Millennials in Manufacturing: Zach Tondreau—Motivating Millennials

zach_tondreau.jpgOur last millennial featured in this series is Zach Tondreau, the conformal coat lead at Saline Lectronics.

Over the past two years, Zach has moved up starting as an associate, progressing to associate coordinator, and now as a production lead at Lectronics. “This is my first job in manufacturing and it has been very rewarding. I’ve always tried to do quality work at any job I’ve had, but never received any recognition for it. I feel fortunate to have my hard work appreciated.”

According to Zach, he was just looking for a job initially to sustain his studies. When he joined Lectronics, he says his expectations were exceeded. “I had no plans of building a career with Saline Lectronics or manufacturing in general. Now, I enjoy my job and I am happy to come into work every morning. Working with Lectronics has been very rewarding.”

And this excitement is directly translated into motivation on the job. “Having my work noticed and appreciated motivates me to go the extra mile. A positive atmosphere at work is more important to me than financial gain.”

Of course, every job has its set of challenges. Zach notes that you have to work on every issue every day before they build up on top of the next day’s challenges. “Manufacturing is in a state of constant improvements—even if the existing process already works. Communication is a constant issue, so everyone has to be on the same page for the system to work.”

On Loyalty, Work Ethics, and Leadership

Loyalty and work ethics are among the key issues that companies point out as being difficult when employing millennials. Zach, however, seems the opposite of that stereotype.

“My idea of loyalty is doing the right thing, even when no one will ever know you did it. I feel Lectronics has been loyal to me. They’ve followed through with the promises they’ve made me, and have offered me one opportunity after another.”

The older generation tends to complain that millennials have little work ethic, and search for praise simply for showing up for work; Zach disagrees and argues that the older generation, on the other hand, can be complacent.

“I would say millennials can have a hard time focusing their attention and have poor work ethic; but the older generation has a difficult time adjusting to modern ideas, practices, and technologies.”

And working together is key to take the company forward, Zach says.

“The older generation has a lot of knowledge to pass on. I think leading the company forward requires combining their experience with the younger generation’s ability to adapt to modern times. Since I was hired at Lectronics, I’ve relied heavily on Jeff Riedel, our Lean champion, for support. I consider him to be my mentor.”

Attracting Millennials to Manufacturing

Initiatives such as STEM are among the steps being taken by academe to attract the younger generation to join the technology and manufacturing field, among others. However, Zach does not think enough is being done to make millennials aware of this line of work.

“When I thought of manufacturing, I thought of a couple technicians controlling an automated process. I had no idea of the number of people it takes to manufacture products. I think the younger generation can be made aware of careers in manufacturing through job fairs, or by visiting high schools and giving presentations to students. It’s important to provide examples of how the products they all use every day are manufactured.”

Zach’s strong work ethic and reliable personality has made him a key employee at Lectronics. He has a stellar reputation due to his sincere commitment of always doing the right thing and ensuring that a job gets done appropriately and correctly. Within his mentorship with Jeff Riedel, Zach is not only gaining a tremendous amount of lean manufacturing knowledge and leadership skills, he’s also learning how to be a mentor himself. Soon enough, he’ll be the one training and guiding the next generation of manufacturing employees. 

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2017

Millennials in Manufacturing: Zach Tondreau—Motivating Millennials

02-13-2017

Over the past two years, Zach has moved up starting as an associate, progressing to associate coordinator, and now as a production lead at Lectronics. “This is my first job in manufacturing and it has been very rewarding. I’ve always tried to do quality work at any job I’ve had, but never received any recognition for it. I feel fortunate to have my hard work appreciated.”

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Millennials in Manufacturing: Tom Scales—Manufacturing from an IT Perspective

01-30-2017

This week, our featured millennial is IT Manager Tom Scales. He talks about loyalty, work ethics, motivation, leadership, his greatest challenges from an IT perspective, and what he thinks the manufacturing industry should be doing when it comes to attracting more millennials to join this field.

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Millennials in Manufacturing: Mya Walton – The Millennials' Advantage in Manufacturing

01-16-2017

We continue our series on Millennials in Manufacturing with Mya Walton, associate coordinator in the test department at Saline Lectronics. She talks about how working in the manufacturing industry opened up a new world of possibilities for her, and how it feels to be creating products that help other people, such as heart monitors and black boxes.

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Millennials in Manufacturing: Andrea Tarhanich - What’s Driving Millennials to Thrive—and Stay—in Manufacturing

01-03-2017

For our ongoing series on Millennials in Manufacturing, we next feature Andrea Tarhanich, a millennial who has been with Saline Lectronics for more than four years. In this article, Andrea talks about loyalty and work ethics, leadership, and effective strategies to attract millennials to the manufacturing world.

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2016

Millennials in Manufacturing: Kyle Robertson – A Rewarding Career

12-19-2016

For our ongoing "Millennials in Manufacturing" series, we next feature SMT Technician Kyle Robertson. He discusses how working for Saline Lectronics has provided him the opportunity to learn new things related to the electronics industry every day and to witness the latest, most exciting technologies being developed.

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Millennials in Manufacturing: Cathy Cox – Multiple Approaches to Solving Problems

12-05-2016

Next in our Millennials series is Cathy Cox, a process engineer at Lectronics, who is in charge of all the first-time build customers, where she manages the entire assembly process figuring out the perfect assembly plan for each product, and the best schedule to deliver each customer the best product. Find out what she has to say about the challenges of the job.

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Millennials in Manufacturing: Mike Scaparrotti – A Different, yet Rewarding Career Path

11-21-2016

Our next millennial to be featured is Mike Scaparrotti, a purchasing agent at Lectronics. As a millennial, Mike said that majority of the younger generation do not want to be micromanaged. For him, having a valued opinion and being able to influence change when needed are what motivates him in his job.

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Millennials in Manufacturing: Alex Johnson – A Long-term Career Prospect

11-21-2016

The next millennial in this series is Alex Johnson, an associate engineer at Saline Lectronics and who has been with the company for over two years. Even though Alex received a lot of negative information about manufacturing throughout his lifetime, his work experience in engineering has directly challenged those preconceived notions.

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New Column: Millennials in Manufacturing

10-25-2016

New columnist Davina McDonnell will be writing on the challenges millennials face in the workplace, and the unique dynamic between millennials and the industry veterans who manage them.

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