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Manufacturing a Career on the Factory Floor: Part 13

Posted by Stephanie Austin on Wed, Feb 28, 2024 @ 12:14 PM

This blog series intends to shatter some "manufacturing myths".  Sometimes there is a perception of manufacturing being dirty, dead-end, unskilled, monotonous and boring.The reality is, it's bright, clean, fulfilling, hi-tech, versatile and rewarding!

Laura, Program Manager, Zentech Baltimore

I had the privilege of interviewing some Zentech employees; a way of humanizing the manufacturing industry to demonstrate why you may want to consider a manufacturing career.

This time I interviewed Laura, who has been at Zentech for 20 years and has worked in many departments. She explains why she loves manufacturing and why the next generation should get involved.

Stephanie: So Laura, you’ve been here for 20 years at Zentech, right?

Laura: Yes.

Stephanie: I know you’ve had a lot of positions here, so walk me through your path to now, 20 years later.

Laura: I started hand soldering on the floor. Back then it was a lot different, the industry has come a long way since then, and it’s much more detailed. It’s been interesting to see how much it’s changed. I eventually moved to lead of the stock room, where I pulled and kitted parts. While I was there, I worked closely with purchasing and eventually they asked me to come work with them. First it was production scheduling, then it was purchasing and quoting. In 2018, I was asked to be a Program Manager, and that’s where I am now.

Stephanie: So, was there a favorite out of all of that?

Laura: Not really. But what I really liked was that I was able to move up in the company and do a lot of different things. As a Program Manager, I need to know what makes up a circuit board. I had the benefit of seeing all aspects of what it takes to actually build it. From start to finish.

Stephanie: If you’re looking at the younger generation today, why do you think they may not either be aware of the career opportunities, or not want to?

Laura: I don’t think the younger generation knows about manufacturing because in my opinion they don’t really teach it in high schools. I always thought that companies should go TO the high schools. Without that knowledge, maybe they think it won’t be a good career.

Stephanie: I don’t think they realize how technical it is. It’s interesting because manufacturing is our entire way of life. We couldn’t function as a society without it.

Laura: Right.

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