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A woman with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering applied for a job at McDonalds because it was the highest paying position in her job search.
Paulina Tompea, now plant manager at Wilo USA, a provider of pumps and pump solutions for building services, water management and groundwater, was recognized as one of the 2016 “Faces of Manufacturing” by the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech.
Faces of Manufacturing in Georgia selects one manufacturing professional each month to recognize based on his or her work and leadership in the industry.
Tompea is the plant manager at Wilo’s Thomasville, Georgia facility. Her unique and diverse career experiences, as well as her lifelong commitment to building stronger teams and processes and driving the success of individuals were all factors in her being named the Face of Manufacturing for November.
Tompea’s unique career path began in Timi?oara, Romania, where she completed her Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1996. Due to the fall of the Communist government, U.S. companies began to open in Romania. Tompea accepted a job at a newly opened McDonald’s restaurant as a store manager, where her leadership experiences helped shape her management style throughout her career. Subsequently, she gained experience leading a business unit of nearly 1,000 people at Solectron Electronics, another American company that had recently opened in Romania.
Tompea relocated to the U.S. and first accepted a position at an electronics assembly plant in Arizona. In 2007, she moved to Cairo, Georgia and became the plant manager for Wilo’s Thomasville facility. Tompea’s work in implementing the Wilo Production system (WPS), which adapts principles of lean manufacturing, helped transform the plant’s processes. Tompea and her team conducted projects with WPS Group support and GaMEP to streamline the plant layout, put up controls for visual processes, and provide cross-training.
“I’m driven by success and the success of other people,” Tompea explains. “It’s why working in manufacturing where there is the opportunity for constant improvement is so gratifying. To see people change and grow is the biggest success you can have.”
Tompea’s work at the Thomasville plant has made her team a benchmark of success for Wilo. To read more of Tompea’s story, or to see other 2016 Faces of Manufacturing, click here.