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Manufacturing a Career on the Factory Floor: Part 7

Posted by Stephanie Austin on Tue, Jul 11, 2023 @ 07:27 AM

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!

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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.

Kay - Assistant Quality Manager, Zentech Bloomington

Stephanie: How did you get into manufacturing? 

Kay: Manufacturing was actually my first job. I started with it because I knew it was stable income. As an 18-year-old, I liked that it came with benefits. I was there for 4 years, and it was the best job I ever had.  I just fell in love with the flexibility of it; learning a bunch of different trades under one roof by people who’ve been doing it for 20+ years. I liked that I could just jump in as an inexperienced person and do that without going to school, spending extra time and money. I was getting onsite experience while getting paid. I still remember so many skills that I learned. I’ve been at a few other jobs and definitely there and here at Zentech have been the best.  

onsite experienceStephanie: How long have you been here? 

KayKay: I’ve only been here for a year. Overall, I have just 7 years’ experience in manufacturing. I can have a personal style that doesn’t inhibit me from getting hired and doing my job well. Manufacturing really focuses on what you can do.  

Stephanie: Is everything you do each day different, versatile? 

For me, the job that I have right now is very flexible. I am the assistant to the Quality Manager. That means I handle things on the fly. There are some set deadlines, but a lot is handling things as they come. Whether it’s a customer return or wanting to get ahead of an issue.  

Stephanie: I think that’s the cool thing about manufacturing; it’s a different challenge every day, but I think a lot of people might not realize this. They may think it’s monotonous or repetitive. Yes, we are building things over and over but for us each build is different. 

Kay: “Monotony” is not always a bad thing – you come to work, you know what to expect, you know what you are doing, you can just keep plugging away and listen to podcasts and I would rather that than look at a computer all day. In a way it’s relaxing. Especially if you like to see how things work.  

If you don’t want to go to years of school for engineering, jump into the hands-on side of it and manufacturing will start you off with good pay.

So you’ve learned everything on the job? 

Yes, exactly.  

Kay1Have you done any of the IPC certifications? 

Yes. The longer you are in a specific avenue of manufacturing, the more people realize you’re here to stay and put into the company, then they will put into you as well. So, then they paid for me to get my certifications, which makes me more valuable and it’s also fun for me and keeps me engaged. I really like teaching so I’m going to be teaching our in-house training.  

So, you are also an IPC Trainer? 

Yes. I like to be able to teach concepts to people which I will be able to do here. 

Why do you like working at Zentech? 

I’ve seen a lot of bosses before at other jobs treat people really badly. That’s not the case here.  Obviously, deadlines and quality matter, but we don’t lose sight of the fact that people matter. Time off is highly respected.  

You have a really great group of leadership here and their positive energy, I can see that it trickles down to everyone.  


If you would like to know more about careers at Zentech, visit our Zentech Careers website.

Additional Resources: 
IPC Educational Foundation - Electronics Career Profiles
Creators Wanted
- Find manufacturing jobs, career pathways and training programs

About Zentech:
Zentech Manufacturing, an Electronics Manufacturing Service (EMS) small business, is primarily focused on the defense, aerospace, and medical industries, specializing in producing highly complex electronic and electromechanical circuit card assemblies. The company has locations in Baltimore, MD, Richardson, TX, and Bloomington, IL and maintains several key electronics industry certifications. In January 2023, Zentech received the Stan Plzak Corporate Recognition Award from the IPC.

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