What brought you to Volvo Group Trucks, Hagerstown?
Previously, I was in an industry where I was working with children in residential care, and it was a very emotionally taxing position. While I loved helping kids, I got burnt out relatively quickly. I went through a transition period trying to figure out what I wanted my career to look like, and at the time my dad worked here at Hagerstown. Both my grandfather and my father worked here, so I’m third generation. He said there was a position and asked me if I’d be interested in applying; so in 2007 I applied and was hired in Supply Chain. I loved it from the minute I started. I can remember growing up and my dad bringing me and my sister here to the plant for the Bulldog Roundups, and I was always very interested in what my dad did. To come in and be able to work with him for three years before he retired was very special to me. From there I just focused on learning as much as I could about the business working mainly in Supply Chain. Then in 2013, I went to Volvo IT as a business consultant, and I ran some projects implementing our material handling systems. In 2015 when the Process and IT site manager position came open, I applied, and that’s how I’m in my current role. I love it!
What does “We are the Heart” mean to you?
It’s very important to me both from a business and a personal standpoint. From a business standpoint, we are the heart, we build the powertrains that drive our trucks. When I think globally about what we do and how some of our sister sites build engines that run generators and things like that, it’s very special to me because I feel like it really helps society. Now in this COVID pandemic, many of our trucks are probably transporting vaccines to different providers around the world. To be able to work for an organization that helps society is very near and dear to my heart.
Why do you keep the heart beating?
Because I love this place. I love what we do. I feel like we’re a huge part of the future. We employ many people from the local community which keeps our local economy running. I love being a part of the IT team that keeps this factory running. I do it through hard work, cross-functional collaboration, and by keeping continuous improvement at the center. I come in every day saying okay, what can I improve today, how can I make today a better day than yesterday?
What’s the coolest thing about your job?
The different groups I get to interact with. I feel like we have such a history here, such a passion and such a good spirit in Hagerstown. I’m also a part of the global team working, and we have such a great way of working together.
The travelling is also awesome. I started to travel back in 2013 when I moved to IT, and one of my first trips was to Skovde, Sweden. I’ve also been to Koping, Sweden many times learning our material handling system. Then I call it my first "big girl" trip when I went to Thailand, by myself, for 2 weeks not knowing the language, the country, or basically anyone. I met so many new friends that I’m still in touch with, and it was an incredible experience. I also went to St. Priest, France for their project implementation, as well as supported Mack’s Lehigh Valley Operation in Pennsylvania and Volvo’s New River Valley team in Virginia.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
For me, it’s turning it off. Because we run so many shifts and we have to make sure our systems are up and running, and production is running, I sometimes have a hard time turning work off. But I don’t mind it, I have a good work/life balance.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
Spending time with family: parents, my wife, my nephew, my great nieces and nephews. I’m very attached to my dog – my dog is my child. I don’t have children but we have a rescue greyhound.
Is there anything else you want to share?
Yes, diversity & inclusion is very near and dear to my heart because one, I am a female and two, I’m a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Many people don’t feel comfortable being their authentic selves because they may fear retribution at work. They may feel like they don’t have the same opportunities to grow and develop in their careers because of their sexual orientation, and that makes me very sad. I can’t imagine working for an organization where I couldn’t come in and share about my personal life for fear of people judging me or looking down upon me. Many people, especially young people, end up considering suicide because they think that’s an easier way out than coming out and that makes me very, very sad. But love is love; to me it should not matter what your sexual orientation or gender identity is, you’re still a human being, you’re still a person, you still have value to your organization and to society. It’s time for the stereotypes to come down, it’s time for the hate to stop, and it’s time to recognize that it doesn’t matter who you love. You’re loving someone, and that’s the most important thing.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community and working for Volvo Group, I feel physically safe, I feel emotionally safe. I’m co-chair for the V-Eagle North America network for Volvo Group. I always wanted to work for a company that is accepting of different pieces of diversity, that promotes inclusion, that has a family atmosphere, and I really feel like that is a large part of what we do here in Hagerstown. Everyone wants to feel included, and they want to feel cared about. I think Volvo truly does care about individuals.