In West Philadelphia, born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days. Wait a minute…that’s not my story. That’s Will Smith’s story from the intro to “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” I don’t think the Fresh Prince worked at LeanCor. Let me try again.
In Central Kentucky, I was born and raised and I’m electing not to rhyme going forward. I chose to attend the University of Kentucky for my collegiate experience based on both Lexington’s location and the fact that UK has an accredited college of engineering. While in high school, I decided that engineering was likely the focus for me. I figured that it would be challenging and ultimately lead to lots of opportunities for gainful employment. Along the way, I studied a little Lean Manufacturing, partook in a Dual Degree program that allowed me to receive an MBA and saw the job market crash into the abyss in the infamous 2008 recession (thanks a lot housing market!).
However, out of that mixture of experiences and circumstances emerged something unexpected and promising: a job opportunity with a young, growing company. After graduating, I immediately dropped several job applications through UK’s career services web portals and one of my call backs was from a small third party logistics company called LeanCor. The thought of logistics wasn’t necessarily exciting to me but LeanCor offered the prospect of injecting “lean” into the Supply Chain and they approached their work with a focus on continuous improvement, development and learning…all of which I liked.
I started with the company as a Lean Logistics Specialist in April 2012. When I showed up to the corporate headquarters for work in Bel Air, uh, I mean Florence, KY, I noticed a new office building that was not nearly full…probably 25 team members in that location. My Team Lead and peers were mostly young, and they all promised me the same thing: lots of opportunities to grow as a professional within the confines of hard work, patience and grace within the confines of a growing company. My leaders (or Uncle Phils if you’d like) were eager to communicate with me and show me the ropes as I found my footing learning the business and embracing concepts such as Standard Work, PDCA and the A3 mentality. LeanCor was quick to blame processes and not people when things broke down. This made it a safe place to work.
As we continued to grow, I was later offered the opportunity to quickly learn and hold down one of our larger accounts. It was a bit nerve-wracking because I was still so green, but I was given confidence through coaching. I got more and more comfortable speaking to suppliers and customers and solving problems in real-time. LeanCor was willing to give me the keys to the car, and I fueled it with my entrepreneurial spirit. Being internally driven, this allowed me to progress and grow quickly. I made decisions that had a real impact on millions of dollars of inventory and transportation and gained confidence in the value that we were providing.
The Next Step
The next step in my career was to become a Team Lead for that same large account that I had been servicing. I knew that there would be some learning to take place because of my lack of supervisory experience, but all of my work as a Specialist had made me a subject matter expert and I knew I could fall back on that. I put in the long hours to manage the people and account to the best of my abilities and my supervisors and leaders took notice. I received encouragement and professional feedback and learned processes around leading internal meetings and conducting performance reviews. LeanCor continued to grow and many of my team members were promoted to other positions, so I was charged with maintaining a stable account despite the team member all the transitioning. I was lucky to work on big projects that involved implementing new plants and improving the functionality of our technology.
During my time as a team lead I noticed that our operations group was in need of some more dedicated attention in the training and development arena. Based on our continued growth and internal promotion, we needed a way of bringing new team members up to speed quickly and appropriately. It’s not unusual for new team members with fresh faces to be put right into the work and I thought that there might be a better way. I pitched this idea to several senior level managers and our leadership team at LeanCor agreed that, in time, we would need a dedicated resource for this. After several months went by, including me doing a brief stint with our consulting group, a position similar to what I originally presented was created and, after applying, I was selected for the role.
Now, as the Training and Development Manager, I am able to work collaboratively with other leaders in our company developing curriculum for new team members, designing training plans and doing extensive one-on-one coaching. This allows me to support our different teams as we continue to grow and focus on the success of my teammates. It is both rewarding and challenging for me. I am enjoying it. We have the opportunity to prepare our people to a level that would even make Carlton Banks proud.
The future is wide open for LeanCor and I am happy to be part of the team. Six years ago I would not have predicted my career going in this direction but I’m glad it has. LeanCor is a small company with a big sense of purpose. Every day I am excited to advance my career as our company works to Advance the World’s Supply Chains. Thanks for listening to a story all about how my life got twisted-turned upside down.
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Posted by Clint McCrystal
Training and Development Manager at LeanCor | I am an individual with many interests, and I like to leverage both my creative and analytical skills.Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Google+