US manufacturers had a strong start to the fourth quarter and are looking forward to the end of the presidential election, according to Markit Economics’ preliminary report on the sector for October.
The flash purchasing manager’s index (PMI) rose to 53.2, Markit said on Monday. The index is based on a survey of manufacturers, and the “flash” reading is based on 85% to 90% of all responses collected every month.
Economists had predicted that the PMI was unchanged at 51.5, according to Bloomberg. A reading above 50 indicates that the sector is still in expansion.
“Both output and new orders are rising at the fastest rates for a year amid increasingly widespread optimism that demand will pick up again after the presidential election, which has been commonly cited as a key factor that has subdued spending and investment in recent months,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, in the data release.
Manufacturing production increased for a fifth straight month, and new export orders improved from September. The rise in unfinished work due to backlogs was the most in a year. Also, companies said there was more capacity pressures at their plants, partly because they had slowed the pace of hiring.
The manufacturing sector has not yet fully recovered since the dollar’s rise and weak global economic conditions crushed demand for US goods last year.
In September, the PMI rebounded from a contractionary reading of 49.4 — the first slip into that territory since February. Some respondents to Markit’s survey reported a rise in domestic and international sales, with some customers buying ahead of anticipated price increases.
Manufacturing has been a hot button topic in the presidential campaign. Republican nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly said the US does not make things anymore, and has vowed to bring back manufacturing jobs from Mexico and China.
It’s worth noting that manufacturing now makes a much smaller contribution to the US economy compared to the services sector, where two-thirds of all activity takes place.
This piece was originally posted by Business Insider.
You’re almost there. Your resume landed you an interview and now it’s time to seal the deal. So what’s the best way to prepare?
To find the answer, I looked back on my interviews, sifted through research, and most importantly, asked employees from today’s most coveted companies. I tried to find deep insights beyond the typical “sit up straight!” and “dress to impress!” tips we hear too much.
Below you’ll find the 12 best tips to help before, during and after your interview.
1. Research Earnings Calls, Quarterly Reports & Blog Posts
In today’s world, content is king. Goldman Sachs publishes quarterly reports, Microsoft records its earning calls, and every startup has a blog.
With so much out there, I’m baffled that few of us look past the company’s homepage. It’s like we’re writing an essay on The Odyssey without quoting a single passage from the book.
Example: If you’re interviewing with Google, here’s two ways to answer: “What’s Google’s biggest opportunity in the next 5 years?”
Weak: “I think wearable technology will be big because Google Glass and Apple Watch represent a new trend that shows…”
Strong: “Call me geeky, but I was listening to Google’s quarterly earnings call and was blown away by the fact that display advertising hit over $5 billion in the past few years. Therefore, I think that…”
Neither answer is wrong, but the latter says much more. It shows you’ve done your homework and give answers rooted in data.
2. Use Google Alerts
Keeping up with company news is hard, especially if you’re interviewing with multiple places at once. That’s why Google Alerts is a savior; it’s a tool that emails you anytime a new story appears for a specific term. That way, you learn about current events without searching for them.
Example: If you’re applying to Creative Artists Agency, follow these steps:
Put in your email address if you’re not already logged in to Gmail
Soon enough, you’ll get updates on CAA and have more ammo for your interview.
3. Use Social Sweepster To Clean Your Facebook & Twitter
Nowadays, 91% of employers search your social media for any red flags. While most people tell you to watch every single thing you upload, there’s a much easier solution. Use Social Sweepster, an app that detects pictures of red solo cups, beer bottles, and other “suspicious” objects. It even detects profanity from your past posts! Now, that’s f%$king awesome!
“Too many recruiters reject candidate because of something they found on their social platforms” Social Sweepster CEO Tom McGrath says. “We help you create the first impression on your own terms.”
4. Schedule For Tuesday at 10:30 AM
According to Glassdoor, the best time to interview is 10:30 AM on Tuesday. Remember, your interviewer has a world of responsibilities beyond hiring. They’re responding to emails, balancing projects, and meeting tons of other candidates so it’s crucial to consider when they’ll be in the best mental state to meet you.
10:30 AM Tuesday is the sweet spot because you:
Avoid the bookends. On Mondays and Fridays, employees gear up for the week or wind down. By the same token, avoid the first or last slots of any workday.
Avoid lunchtime. Immediately before noon, your interviewer may be too hungry to concentrate; immediately after, they may be in a food coma.
But there’s a caveat. Research shows it’s best to take the earliest interview slot “in circumstances under which decisions must be made quickly or without much deliberation because preferences are unconsciously and immediately guided to those options presented first.”
Bottom line: if the firm is hiring for a job starting in a few months, try to interview late morning between Tuesday through Thursday. If the firm is hiring immediately, grab the earliest slot.
5. Craft Your “Story Statement”
Though most interviews start with the same prompt (“tell me about yourself” or “walk me through your resume”), we blow it off with boring answers like:
I studied [major X] because I really care about making a difference in [industry Y] as you can see through my last job at [company Z]…
This answer is like tearing out the first 200 pages of your autobiography. You leave out everything that gives meaning to why you want this job in the first place. What was your moment of epiphany? How did your childhood influence you? Why does this job move you? Most people don’t answer these questions. They start and end with their professional experience, leaving little to inspire the interviewer.
Next time, use what I call a “Story Statement,” which is a Cliff Notes of your autobiography.
Example: Here’s an amazing Story Statement that Teach For America fellow Kareli Lizarraga used for her interviews.
I grew up in California and Arizona after immigrating to the United States when I was four years old. Since neither of my parents went to college, I relied on my high school teachers to help me apply to top universities. With their support, I was able to attend the University of Pennsylvania. Then I spent a summer at a Washington DC law firm, which represented low-income students and helped me realize that my passion lay within creating educational opportunities for all.
I decided to become a teacher because I see myself so deeply reflected in the stories of so many students in your schools – and that’s why I’m so excited about the opportunity to interview with you today. Like my teachers did for me, I want to impact the next generation of students by supporting them and understanding the experiences they’re facing.
A Story Statement shows that you’re a person, not just a professional. It also makes it easy for your interviewer to predict the next chapter of your story. For Kareli, Teach For America is a logical next step. Of course, if she interviewed for Apple, she may change her Story Statement to include an early experience with her first computer and talk about how her passion for tech grew from there. For a Bain interview, she could mention how she started problem solving at a young age and now wants to do it on a big scale.
Chances are, we’ve all had experiences we can connect to where we’re trying to go. It’s just a matter of selecting the right ones to tell our story. That said, if you struggle to craft your Story Statement for a particular interview, you might be applying for the wrong job.
6. Wear a Subtle Fashion Statement
We already know dressing well makes a difference. But what if we took our attention to detail a step further? That’s exactly what Morgan Stanley analyst Julio German Arias Castillo did for his interviews.
“Wear something that represents your culture or background,” he says. “In my case, I always wear a pin of the Panamanian flag on my suit lapel. Most of my interviewers ask about it so it becomes a chance to discuss my upbringing and love of my homeland.”
Julio created a conversation starter with his clothing. Depending on the company, you can be more playful: wear a bracelet from your recent travels to India, a tie with a quirky pattern, or — if you can pull it off — a small mockingjay pin if you’re a Hunger Games fan. As long as it’s subtle and tasteful, your fashion statement can build rapport through fun conversations about your hometown or mutual love for Katniss Everdeen.
7. Prepare for The “What’s Your Weakness?” Question
Most people overthink this question and give a canned answer like “I’m too much of a perfectionist!” Others give a genuine answer but still fall short of what this question is really asking. It’s not about admitting your weaknesses. It’s about showing how you overcome them. What systems have you put in place? What progress have you made? Include those thoughts to strengthen your answer.
Weak: “My weakness is that I struggle to run efficient meetings…”
Strong: “I sometimes struggle to run efficient meetings. But I’ve worked to improve by drafting an agenda before every meeting, sending it to all participants, and then following up with a recap and clear action items so everyone knows what to do moving forward.”
8. Brainstorm 3 “PAR” Anecdotes
Your interview is as memorable as the stories you share. Many people have fascinating experiences but forget them when they’re on the spot. To remedy this, have three anecdotes ready to plug into your interview. Your anecdotes should follow a simple format:
Problem – what was the situation?
Action – what did you do to solve it?
Result – what changed afterwards?
With this format, you can adapt your PAR anecdotes to fit a variety of questions such as “tell me about a time you worked with a team” or “when have you struggled most?”
Example: University of Pennsylvania Senior Hunter Horsley has a terrific PAR anecdote for his interviews.
Problem: “When I worked on Lore, an education tech startup, our big marketing challenge was finding a way to get professors to try our product. Ads are inefficient and competitors like Blackboard and Canvas had sales teams call IT administrators to sign multi-year contracts — a very slow and expensive process. We needed to move faster.”
Action: ”We realized that students preferred our product so we teamed up with about 200 students from 100 colleges. They developed a custom outreach plan for their campus and we provided resources to support them.”
Result: “This was highly effective in creating awareness with professors. In fact, it became a competitive advantage. During our first two semesters, our team of 15 people drove adoption that outpaced a competing product launched by Pearson at the same time. An additional benefit was that the approach created brand affinity. Because professors heard about the tool from students instead of an ad, the value proposition came across more authentically.”
9. Think Aloud on Analytical Questions
Some interviews include tough analytical questions. Whether you’re solving for an exact number (“what’s the EBITDA of Company X?”) or rough estimate (“how many ping pong balls can fit in a Boeing 777?”), it’s important to talk through your thinking. Don’t just give an answer; show how you got there.
Example: Consider these two answers to “How many lawn mowers are there today in the United States?”
Weak: After 45 seconds of silence, you blurt out “75 million!”
Strong: You’re talking the entire way through, sharing your calculations and assumptions.
“Let’s start from the top down. Assuming the US population is 300 million and each household averages 3 people, then we have 100 million families in the US. Let’s assume urban households don’t have lawns to mow and therefore only suburban and rural families buy lawnmowers. If roughly 25% of America is urban and 75% is suburban and rural then we have 75 million households that own a lawnmower.”
(side note: it’s okay to make assumptions and for those assumptions to be off. But that’s why you need to communicate them first).
This is a great way to show your communication skills alongside your analytical ones. Plus, if you make an error, it’s easier to know where you went wrong and fix it.
10. Ask Questions That Kill Two Birds With One Stone
At the end of your interview, it’ll be your turn to ask a few questions. This is a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone – that is, asking a genuine question while conveying something new about you. Most people just do the first part and forgo a final chance to impress the interviewer.
Weak: Will this role provide opportunities to work in emerging markets?
Strong: I’m passionate about languages and minored in Arabic in college. Will this role provide opportunities to work in emerging markets in the Middle East?
Weak: Are there opportunities for community service?
Strong: I used to work with Habitat for Humanity and was so grateful for the opportunity to give back. For a full time employee, are there company-wide community service events that I could take part in?
Strong: According to your quarterly report, your revenues grew by 17%. Is that because of a particular division within the company?
This works beautifully if you haven’t found a natural way to bring up an accomplishment or cite a publication beforehand.
11. Grow A Backbone & Ask This Final Question
This one takes guts — and that’s why I love it. Spredfast Product Manager Luke Fernandez says it’s the “single piece of advice that has consistently made a difference.”
Before your interview ends, ask this one last question: “Have I said anything in this interview or given you any other reason to doubt that I am a good fit for the role?”
“It’s bold, but if delivered honestly, it displays true desire and confidence,” Luke said. “I’ve been commended for that specific question in interviews with Google, YouTube, BCG, Deloitte, Twitter, and Spredfast. In one situation, the interviewer actually said yes and gave me the chance to clarify something that would have otherwise lost me an offer.”
Talk about badass!
12. Email a Personalized Thank You Note
Thank your interviewer within 24 hours of finishing. It not only shows your gratitude, it also combats recency bias if you interviewed early. Not to mention, it opens the door for dialogue even if you don’t get the job. Sometimes, recruiters reach back out on the same email thread months later, mentioning new job opportunities.
Example: Accenture senior analyst Anthony Scafidi shared a wonderful email from Robert Hsu, an interviewee whose follow up email shows how to do it right.
Appreciate your taking the time to chat with me today. I really enjoyed hearing about your two projects so far, how much you love the people at Accenture, and how you’ve been able to continue your community service work even while working. (Hope you had a good meeting with your mentee!) Best wishes on your current project.
You can’t just go out into the office and ask your employees. If you’re terrible, they have a vested interest in not telling you the truth.
You’re going to have to do some serious introspection and reflection to find out, either way. With that in mind, here are some subtle signs that you’re an excellent leader:
1. You’re willing to try new things
Good bosses adopt certain methods because they’re the best way of doing things — not because they’ve just fallen into certain habits. The best managers give their employees a little room to experiment and innovate.
2. You treat your employees like human beings
Unfortunately, some bosses seem to feel that hurling insults and abuse at people is an effective motivational technique. In most cases, this simply isn’t true. If you value your employees as human beings, then you’re already a huge step above many managers.
3. You don’t have obvious favorites
Playing favorites is a great way to torpedo office morale. If you make it clear that a certain person is the apple of your eye no matter what, then that’ll just encourage your other employees to give up on trying to impress you.
4. You hold everyone accountable …
Maintaining accountability is a big part of office morale and encourages workers to act with integrity, leading to an excellent workplace culture.
5. … including yourself
Good bosses don’t pick a scapegoat or explain away mistakes. In fact, experienced managers admit it when they fail in order to create a workplace that’s a safe environment for experimentation.
6. You ask politely
Insecure bosses bark out orders and behave like divas in order to establish their dominance. If you always say the magic word and are generally polite, then that’s definitely a good sign.
7. You give support
Bosses should build trust with their employees by providing a reasonable amount of support and guidance. Obviously, you don’t need to hold anyone’s hand, but throwing people into the deep end isn’t ideal, either.
8. You remove obstacles
Bad bosses throw up roadblocks that make it harder for people to succeed and do their jobs. Great managers should actively work to make the lives of their employees easier.
9. You’re a good coach
Coaches don’t just sit back on the sidelines twiddling their thumbs. They don’t run onto the field and start playing, either — unless they’re that one scary dad that takes the youth recreational soccer league way too seriously.
Good bosses are like good coaches: They command respect and provide the right blend of praise and constructive criticism to bring out the best in their employees.
10. You’re able to manage expectations
Bad bosses often disappoint or confuse their teams by presenting inaccurate pictures about how things are at the office — e.g., talking up how well the company’s doing and then springing news of layoffs on everyone. Good managers are honest and open.
11. You give feedback
Good employees crave feedback to learn how they can improve and grow. Great bosses are happy to oblige.
12. You keep the environment open and transparent
Transparency makes for a happy office culture.
13. You ask for insight
Employees want to feel heard.
Obviously, at the end of the day, you’re responsible for making the final judgment. But once in a while, if the situation calls for it, good bosses reach out to their workers to get their insights and opinions.
14. You explain yourself
Good managers don’t expect anyone to read their minds. They outline a clear vision and provide their team with the knowledge and tools to achieve it.
15. You care about solutions
When the going gets tough, the weak bosses find someone to blame. Good managers focus on finding a solution to the problem, rather than throwing people under the bus.
16. You want to challenge your employees
Bored workers are unhappy workers. The best bosses check in with their workers to ensure that they’re being challenged.
17. You don’t micromanage, but you’re not too hands-off
Carefully examine the capabilities of your workers in order to achieve a good balance. Could you give any of them more responsibilities? Is there anything you can start delegating?
18. You check in with your employees
You don’t pop in to nag people like Bill Lumbergh in “Office Space.” You genuinely check in to talk to — not at — your employees in order to find out their goals and worries.
19. You have a sense of humor
It’s important to never take the joking too far in the office. That being said, good bosses take their work seriously — not themselves. It’s good to have a laugh with your employees.
20. You care about the dreams and goals of your employees
The best bosses are invested in their employees. That means that they’re actively concerned with the professional goals and aspirations of their workers.
21. You’re not nice just for the sake of being nice…
Being too nice of a boss can actually be rather cruel, as Betty Liu points out in her LinkedIn piece. Artificially sweet managers heap on undeserved praise, then yank the rug out from under their employees later on.
So don’t play nice because you don’t like conflict. Be authentic and real with your workers. You’ll be doing them a big favor.
22. … and that means you’re able to make tough calls
Weak bosses flee from confrontation. Excellent workplace leaders don’t seek out uncomfortable situations, but when one arises, they can handle it. They do what needs to be done, whether it’s plotting a new course for a team or firing a problem employee.
23. You’re a good listener
This is the main reason why introverts make quite good bosses.
Many people have had a manager who loved to talk. Rarer — and infinitely more appreciated — are those bosses who are quality listeners. Good listening skills shows your employees that you’re seriously considering their opinions and needs.
24. You take an interest in your employees’ lives
Good bosses don’t cross the line into nosiness. Still, they care enough to ask about peoples’ summer plans, kids, and elderly parents. This interest will demonstrate to employees that their boss actually cares about them, making both parties more invested in their working relationship.
25. You tailor your approach
Different employees have different needs. “One size fits all” just isn’t going to cut it in the workplace. The best bosses are flexible. This allows them to fulfill all sorts of roles in order to better cater to the needs of their workers.
26. You demand effort…
Great leaders demand — and inspire — employees to work hard. They lead by example and give workers the tools they need to succeed through hard work.
27. … but you don’t demand perfection
Bosses who are too rigid are simply unrealistic. People make mistakes. It happens. If you punish small failures, you’ll just stifle innovation, experimentation and proactivity in your office.
28. You think you’re an awful leader
Business Insider recently spoke with TED legend and author Simon Sinek about leadership. He explained that individuals who believe themselves to be excellent leaders are often, in fact, terrible leaders. Great bosses recognize that authority and rank do not equal leadership abilities. As a result, they are constantly working to improve themselves. These quality bosses might even feel inadequate at times. However, just the fact that they recognize their own flaws renders them superior to many managers that totally lack self-awareness.
This piece was originally posted by Business Insider.
By Glenn Richardson Managing Director – Advanced Manufacturing and Aerospace & Aviation
October 15, 2015
Advanced manufacturing is one of the key industries driving innovation and job creation in Ohio. The Buckeye State has a rich legacy as a manufacturing hub, and not only has the third-largest American manufacturing workforce, but is considered the best state for manufacturing jobs east of the Mississippi River. Nevertheless, many have an outdated perception of what exactly manufacturing in the 21st Century means.
Here are some facts that might surprise you about a career in today’s manufacturing sector.
You will make a good living. Plenty of manufacturing jobs start out between $40,000 and $60,000 annually, and it’s not uncommon for workers to work their way toward six figures per year with overtime. CNBC reported in June that hourly compensation for manufacturing jobs is 17 percent higher than in other industries and that the average U.S. manufacturing worker earned more than $77,000 a year – with good benefits.
You can stay clean. The image of a manufacturing laborer covered in sweat and grease is an antiquated one. The digital world has transformed manufacturing into a high-tech, knowledge-based industry in which a keyboard is used more often than a power drill. In fact, at Honda, one of Ohio’s top manufacturing and automotive employers, all the associates wear white uniforms. Why? Because if any of those uniforms are dirty, floor managers know something’s not working properly.
Jobs are available. New technologies, materials and manufacturing processes have led to a resurgence in Ohio manufacturing, creating new opportunities for employment. A report released in February by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute declared that 3.4 million new U.S. manufacturing positions will need to be filled in the next decade.
Skills are a must. The manufacturing industry is working hard to attract smart young people with skills in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – to fill those jobs. Ro Khanna, a former deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Commerce wrote in the Washington Post, “If you think of manufacturing as a tedious job with no intellectual stimulation, you haven’t visited a U.S. factory floor lately. Whether making steel bars or suits for firefighters, many of today’s manufacturing jobs require the ability to operate complex machines, math skills and an understanding of how to maximize efficiency.”
Manufacturing is cool. How many industries afford you the opportunity to play with robots for a living? The new technologies we are seeing in advanced manufacturing have changed the way we make things. 3D printing allows us to create physical products directly from digital files, no tools or fixtures required. – like Robert Downey Jr. building his new Iron Man suit. Ohio institutions like America Makes and Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow are blazing a new path in manufacturing, leading to new innovations and great careers.
This piece was originally posted on jobs-ohio.com.
As its name might suggest, Industrial Way is not known for being pedestrian-friendly.
The road in the Northern California city of Benicia is lined with trucking companies, warehouses and metal-finishing factories. As it curves north, before it turns into Channel Road, the street cuts under busy Interstate 680.
So when Cpl. Kirk Keffer of the Benicia Police Department spotted a lone, lanky teenager walking on Industrial Way during the graveyard shift a few Saturdays ago, he was curious. It was after 11 p.m. and dark outside, and the boy was just nearing the highway overpass.
“Usually in the industrial area, there’s no foot traffic, so it was kind of weird to see someone walking around on foot,” Keffer told The Washington Post.
He stopped his patrol car, got out and called out to the pedestrian.
Was he okay? What was he doing out there by himself?
The teenager, 18-year-old Jourdan Duncan, was equally startled at first.
“I was absolutely nervous,” he said. “I thought, okay, um, did I do anything wrong? Is he going to put me in cuffs? I didn’t do anything bad.”
Duncan told Keffer he was walking back to his parents’ home in Vallejo. He had just gotten off from his job at Pro-Form Laboratories, where the teen worked on the packaging line from 3 p.m. until around midnight.
“Vallejo? That’s like seven miles away,” Keffer said he remembered saying to Duncan.
Soon, he had cleared out the passenger seat in his patrol car and offered Duncan a ride home.
On the drive, Keffer asked the teen more questions. Why Benicia? Why not drive to work?
He was agog that anybody would walk more than two hours each way, every day.
Duncan explained that he had just graduated from Jesse Bethel High School the year before. He had gotten a job at Pro-Form Laboratories in May, and enjoyed being around his co-workers. He was saving money for college, he said — but really wanted to be an officer with the California Highway Patrol, to follow in the footsteps of some relatives who were in law enforcement.
When the timing belt and an engine valve on his 2001 Volvo broke in July, Duncan got a few rides from friends and co-workers, but soon decided he would try to walk to avoid burdening others.
“I didn’t want to always call somebody and be like, ‘Hey, can you pick me up?’ ” he said. “That would have took a lot of people’s time.”
Duncan never told his parents he started walking. (“They thought I was getting rides every day,” he admits.) The first time he plotted out a walkable route on Google Maps, it spit out an estimated commute time of 2 hours and 15 minutes.
“This is going to be a long walk,” Duncan thought. On his first day going to work by foot, he didn’t know what to expect. “The whole way there I just had my earphones in, kept quiet and I just power-walked the whole way.”
That was in July. Gradually, the foot commute grew easier for him.
“The walk now, it’s not a problem for me,” he said.
By the time Keffer pulled up to Duncan’s parents’ house that night — all of 15 minutes later, by car — the police officer was impressed. Most people won’t even walk down to the store, he joked.
“I was just like, wow, Jourdan, that’s really impressive, your dedication and your hard work,” Keffer said. “At age 18, that’s a good work ethic to have, and I said, you know, I admire that. Just keep doing what you’re doing.”
They parted ways and Keffer returned to the police department in Benicia. Still, he couldn’t get Duncan’s commute out of his head. He mentioned his interaction to his shift supervisor, who, like Keffer, happened to be a board member of the Benicia Police Officers’ Association.
“So I hit him up and say, ‘I just had this contact with this young man,’ ” Keffer said. ” ‘He’s walking five hours a day, and I think it should be rewarded. What if we help him out?’ ”
They emailed the rest of the board to seek approval to buy a bicycle. It was, he said, one of the fastest votes they’ve ever taken: Within an hour, enough board members wrote back in agreement. And so, the following day, Keffer visited Wheels in Motion, a local bike shop.
He was looking for a good mountain bike, Keffer explained to the owner. Something with a reliable gearing system that could handle Benicia’s steep hills. The longtime shop owner, Greg Andrade, helped him pick out a $500 Giant-brand bicycle — and loved the teen’s story so much that he also donated a lighting system, brake light and helmet.
The only matter left was how to surprise Duncan.
Keffer looked up Pro-Form Laboratories and dialed the company, asking for Duncan’s boss. Then, he explained their encounter the night before. Was Jourdan scheduled to work Monday? Would they mind if a few officers stopped by the warehouse to surprise him with something?
That Monday night, Sept. 19, Duncan’s supervisor called him out and told him to go outside. Some policemen were waiting for him.
Once again, Duncan was taken aback. His boss assured him he was not in trouble.
Outside, he spotted Keffer, along with some other Benicia police officers.
“‘We have something for you,’” he said they told him, pulling the bicycle out from behind a car. “‘This is your bike’ … I was like, wait, what? Is this some kind of trick?”
The bike was a token of their gratitude, the officers said.
“We would like to acknowledge your hard work and dedication for what you do and setting the example for kids your age,” Keffer said they told him. “Hopefully this’ll make your trip easier.”
Duncan said he was bowled over by the gift, but also stymied by the attention. Several local news stations wanted him on their shows. Normally reserved, he shyly agreed to talk to all of them — “I was so nervous; I’ve never been on TV” — but couldn’t help but think: They want to interview me for walking?
“The walk isn’t hard,” he said. “It’s like a challenge. To me, it was like a challenge to see if I was willing to do whatever it takes to get to work.”
Keffer said that was precisely what moved him to do something for Duncan. And Duncan said the bicycle has made him “feel more at ease” with his commute, which has now been cut down to an hour.
Duncan said he and Keffer are keeping in touch, and that Keffer has offered to take him on a ride-along so he can get a better idea of what being a police officer is all about.
“It’s something I’ve been interested in since high school. A lot of my family members, they’re in law enforcement,” Duncan said. “It’s like, what they do and, due to a lot of people thinking that there are bad cops out there, I want to prove that all cops aren’t bad — which is true, due to what just happened to me.”
After months of prep work, BarryStaff’s JOBS 4 VETS hiring event went off without a hitch in early September.
One veteran called the staffer who offered her a job an “angel.”
“I really appreciate this opportunity that BarryStaff has given me,” said Robert Dewberry, who joined the United States Army right after high school and served from 1978-1991.
“If there’s one thing I would tell my fellow comrades, it’s to not lose hope,” Dewberry said. “Take the opportunities that are open and know that you have a part in bringing back the community.”
“You’re still being used,” he said. “You can still be a help to our city.”
American flags lined BarryStaff’s front lawn the day of the event. Cupcakes and refreshments were served and each job candidate received a job readiness bag. It included, among other things, a BarryStaff T-shirt.
BarryStaff’s relationship with veterans in the community will endure. Because of ongoing partnerships with the Goodwill Easter Seals Veterans & Employers Connection and Volunteers of America, BarryStaff hopes to put more veterans to work on a continual basis.
That said, another event specifically to celebrate veterans in the community is likely.
“This isn’t a one-and-done thing,” said BarryStaff President Doug Barry. “We look forward to seeing this event grow.”
Four veterans — working through the JOBS 4 VETS program — were placed with Composite Advantage in Dayton. The results have been fantastic.
“They want to understand the whole operation,” said Ruth Reeve, who works in human resources for the company. “I think there are habits and disciplines they picked up in the military that serves them well.”
Composite Advantage is a leading supplier of products for bridges, waterfront infrastructure and rail platforms. The four vets BarryStaff placed with the company are doing everything from molding to working with hand tools and table saws to painting.
A couple of Composite Advantage’s managers are veterans and have long advocated for the use of more vets in the workplace.
“BarryStaff helped us bring them in,” Reeve said. “Before, we didn’t have a way to reach out to that community.”
BarryStaff president Doug Barry is proud of the outcome so far.
“This is why we do what we do,” he said.
Client spotlight: Anne Ross Taylor of M&M Title
Glance inside the offices of M&M Title and you’ll see a workplace aptly described as “fast-paced” and “transactional-intensive.”
“There is a very high learning curve around here,” said company president Anne Ross Taylor.
The company, which deals in residential and commercial real estate transactions, is getting roughly 100 orders a month. Most residential transactions are on a 35-day timeline and five or six people in M&M’s office may work with the transaction before it’s finalized.
Schedules are tight. That’s why Taylor relies on the temp-to-hire process.
“We can each take each other for a test drive,” she says.
She chooses to “test drive” candidates provided by BarryStaff. The two companies have enjoyed a successful relationship for a handful of years. There are currently two BarryStaff recruits in M&M’s office. Another worked with M&M well over a year before moving out of the area.
“I trust the people at BarryStaff to find me the candidate I need,” she said. “It’s matchmaking … in a business context.”
Employee spotlight: Lerin Davenport of Brainerd Industries
Life is full of lessons. And Lerin Davenport has learned a few at Brainerd Industries in Miamisburg.
She previously worked in retail, with no manufacturing experience. Once on the floor, Davenport couldn’t help but notice people twice her age were working twice as fast as she was.
“You have to practice,” she said. “And there’s no way to practice without doing it.”
That kind of can-do attitude impressed Davenport’s supervisors at Brainerd. She was hired on full-time in September.
Brainerd makes parts for consumer electronics, appliances and vehicles. In their facility, stamping, blanking, die cutting, printing and powder coating is a way of life.
Davenport learned the routine by watching. She’s mastered “some” of the machines, but continues to plug away.
“I can’t complain,” she says with a grin that suggests she’s better than she’s letting on.
Life on the factory floor has been full of surprises. For one, the Xenia native didn’t expect to see so many other women in the industry.
Prior to BarryStaff, she’d only worked with one other staffing company. It didn’t go well. While living in Columbus, Davenport was asked to report to jobs only to find out upon arrival that the company had overloaded the order. It wasn’t unusual to be sent home without even clocking in.
She was understandably wary when she came to BarryStaff. Staffers knew she was nervous about factory life, so they called to check in after she started.
“That told me they believed in me,” she said.
Now Davenport takes pride in speaking the language of manufacturing.
“It’s all about communication,” she said. “I understand where people are coming from.”
Available for work
Interested in clerical work
University of Dayton graduate
Proficient in Microsoft Office
Experience in marketing, customer service and sales