Stephen Huvane entered the packaging industry after nearly five years of active duty service in the Army. He knew next to nothing about the packaging industry but was eager to learn with a company that has a long-standing reputation and employees with decades of knowledge, which is why he joined Precision Automation in 2015 as a project manager. Now Huvane works as a marketing coordinator and sales support specialist, and was recently chosen for the additional role of quality manager. His road up until now has been far from the “normal path” most employees at Precision Automation might take, but he thoroughly enjoys the opportunities it has provided him.
What are some notable obstacles your company faces and how are you helping them adapt?
One of the obstacles that we face is our age gap in our workforce. In 2015, I came into the company as one of the few younger employees, whereas a lot of our sales force and members of our machine shop are older, much more experienced, and have been with us for decades. In trying to pass off the knowledge that has been accumulated and utilized over a wide span of time to a new generation of millennials, there are natural challenges that arise. Every chance I get, I try and pull knowledge and experience from the people who have been here for such a long time; and then I look for how we can evolve and shape our company’s operations
to bridge the gap. It’s important for OEMs to keep in mind that just because we have done something for 40 to 50 years, it doesn’t mean we should do
it that way now. We have to constantly adapt and evolve.
What advice would you offer to other emerging leaders like yourself?
When coming into a new role or moving up in a company, I would recommend keeping an open mind and accepting the many hats that you might have to wear. On any given day, I could be doing several different tasks that have nothing to do with each other, but I love that. It gives me the opportunity to learn from an administrator, an engineer, a salesperson, and other people I may not usually have daily contact with otherwise. If you have the power, try not to get complacent or pigeonholed into one role. If you want to participate in other aspects of the business, communicate that and let your supervisor know. Participating in different departments is a great way to learn more about the industry and your company.
As more millennials enter the workforce, what should managers know?
Management should let younger applicants know that this is a huge opportunity to learn, but also an opportunity to bring forth innovative ideas and that they shouldn’t be shy about asking questions. If younger employees have an idea of improving a process, management should listen because one simple concept might be enough to change an entire service to help a company take leaps ahead and modernize more than they previously thought.
As a way to recognize young talent making their mark on the packaging and processing industries, PMMI set out to find 10 rising stars. OEM Magazine spoke with each On the Rise Award winner to find out where they think the industry is heading, how they have overcome obstacles in their careers and how the industry can better accommodate incoming generations to bridge the skills gap. Learn more about PMMI’s On the Rise Awards, and see the other winners.