In his own words: Thomas Ross, President, Fairview Manufacturing Corporation
What or who fueled your interest in manufacturing?
What drew me to a career in manufacturing/supply chain was that it provided new challenges on a daily basis. It allows me to collaborate with cross functional teams to solve problems, which ultimately helps the organization perform more efficiently and more effectively to meet customer demand.
What is your current role in manufacturing?
In my current manufacturing role as President of Fairview Manufacturing Corporation, I am responsible for each aspect of the supply chain/ value chain. I work directly with customers to offer machining solutions which will add value to their product offerings. I review drawings, product requirements, source material, and schedule the operations required to produce the finished good. There are also aspects of my role which go beyond manufacturing/supply chain. I manage the finances of the organization, which include budgeting, account payable, accounts receivables, and forecasting. I also lead the strategic growth objectives of the company through business development initiatives.
Describe your path to get to where you are today.
I graduated from Gannon University with my Bachelors of Science in Business, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA). I have had multiple individual contributor roles and leadership positions in the supply chain. I began my career in customer service/inside sales. I worked directly with customers and internal teams to see that our customers were receiving the products they needed, when they needed them. I spent time as a production planner to understand how products move through the value stream and become a finished good. I also had various leadership roles in sourcing and customer service. Each experience that I had the opportunity have has led me to where I am today. Having a holistic vantage point of the supply chain has really allowed me to understand that each section/department plays a critical role in a company’s success.
What is your Superpower?
I am not sure I would say I have a super power. I do believe I have a couple of strengths that allow me to excel in the roles I have had in manufacturing/ supply chain. I am a strong believer in Servant Leadership, and have applied that to each role I have been in. I do not underestimate the skills surrounding emotional intelligence and humility, as well as those around being team player.
Why is your role important to others – like to customers or end users?
The best way I can illustrate my answer is to perceive the global supply chain as a very large team. To be successful, every member of the team must perform his/her task to the best of their abilities. The team must leverage each of its members strengths in order to succeed. I view my role as me being a member of a large team, and my other teammates rely on me to leverage my strengths, so that we can succeed in the marketplace. One aspect of manufacturing I haven’t mentioned, but is extremely important, is safety. In my role I am responsible for the safety of the people I lead. I must ensure that our facility follows industry standard safety requirements. I take this responsibility very serious, as my employees families count on them returning home from work each day the way they left it.
What do you think the future holds for your career or others you inspire?
It is hard to say what the future holds for me in my career. What I can do is keep a positive attitude and remain hungry (intrinsically motivated & diligent), humble (team player who is confident, but not arrogant) and smart (emotional intelligence & interpersonal awareness). I feel that if I continue with this belief system and work on being a better version of myself each day, then I will look back and be proud of the career I have had, no matter where I end up.