Long, long ago in the annuls of Centryco history, we began as a company focused on fire safety. Over time, that transitioned to protecting die set and other machinery operators. The Centryco of recent times is all about providing the best solutions for protecting the operating integrity of your equipment.
Thanks to the extraordinary circumstances of today’s world, we’re revisiting the need for personnel safety with PEOPLE safety. We’ve developed barriers and shields for teachers, churchgoers and ministers, for individuals and groups, for gyms and restaurants and lunchrooms. We’ll be added more and more information over the coming weeks, so be on the lookout for it!
Meanwhile, if you have a need for barriers and shields, drop me a line at email@example.com and we’ll gladly help!
Welcome to Small Business Week. Well, belated welcome since we are already halfway through it. I suppose that it’s a convenient lead in to my point in this post, addressing the delay in writing this.
I wanted to get this posted on Monday but, unfortunately, other tasks had to come first. Like employees at small businesses around the world, I wear many hats. My title itself summarizes the responsibilities I have here. I am a Catalyst at Centryco, charged to investigate, instigate and evaluate change to our operations in support of our corporate strategy and goals. While that might seem like a position more suited for a large company with enough excess capital to invest in broad spectrum improvements, the reality is that continual improvement to operational efficiency and company culture is an inherent mandate for survival. Still, having a full-time employee solely dedicated to that purpose doesn’t present a desirable ROI on a consistent basis, so I must take on other tasks to earn my keep.
Today I am writing this, performing some basic efficiency analysis, handling the disposal of old machinery, and assisting in some strategic planning regarding some foreseeable concerns with production capacity. In the past weeks, I have designed and machined parts to fix an underperforming machine, coordinated the search for new software, handled issues with our phone system and ordered coffee for the office. That schedule might look odd if you only have experience at larger companies but it is a reality for employees at smaller organizations.
I am not the exception, rather the rule. Our machine programmer also serves as facility manager. Members of our busy sales team sometimes augment our production staff when necessary. Our engineers mainly focus on ensuring that products meet your needs; they also are developing new products and analyzing process efficiency.
The need to learn new skills and step out of your routine frequently is sometimes daunting but I see it as a blessing. My job is less likely to become boring and rote, my day isn’t always spent sitting in front of a screen, and I get to try my hand at new things; all with the aim of bettering this company. It truly is a beautiful phenomenon in small businesses. When you have a small stage, every role played is large. Small businesses always talk about a family or team environment because you feel the shared pride and it’s impossible to miss the impact you have.
We tend to stray away from politicized topics here at Centryco, since they are often polarized and we want everyone to be able to come to our site for entertainment, updates and industry information. However, we are also very passionate about women in STEM and manufacturing fields, in case that hasn’t already been apparent. With 100% women ownership and such a large and diverse female employment ratio, we are doing everything we can to support gender equality in the workplace.
It is in this vein that I am talking to you today. I am graced with a very egalitarian family, where everyone is given opportunities to succeed, something many people are not. As this is my last week with Centryco. I wanted to highlight what I see as model behaviors our company has, and how our female leadership has brought us here.
When I was a child my grandmother, Alvina, was already the company president at Centryco. Not far into my teenage years, she retired and my mother was appointed CEO. Because of this, and the manner in which I was raised, I was pretty ignorant of the problems facing women in the workplace, especially in traditionally male fields like manufacturing. I faced this issue rather abruptly when women in combat roles became a national issue, with many voices shouting concerns about the efficacy of women in combat. As a soldier, and a student of military history, I started to look for legitimate barriers to women in combat and, frankly, I couldn’t find any justification that wasn’t absurd. In fact, when I saw what Israel had achieved with gender-indifferent service, I questioned what the argument was really about. This was my AHA moment. Women shouldn’t be in combat not because they were any less capable but because it was an invasion of a traditionally male only institution.
Fast forward a decade and I have a daughter of my own: a woman, a person, for whom I can abide no boundary. I am thankful for women like my mother and grandmother, who took this company to increasingly profitable heights, who, without question, have been trailblazers for the industry, thriving, often in spite of pre-conceived notions from industry peers. I am glad my daughter has such strong examples to look up to, to demonstrate that she should fear no ceiling, glass or otherwise. I am hopeful that our great country will continue on the path founded by generations of strong women, to a day where quality, not gender, will determine limitations.
Thank you, Mom, and happy Mother’s Day.
From Matt and Madelyn.
Thank you, Matt. I’m glad – and honored – that you feel we’ve been good role models. I think every parent (and grandparents, especially) tries to make their children’s lives as good as possible; to guide them into being the best possible man/woman they can be. It’s not always an easy path but it is THE best job in the world. I am so proud of you. Good luck with your new career. – Mom
I walk one mile south, one mile west, and one mile north. I am now back where I started. Where on Earth am I?
That riddle is known to be a favorite of Elon Musk’s; the Tesla CEO is said to ask it during interviews. As you might have guess, this entry’s topic is “riddles”.
A riddle is a logic problem, often forcing the answerer to think unconventionally. A riddle, as it happens, is also very important to business. A good riddle can represent real-life problems that need to be addressed, and a practiced riddle solver may be more capable of solving real-world problems as a result. It’s important to maintain mental acuity in every aspect of life and, from the plant to the board room, unconventional problem solving is key. The logic that we learn from riddle solving often has practical uses in life.
Every time you juggle maintenance vs. operation time, employees in dispute, material suppliers, you solve a real life riddle. This could be an amazing thing, if we change our approach. Life and business obstacles can go from stress-inducing minefields to mental playgrounds. Work doesn’t often offer entertainment but maybe just this once, it can. Next time you find a conundrum in your workplace, try not to let it get you stressed. Think of it as a puzzle, a game. Change your thinking, work outside the box, and maybe just enjoy the challenge. If not, you can always play Sudoku when you go on break.
The answer, should you not have gotten it yet, is below
You start from the North Pole.
You find a location on the South Pole that is a fraction of a mile around (1/3, 1/2, 1/4, etc, or a full mile.) Start one mile up from there.
From either starting point, following the original directions, you’ll return to the starting point.
Wednesday was an important day for Centryco, a celebration of our diversity. We pitched in to bring appetizers, entrees and desserts from our different cultures since the best way to bond is over food! Our International Day, what we call it, allows us to step back and take a good look at the diversity that makes us special. We have over 60% female employees in positions from production to management, with 100% women ownership; we have employees representing 11 different countries; we have first and second generation Americans as well as families who have been in this country for centuries.
Diversity is not something we strive for at Centryco but rather a byproduct of our business practices, which is why we are so proud of it. We hire based upon performance and experience, what a prospective employee can add to the team. That translates (pardon the pun) into efficiency and productivity, the direct result of inclusivity and cooperation. We are able to have such a cohesive team because our differences are not divisive or definitive; instead they are conducive to effective problem solving because our employees bring varying approaches to the workplace.
I guess the best way to describe us is pure American. We are a group of people from various backgrounds working together to accomplish our goals and provide the best product and service we can. We are a strong family and an example of the loftiest of American principles.
Listening to the news and financial reports this, I heard that major corporations are making a concerted effort to fill technical positions with women, setting goals of 50% or more by 2021. I applaud these efforts.
Back in the days before there was dirt (if you believe my children) when I was in school, girls were ridiculed for being smart, and to excel in math and science? Let’s just say that other kids didn’t rush to befriend you! We were geeks and nerds. (Fortunately I have a delightfully warped sense of humor that almost balanced the nerdiness so I did manage to cultivate a few friends!)
In my early days with Centryco, in an effort to learn more about our business, I accompanied two male colleagues to visit some customers. It was so interesting and exciting! (I still find visiting customers to be the best part of my job.) Aside from the fascination with finding out what other companies do – and how we play a part in their “doing” – I remember all too clearly that conversations and explanations were conducted almost exclusively with my colleagues.
This was MANY years ago so I was young, inexperienced, probably naïve – and a rarity in a man’s world. But I was also educated, intelligent, curious and enthusiastic. I quickly learned to speak up, to ask questions, to absorb as much as I could from the experts: the customers.
In the years since then, the number of women in all technical fields has grown but we’re still a minority. Two years ago we had the privilege of participating in a Women in Manufacturing conference. It was educational and inspiring to see so many women of all ages succeeding in traditionally male professions.
We left the conference with a renewed determination to take an active role in encouraging young people of both genders to explore manufacturing. We enthusiastically work with our local schools – from middle school through the collegiate levels – to help shape curriculum selection, to explain what manufacturing does, to give concrete examples of how we “make” the world a better place. Hopefully, we’re influencing another generation of engineers, technicians, and machinists to shape us up!
I started my Centryco adventure in 1996 as a machinist. A machinist must be a professional, must be accurate, and must be precise to produce a quality product. My experience has allowed me to develop and fine tune an attention to detail that my coworkers and I bring to bear on the Centryco Quality Control Program. Through experience and teamwork, and with the assistance of ISO and Lean programs, my team and I work tirelessly to bring the most effective, precise, quality product from our floor to the customer’s door.
I am Pete Chase, Centryco Quality Control Manager.
Fun Facts about me:
I have enjoyed playing guitar for over 40 years now, and yet I’m still a closet player.
I enjoy making knife handles, mostly for chef’s knives, from exotic woods.
It’s a positive feeling, knowing that I am coming to a place where everyone works together to get the job done. Everyone here is like a family. We help each other both in the workplace and outside, on a personal level, if someone needs it.
A great example of this, though it may sound selfish, occurs every Veterans Day. We have three vets here: Pete, Steve and me. The company gets together every year to present us with a small gift in honor of our service. It’s a small gesture but it means a lot coming from our work family. I’m glad I get to share it with them.
I am Brian Bohley, Centryco’s Radio Frequency Welder:
I spent 9 years in the Marine Corps as an Aviation Electrician.
I recently became a grandfather for the first time.
I donate blood to the Red Cross as often as possible, and have donated a total of 5 gallons, so far.