While she was an engineering student at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Rebecca Ovelgoenner fell in love with the alluring beauty of southwest Virginia, so she jumped at the chance to intern at the nearby Volvo Trucks New River Valley plant in Dublin, nestled in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains. She spent a year working on the engine groom line as an industrial engineer (IE), and, once she graduated, this became her full-time position. During her time as an IE on the shop floor, she learned about the Volvo product, production processes and how to work cross-functionally in an organization.
She then joined the continuous improvement team and was able to travel to many different plants within the Volvo Group before returning to manufacturing engineering in the cab factory, where she leads a team of engineers. She considers her team the “nerve center” of the manufacturing process, and her job is to bring the right people together to improve the safety, quality and environmental impact of Volvo trucks.
Working in the cab factory, the beginning of the life cycle of a Volvo truck from an industrial standpoint, Rebecca oversees the manufacturing process as a whole, evaluating how her team can contribute to the efficiency of the whole system. Her team spends about 50% of their time on the shop floor, balancing project work with production support work and cultivating ideas from their colleagues on the shop floor to improve the production system. She enjoys working with the engineers on her team “problem-solving machine,” and she also moves between doing hands-on work and pushing the envelope in forward-looking projects.
Rebecca enjoys the fast-paced world she works in, and she likes to remind her team members to have fun. “Things move quickly; it’s the nature of the field,” Rebecca says. “We take this in stride and learn to embrace and even enjoy rapid change. We find ourselves balancing the day-to-day activities with longer-term projects, and we think it’s valuable to recognize and celebrate victories when they come and to learn from other times, so we can grow.”
Employee: Rebecca Ovelgoenner
Position: Manufacturing Engineering Manager, Cab Factory
Location: Volvo Trucks New River Valley (NRV) Assembly Plant – Dublin, Virginia
With the Volvo Group: Since 2010