What started out as a daydream became a reality for me as I transitioned from shop-floor supervisor to the IT team.
I was a machine shop supervisor at UEA. I had a skilled team of dedicated workers that would do whatever was asked. The support of the management team never wavered. I enjoyed the rhythm of the machine shop; safety commitment, schedule attainment, routine meetings, action plans, follow-ups, tooling and capital improvements, the list continued. I was also a member of the plant’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) team where I interacted with the planning and scheduling system. Really, there was nothing more that I could ask for from my current role.
But in the manufacturing world, data is needed to drive decisions. I often found myself digging into data and spreadsheets, learning new skills to achieve desired formats and results. In what would soon become a daily endeavor, acquiring and presenting data, my mind gradually became accustomed to envisioning new career possibilities.
As the company continued to grow, the need for accurate reporting and formatting data from the system kept pace. In late 2018, UEA created a position for an ERP Support Specialist with the goal of onboarding an individual with an IT background. The main points of the job description included support of the current ERP system, development of reports using SQL along with other reporting software, and an overall commitment to the IT department’s initiatives.
When I read the job posting, I was immediately intrigued. I lacked IT training and experience but had a strong grasp of the ERP system and UEA’s product line. I sought out advice from members of the management team to see if I would be a potential fit, and I was encouraged to apply. Armed only with a desire to learn and tenacity to never give up on challenges, I applied for the ERP specialist role. A focused interview with HR and IT team leadership soon followed. I also took a skill assessment. In the end, I was offered the ERP Specialist position.
UEA believes in hiring for culture and training for skill. My transition into this new IT role fits this model.
I have been blessed with this opportunity to learn new skills that will support the IT department and ultimately benefit UEA. I credit the UEA management team for recognizing my potential and offering me the chance to be a part of the UEA IT team. I continue to expand my knowledge of database management through SQL and other reporting software. Addressing daily questions about the ERP system also remains a focal point of my position. My skill training continues, and the excitement of new challenges never ends. I miss the daily interactions with the shop floor team members but strive to improve the decision-making process by extracting and reporting accurate data for UEA stakeholders and decision-makers.