Carmen Malt – Quality Technician
Occupation: Quality Technician
Industry: Manufacturing – Plastics
Employer: Sekisui SPI
City Where You Work: Bloomsburg, PA
Please tell us about what do you do and how long you have been doing it.
- Started at: Inspector Packer for 1 ½ years- (Check specifications for the sheet, adjust size and length accordingly, inspect for defects or errors, place sheet on correct pallet, and package material for shipment)
- Promoted to: Extrusion Operator for 2 years- (Set adjustments as per the order being produced, set the color and natural percentages into the computer interface, assist the packer on my line when needed, and monitor the material being made continuously to ensure no issues come into effect)
- Promoted to: Quality Technician for 2 years/current- (Inspect sheet, defects, or issues and find route cause, assist other co-workers with questioned material for pass or fail determination, approve raw materials, and work on projects to help make processes more efficient)
How did you get into your career in manufacturing?
- Money: I got out of high school and wanted to make a decent living without having to commit to enrolling in college.
- Benefits: A lot of jobs in construction and other areas had a decent starting pay, but not many of them were offering both decent pay and good benefits (health, dental, and vision insurance). I had my first child born when I was 22, so I needed to make sure I had an insurance plan for my family.
- Retirement Plans: Thinking about having a retirement plan (401k and Pension plan) was not one of the main reasons for joining the manufacturing force at the time, but as I got older it is one of the main reasons I will stay in manufacturing.
How would you describe a typical day at work?
- Fast Paced: I am always on the move from taking on one task to doing another. There is always work to be done, so time will usually go fast during work hours. Once you get a routine and knowledge of the process, the job becomes a lot easier and it is gratifying that you got to where you need to be at your position.
- Safety Oriented: I have never worked at a job before where the company cares about your well-being as much as I am shown here. We always have monthly shift meetings to go over incidents/accidents, preventative actions, and to ask the employees on what can be done to make our jobs safer and more proficient.
- Complexity: I have to keep adapting and try to pick up as much information as I can to excel at my position. If I didn’t, I could easily fall behind and not be as proficient at my job. Once a month we have shift/team meetings in our training building to keep employees aware of any issues we are having with certain products. This way we can be aware of what the issues are and correct them. I’ve been here over 5 years and I am still learning new things on a weekly basis.
What do you love most about what you do for your job?
- People: The people I am surrounded by at work, no matter the position or title, are a pleasure to work with. With being part of the Quality department I always have to talk to different people in different departments and work together to correct/prevent issues with the product.
- Problem Solving: Being in Quality or Operating, I have to make sure we have good sheet/material being sent out to customers. If there are any issues with the product, you have to point them out, figure out the problem, and correct the issue.
- Advancement: The reason I love doing my job as much as I do, is here at Sekisui SPI they believe in in-house advancement. If you come to work every day and do your job to the best of your abilities, you can be promoted to different positions. I’ve seen packers climb all the way up to Production Managers, Supervisors, Quality positions and many more. It is gratifying to know your hard work can eventually pay off for you.
One of the biggest misperceptions about working in the manufacturing industry is that you will always be doing the same job every day. I can’t speak for all of the manufacturing jobs but with Sekisui SPI that is far from the case. Opportunity is always there for the right person, to get the right job. Between the competitive pay wages, benefits, retirement, opportunity, and care for the employees is what makes a good job feel like a career. You can now work in the manufacturing industry and with a little drive and hard work, you can be successful in life.