Working at PC Systems provides a unique opportunity since we are still a private company and Chuck is exposed to some of the pros and cons of owning your own business.

All of the profiled employees were asked to give some advice to future high school graduates.  Chuck said simply “College is not for everyone.”  This is coming from someone who I personally know has the intelligence to succeed at any university, so I think it is clear that you need to define your expectations before you take the plunge on a four year degree.  Chuck’s success without attending college provides evidence of that.


Why I wear a tie to work everyday!

Somewhere around the turn from 2011 to 2012, I had a slight epiphany.  Kevin and I had decided that we had too many ties in our closet to only wear them when we were wearing suits.  He had a good excuse, he went to a Catholic High School requiring ties.  I guess I am just hard to buy for when Christmas comes around.  What started as a little bit of a joke and we called it Tuesday/Thursday Tie Day turned into a daily routine for me.  That wasn’t because I had too many ties (I had to go buy some more), rather, I realized that I was sending the wrong message.

You don’t see people in the office wearing ties anymore, especially in Manufacturing.  I realized that I would often throw a jacket and tie on when I was meeting with external customers, but you could find me in a polo or open collar shirt any other time.  What kind of message was I sending to all of my internal customers?  They weren’t good enough me to put a little more effort into how I looked?  I figured it was about time to rectify that and decided I would wear a tie everyday (almost).

There are some problems with my methodology, which I will admit.  First, I don’t have the discretionary funds to buy a bunch of sport coats and suits, so I often look like the kid at Blockbuster selling videos in his baggy shirt and tie.  I hope it isn’t so much the “look”, rather the “effort” that is recognized.  Also, it is a safety risk.  I am around moving machinery often when I am out on the floor.  Most times, I will temporarily take the tie off if I am out there.  Finally, it serves absolutely no purpose other than decorative, which really drives me nuts.  If I could define “waste” in clothing, the necktie would be it.  To combat this and make myself feel better, I occasionally wipe smudges off of my safety glasses with the back of my tie, which I find is a great solution.

So there you have it, that is why you’ll find me in a tie most days when you walk into the office.  It is really about sending a clear message to both internal and external customers that they are worth dressing up for.  I am keenly aware that how I am perceived is directly linked to how I can motivate and lead, so I try not to make it an afterthought.  What kind of non-verbal messages are you sending?