A Veteran’s Perspective

By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and interview my Dad for The Next Page podcast. What struck me about my interview was the vastness of his experience. These were stories that I had known for years, but I never sat to hear many of them one right after another. From his beginnings as a Die Maker’s apprentice at Westinghouse Electric in 1949 to his 39 years of training supervisors for MACNY and through to his final corporate position as Vice President of Jaquith Industries. Four and a half decades of manufacturing and education is a treasure trove of experience waiting to be explored.

One of the questions I asked was how he came up with Self Directed Work Teams long before the “experts” had written books about them. His reply surprised me; “ I was frustrated by the micro-managing that I saw in manufacturing.” He went on to share an experience at Westinghouse when a design engineer wanted to have design credit shared with his design team. When a senior engineering manager heard of it, he promptly overruled that decision demanding that only the design engineer get the credit.   He would never forget that experience.  Years later, when he was in a position to lead an organization, he determined to push the decision making down to the level where people knew the most and could have the greatest impact on the results.

What if I never asked him these questions? What would have happened to all his experience and insight? As I left the interview, I was thrilled to realize that at least some of his history, told in his own words and with his own voice, were now preserved for the next generation. Whom do you know that is a veteran of manufacturing? Who’s treasure trove of wisdom is yet to be explored? Why not take the time to do some exploring and preserving. You will be surprised with what you will learn, and generations to come will be very grateful.

If you would like to listen in on the interview, please join my dad and me on The Next Page Podcast episode 67.

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