Within TDC’s Premier Industrial Parks there are many businesses that literally keep us moving. Air Industrial Park hosts 25 businesses, Banker Road Industrial Park hosts 6 businesses and within these parks, a wide variety of international industrial manufacturers do business. Within those businesses are thousands of men and women assembling cables, machines, lighting, trains and buses by hand. This month, in honor of Women’s History Month, we will be focusing on the women working in the manufacturing industry here in the Greater Plattsburgh region. During the next few weeks we will be sharing local stories of women within the industry in a variety of positions.
We asked a set of questions to learn what led these professionals to manufacturing and, to share what advice they could offer other people, especially women-to-women. These stories will certainly inspire others in many ways. They may validate current work or career paths, influence a change in job field or, pique the interest of young people as they enter the workforce or head off to college. Each woman's pathway is unique and we are thankful for their hard work, dedication, perseverance and contributions to the North Country and to the manufacturing industry. This month, we celebrate them and all women who make us move!
1. Tell me about your experiences within the manufacturing industry?
What I always find interesting is that so many do not realize all the manufacturing companies that are in our area. I enjoy working with people all over the country whether they are fellow employees, customers, and/or vendors.
It’s always interesting to hear their stories and how they started in manufacturing. I also enjoy telling how Fujitsu came to be here in Plattsburgh and what Plattsburgh has to offer.
It’s intriguing to learn how other manufacturers assemble, what processes they use, different types of positions and how they came to be. Lessons learned from other companies, people and/or positions is always good to review.
2. What education pathway did you choose and how has it helped you through your career? This can be informal and formal education, programs, training etc.
I am high school graduate and I’ve worked hard.
Maybe I just fell into the path, Maybe I got lucky. I'm not sure how it all happened, but I enjoy working in a manufacturing setting. I started at an office supply company, spent a couple of years there and then I went into manufacturing, working for a furniture company. I spent 9+ years with that company and then the company moved back to Canada. A printing company from Canada moved in and our facility was the distribution point for comic books. I worked there for a couple of years and then I went into health care. I took a position in materials management as a logistics supervisor. Our department made sure all the supplies used for caring for patients were on the floors on a daily basis. I left the hospital to come here to Fujitsu and I’ve been with Fujitsu for 22 years.
3. Have you visited the headquarters of Fujitsu in Japan? What was that like?
My Japanese counterparts are very respectful and very nice. The culture is different than ours. My personal view of the people I met with is that they are very organized and meticulous in a good way. They gave me the impression that risks remain low due to their structure.
4. What would you say to young people that want to move away from here, go to a city trying to find other opportunity, but maybe not realizing the opportunity in their own backyard?
I think moving away for young people isn't a bad thing. Some do it very successfully and they thrive in big city. Others may do it for the experience and bring that experience back home with them. It may take them this move to realize what is here in our area.
There are many opportunities here for the same position they may be doing in a larger city. I think it depends on what the person wants. I don't think you can necessarily make people move back to a place like Plattsburgh. They have to want to. I don't think our offerings (in the North Country) are out there enough. Young people should know what is really here. There are more than assembly roles.
5. What advice would you give to young people, especially young women going into male dominated industries?
Honestly, I've never really thought about it. I've never thought about being a woman in a man's world. Be yourself, be who you are. Gender shouldn’t matter.
6. Did you have a mentor? What was memorable about that person?
My “office mate” at a former employer was a huge part of my life, she taught me a lot. I also had an awesome manager at the same employer.
Her advice was to always get to know the staff, don’t treat anyone differently, they are all equal. My manager was the person who wouldn’t give me answers, but would review the issue and work with me until I saw the answer. He’d make me do the work but be there for support.
7. What do you love about living, working and playing here in the Adirondacks?
My husband and I have a motorcycle, we enjoy riding. If we can ride into November we do it. We take many trips into Maine to stay with our children, Maine is very beautiful and it’s not too far. Our new thing is to sit in the backyard with our fire pit that we have and throw some music on and just relax. We like the quietness of our town.
Fujitsu Frontech manufactures currency handling equipment, self-checkout systems, biometrics authentication technology, and RFID tags and solutions. Many technology solutions are assembled here in Plattsburgh, NY. If you're using a self-checkout machine in Price Chopper, your North Country neighbor may have had a physical tie to easing your shopping experience.
Fujitsu Frontech North America was established in 1935, they have over 140,000 employees, servicing 500 plus retailers and have locations in over 100 countries. They are at the forefront of digital transformation in industries like retail, healthcare, banking, and hospitality which helps many businesses thrive by connecting people, technology and ideas. For example, in 2020 Fujitsu Frontech released customizable, touch-free U-Scan software to reduce the spread of germs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Updates were made to the welcome screen, payment acceptance and attendant requests. Now, Fujitsu Frontech is assisting their customers with enhanced security through biometics