What keeps you busy every day?
I manage the Smithers distribution testing
laboratory in Lansing, Michigan. We have a great team here that executes day in and day out. Because my team is so efficient, my role is less hands-on and more supportive. I coach my team, develop operational tools and improvements for the lab, and lead technical initiatives for our clients.
I also lead industry groups to progress solutions for common problems or challenges. Since late 2018, I’ve been leading an ISTA
workgroup on load stability
. You can read updates here
What kind of positive changes and developments have your clients experienced after working with your lab?
We can design custom work programs for clients when standard tests don’t support their objectives. For example, we can replace a six-month real-life warehouse test with an accelerated laboratory testing process that delivers faster results without as many unpredictable variables, which means more accurate data for our clients.
Who are your clients?
We work with brand owners in nearly every industry, including food and beverage
, medical products
, and consumer goods
. We have a lot of expertise
in the automotive industry
, which is a great complement to our colleagues in the Smithers Materials Science and Engineering division.
What trends and changes are you seeing in the work you do?
We are seeing a divergent trend in service needs. Historically, we have usually taken a consultative approach with all our clients. Recently, we are seeing more and more clients who are just looking to “check a box.” This is driven by brand-owner requirements. For example, both Amazon and General Motors have released testing mandates for their vendors and suppliers, so many companies came to us for support.
We are also seeing a growing need for highly customized testing programs to support specific objectives. This includes developing a customized testing program or helping a customer determine the root cause of issues in the field.
What are your goals for the next year? Next five years?
Above all else, I want to have a positive effect on the people around me. This includes the people on my team, my colleagues who work alongside me, Smithers leaders, our clients, and the communities and industries I am part of.
What advice would you give to a new client to help them conduct a successful testing program?
The very first step is to get clear on what problem you are experiencing and what you want to solve or accomplish through testing. What is your end goal? You should define that before anything else in order to ensure the most efficient and effective approach and valuable results.
What do you like best about your job?
I have the opportunity to lead, both operationally and technically. I find both types of leadership highly rewarding.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
I spend most of my free time with my family. Seeing my children grow brings me great joy. I also love to play ice hockey, though I’ll confess I haven’t done it in a while.