Linetec People to Know: Brandon Slowiak

BradonSlowiakQ: Tell me about your job

A: I am the Continuous Improvement (CI) Manager here at Linetec. The primary function of the role is to drive process improvements throughout the company to make everyone’s job as safe, efficient and cost effective as possible. While many people are responsible for their own individual projects, I oversee all completed, active and potential projects to ensure we are meeting the savings targets that we are anticipating. In addition to that, I am responsible for training of Lean and Six Sigma processes, along with leading or facilitating Kaizen, A3 and other process improvement events to drive impactful change.

Use-Whole-Family-on-Deck-webQ: What did you do prior to Linetec?

A: I graduated from UW Stout in 2011 with a manufacturing engineering degree and a business administration minor. Directly out of college, I began working for Parker Hannifin, Hose Products Division, in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. I worked as a process engineer for one year, where I had an awesome opportunity to go to Germany for two weeks to do capability testing on a new machine we were buying from one of our robotic suppliers. After that first year, I got into the operations side of the business. In operations, I served as a supervisor or manager in several facilities and cities including: Manitowoc, Wisconsin; Manhattan, Kansas; and Davenport, Iowa.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

A: I am still very new to the role, so I can’t say I have a favorite part yet. However, the thing that I love about CI is the ability to create better working environments for people by helping them overcome the barriers that make their jobs difficult. I love getting a group together and brainstorming creative solutions to difficult problems. Having a team that challenges each other to think outside the box and builds on each other’s ideas is a very exciting and rewarding experience.

Muddy Tough MudderQ: What poses the biggest challenges for you?

A: My current biggest challenge is getting acclimated with new people, processes, job environment, culture and understanding my job role within all of that. Although I have been in manufacturing my entire career, everything in the finishing industry is new for me. The CI role itself is new for me as well, despite having extensive experience with Lean in my previous engineering and managerial roles. The great thing about this role is that it exposes me to every area of the business, and I am trying to learn as much as possible. My first goal is to keep an already solid CI program running smoothly. Secondly, I understand the need to push the team to challenge the status quo to keep us on the forefront of change in a very challenging and competitive market.

Q: What is something you are looking forward to?

A: It has already been an extremely busy summer filled with friends and family gatherings, weddings or showers seemingly every other weekend, and moving into our new house and community. However, there still are a few things I am looking forward to. Every year in  August we go camping in the U.P. on Lake Superior with my wife’s family, which is always fun and relaxing. I am also a huge football fan, so I always look forward to football season starting up again. In fact, we went to the first pre-season game on Aug. 9, which is always an awesome experience. Next up will be our daughter’s first birthday in October.

Use - Davenport Volleyball TeamQ: What is something people don’t know about you?

A: I am a very active person and try to work out 5+ days a week. I also love to play recreational sports. I enjoy softball, volleyball, flag football, golf, bean bags, bowling and really anything semi-competitive that I can do with a group of people. I have also done three Tough Mudders, which involves running 10+ miles and overcoming 20+ obstacles, and plan to do more in the future. I’m always up for a new challenge or competition.

Q: If Linetec gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those three days?

A: If I had a little time to plan, I would probably use two more days of PTO and go on a week-long vacation with my wife to somewhere tropical. We have been so busy over the last few years with moving, starting different jobs and starting a family, that we haven’t had time since our honeymoon to go somewhere to just enjoy each other.

Jamaica-Date-Night-webQ: What always cheers you up when you think about it?

A: My family. My lovely wife, Sam, and I have been married for going on four years in August. She is a high school art teacher at Wausau West. Last October, we had our first child together. Her name is Brinley Linae and I can’t believe she is nine months old already. She is developing quite the personality and is absolutely adorable. We also have a three-year-old Yorkshire Terrier who loves his “little” sister, playing fetch and sleeping between my legs at night so I can never get comfortable.

Linetec adds three associates to growing team – Brandon Slowiak as continuous improvement manager, Cody Horne as manufacturing engineer, Tad Klabacha as senior technical engineer

Wausau, Wisconsin (May 2018) – Three new associates have joined Linetec to support the company’s continued growth and its customers’ ongoing need for high-quality, high-performance, finished, architectural aluminum products. Brandon Slowiak started his role as a continuous improvement manager, Cody Horne as a manufacturing engineer and Tad Klabacha as a senior technical engineer.

BradonSlowiak

Brandon Slowiak

In his role as continuous improvement manager, Slowiak reports to Linetec’s vice president of operations Andy Joswiak. He is responsible for leading the company’s Lean initiatives and continuous improvement training and activities, inspiring a culture of continuous improvement, and driving results through ongoing process improvements.

Most recently, Slowiak worked as a value stream manager at Parker Hannifin Corporation, a global leader in motion and control technologies. Seven years ago, he began with the company as a process engineer and earned progressively more challenging roles while gaining experience in operations. Certified as a high performance team coach, he has led Lean manufacturing training programs. In addition to his knowledge of Lean, he has a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering with a minor in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He currently lives in Wausau.

Cody Horne-5-2018

Cody Horne

Horne also is a University of Wisconsin graduate and lives in Wausau. He graduated from Marathon County with an associate’s degree and from Platteville with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. His professional engineering experience includes positions at Greenheck Fan Corporation, Neenah Paper, Hydratight and most recently, as a product engineer with custom hydraulic cylinder manufacturer JARP Industries, Inc. At Linetec, he will focus on continually and cost-effectively improving the manufacturing process. He reports to Bob Laduron, Linetec’s quality and process improvement manager.

TadKlabacha

Tad Klabacha

Also reporting to Laduron, Klabacha also will recommend and implement continuous improvements through value-focused manufacturing processes. Drawing from more than a decade of experience in manufacturing, he previously worked at Vista Outdoor’s Federal Cartridge Company as a manufacturing engineering supervisor responsible for managing a 17-person team. He holds several technical certificates including as a Six Sigma Green Belt and for Lean manufacturing. He graduated from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. He relocated from the Twin Cities to the Wausau area.

Learn more about joining Linetec’s growing team of associates by visiting www.linetec.com and clicking “Employment.”

Located in Wisconsin, Linetec serves customers across the country, finishing such products as aluminum windows, wall systems, doors, hardware and other architectural metal components, as well as automotive, marine and manufactured consumer goods. The company is a subsidiary of Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: APOG).

Linetec is a member of the Aluminum Anodizers Council (AAC), the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Association of Licensed Architects (ALA), the Glass Association of North America (GANA), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA).

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