A Millennial’s View on Career Agility
David Yung (pictured with Tasos Georgopoulos, Director, and Instructor at BPG, in the top two photos in the collage), is an engineer with 10 years background in the food industry. He enrolled in the BPG Black Belt and PMP Exam Prep courses as the next step in his career progression. He completed the courses in late 2017, earning his Black Belt Certification and his Project Management Professional certification in the same year. The tools and techniques that he acquired from the training, along with conversations with other students about their professions and industries, gave David new insights and experience working with cross-functional teams in a variety of industries. For example, David has a clearer sense of the importance of the Voice of the Customer (VOC). 1
In 2018, with his manufacturing background and Black Belt, David landed a position as the Regional Continuous Improvement Engineer at T. Marzetti Corporation. David is applying his understanding of the VOC in that role, where he is charged with improving existing operations by incorporating TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) and other lean methodologies. David focuses on all of his stakeholders in promoting the mindset of continuous improvement (CI). He explains “I am involving and engaging my colleagues in CI by leading improvements projects in areas of safety, quality, cost etc. while providing them with opportunities to own some of the project responsibilities.”
The Present – T. Marzetti
The Marzetti Corporation was established in 1896 and was acquired by Lancaster Colony in the 1970s. In recent years, Marzetti has grown through acquisitions, and management recognized the need for a common culture focused on continuous improvement. They built a program to develop that culture. It’s called Marzetti Operational Excellence (MOE). Click here to learn more about T. Marzetti.
One of David’s first assignments was to kick off MOE at the New York Frozen Foods (NYFF) division that has been in business for multiple generations. That was accomplished in December 2018. Key areas of focus for NYFF MOE are machine care, maintenance, food safety and quality, safety, and continuous skills development. You can get a sense of the scope of this initiative and see how Six Sigma concepts were applied by clicking this link and viewing a video of the NYFF MOE launch.
To recap David’s experience, the 3C’s most critical to the success of NYFF MOE are consistency, competency, and communication. To help achieve those factors, David is training employees in problem-solving tools and certifying them as Six Sigma White and Green Belts.
The Future: Staying Agile and Flexible
David is just beginning his journey with Six Sigma and will be putting the training to use in other projects designed to improve NYFF operations and to drive cost savings. He’s eager to expand his Six Sigma tool kit and will be working with Tasos Georgopoulos on joint venture projects in 2019 and beyond.
David’s career has included working for Fortune 500 corporations directly and serving as an engineering consultant. His volunteer work includes career coaching, job search strategies, and professional development for students and adults. As a millennial with a global background speaking multiple languages, David understands the professional world of today is different from other generations. He believes everyone must be flexible and agile to build their career paths. His advice to anyone looking for a job or to advance their careers includes these tips:
- If you are in transition, take advantage of Ohio Means Jobs (OMJ) (or other states) grants to acquire skills and certifications. 2
- Be persistent in your efforts.
- Learn to be persuasive, to listen with attentive focus, and to ask for help
- Be Flexible and Agile.
- Switch your focus from “looking for a job” to “what opportunities can I serve.”
For David, being open and flexible to opportunities resulted in his relocation from Cincinnati to Cleveland to accept a position with T. Marzetti Corporation. Being agile means sharpening skills and David plans to maintain his PMP certification and looks forward to becoming a certified Master Black Belt. David has also written articles on staying agile and being consistent. You can read them from his LinkedIn page.
1 In Lean Six Sigma, Voice of the Customer (VOC) refers to a plan or actions designed to identify customer needs and expectations.
2 You can access the OMJ website using this link: https://jobseeker.ohiomeansjobs.monster.com/login.aspx. To find similar services for other states, search the Internet for state name plus unemployment.