Terri Saunders, Industrial Electrician
I came to Volvo in 2012 and what brought me here was fulltime, steady work and good benefits. I remember walking in the door and really having no idea about manufacturing.
I had never worked in a factory, and I didn’t know what to expect. My uncle, John Saunders, worked here and kept trying to get me in here. He was like you’ll find something that you love here because there are so many possibilities. I started on the production line and shortly thereafter I participate in ToolingU which I think was 72 classes to qualify to work in our Metallurgy lab. At the time I was also attending HCC for some nursing classes.
I got into the Met lab and then John said hey there’s an electrical apprenticeship program you should go for, you should really look into it. So, he got me the paperwork, I looked over it, and decided to take the test. I got into the apprenticeship program, still didn’t really know what to expect, and it kind of grew from there. Our class was really a tight-knit group, and we really helped each other out.
We got trained here on-site, and all of our journeymen were very helpful and still are. I rely on people’s help, and today we’re also a really a tight-knit group. That’s what really initially brought me here. If it seems like the right opportunity for you, you should try your best, and keep taking the steps to get there no matter where you are in life. To succeed you have to show up, be smart, be conscientious and be tough because not every day is going to be easy.
I think we are the heart means that semi-trucks are the lifeblood of everybody’s existence. Every single product spends some part of its time on a truck--groceries, medicine, construction, materials. The big box stores all rely on trucks. Without us the global economy wouldn’t go on, people wouldn’t get the things they desperately need or what they want. That is the heart of existence. Historically, trucks have been a big part of getting things built—empire state building, hoover dam. Trucks are an integral part of our lives, and we cannot exist without them.
I do everything I can to fix what is in front of me so it can operate and be easier and safer for people to operate. Any time someone comes to me to say hey this isn’t working right, even if it’s not in my wheelhouse, I’ll reach out to whomever I need to talk to and try to get the problem resolved. I’m here to make the flow of operations easier and more efficient and ultimately make everybody happier here if it’s running smoothly. I look forward to coming to work; I look forward to the challenge. It’s even on the really hard days, I look forward to being a part of the team that solves problems. I work with some of the smartest people in the plant, and I know that there is always somebody I can reach out to if I don’t know the answer. When I get help finding the answers, I learn from that experience.
I think the coolest part is the automation that I’m exposed to, the robotics and PLC, every single part of production. I’m responsible for the basic, final, paint and test area in engine assembly. You see a lot of different devices, things you’re not exposed to really anywhere else. I think that’s the coolest part of my job.
I think in the same vein what I just said would also be the hardest part of my job because those are things that may be broken and need to be fixed. It may be a part I’ve never seen before or have no experience with, and that can be very trying.
Well right now the kids are home and out of school, so we do a lot of cooking and shopping; we just upcycled some furniture. My oldest is 21, he’s out of the house and very independent, I have a 16-year-old daughter and identical twin daughters who are going to be 15 soon. I just like spending time with the kids, getting all of the necessary house stuff done, making some meal prep, stuff like that. We have a creek behind our house, and we like to go back there.
Published 2021 July 23