FCA US is made up of men and women from a wide variety of cultures, backgrounds and experiences. Our commitment to diversity helps breed innovation and accomplishment. Over the next few months, we’ll be taking a look at some of our most interesting and unique manufacturing employees working in a wide range of positions, locations and fields. Think of it as a “day in the life” of some of our most treasured assets — our people.
If you’ve ever wondered what makes a great car, it’s our people. FCA US has a total of 37 manufacturing facilities: 23 in the United States, six in Canada, seven in Mexico and one in Venezuela. That’s a lot of people working toward one common goal. Every one of our employees plays a unique role in making our manufacturing operations world class.
Tania Pratnicki Young knows a thing or two about world-class operations. As Plant Manager of Dundee Engine Plant, she has lead the plant to becoming the first U.S. facility to achieve silver status in World Class Manufacturing and she won’t stop until she gets the gold! Being a plant manager is a tough job, but certainly comes with its rewards.
“I’m a plant manager. My job is really 24 hours a day. My day doesn’t ever end. As a plant manager, I have responsibility for everything within these four walls and that’s part of a plant manager’s job. You’re at the plant a lot, but your day never ends and your day never starts. You’re just always responsible, always thinking about the plant and the people. So, if I’m on vacation or it’s the weekend, I’m still tied to the blackberry and I’m on phone calls. It’s just part of the job that you accept. It isn’t bad; it’s just how it is.”
“I’m definitely a person of routine. When I get up, the first thing I do is look at the blackberry to see how many engines were built during the night or what I missed during the few hours I was sleeping. I shower, get dressed and go. I can get very aggravated if I don’t get to stop at my coffee shop for my coffee. It’s a local place in Perrysburg, Ohio, called The Flying Joe where I get plain, black hot coffee. That’s it. I don’t like fru-fru coffees. I don’t like fru-fru anything. I don’t dress fru-fru. I guess I am not a fru-fru person.”
“Every plant manager is different. You can be a very effective plant manager with a different style. Maybe because I’m one of two women plant managers, I have a more nurturing style. I try to give things a personal touch if I know something happened to someone that is very happy or very sad. I’ll go see that person. I’ll go out and give them a hug. If they’re crying, I’ll cry with them.
“The Dundee tagline is the family plant and some of the plant employees call me ‘mamma.’ I want to be approachable. I don’t want to be aloof. We are the family plant and I love our team of great people. However, I can be disappointed in the team, or even tough, when they don’t perform at the high level I know they are capable of. The team knows when I am not happy, they aren’t happy either if we don’t do well. I’m responsible for everything. When we do well the team deserves the credit, not me, when we fail, it is all my responsibility and I have to take appropriate corrective actions to improve. We are paid to meet our targets.”
“The people at this plant are very caring and generous. We’re always raising money to support organizations like United Way or March of Dimes. Along with the UAW, we’ve adopted a women’s shelter here. We also volunteer to go to a nursing home and adopt them for a day, bring them goody bags, play bingo and just talk to the residents. They love it.”
“The majority of my day is spent leading my team. My day is filled with talking to people. That’s what I do. A lot of it is coaching and teaching the WCM principles, the WCM way. A lot of it is also reviewing reports or KPIs (Key Performance Indicator) or working on operating plans, managing changes and making decisions. Just about all that I do involves interaction with people. I am in the people business.”
“It’s a very rewarding life. You’re making something. You see the results every day. I think it’s a great opportunity for women, and I highly recommend that women, especially young women, don’t close any doors. To succeed, you are going to end up doing a number of lateral moves and you may get asked to do things that you think you can’t do. Don’t think that way. There’s really nothing you can’t do. Go do it. You go in there and you figure it out. Women shouldn’t shy away from challenges. Get in there and do your job and have fun doing it.”