Why we are here

May 2, 2003

How did you find your way to this day in your life? What combination of inclinations, talents and circumstances brought you to a career in plant maintenance? Why aren't you working on an assembly line or engineering automobiles or running a motel?

I'm willing to bet you started early, taking your toys apart, fixing what you could and trying to understand what you couldn't. Maybe, like me, you helped your dad around the house, repairing faucet leaks, sticking doors, peeling paint, broken lamps. Did you hand him wrenches while he sweated through replacing exhaust systems and water pumps? Or help feed new wires while he pulled them through a conduit run?

Do you remember when you first laid your hands on your own tools and made a necessary or important improvement to a piece of your world?

As you grew up, did you notice when your bits and pieces of information started coalescing into understanding and knowledge? When a complex schematic became no more daunting than an Iowa highway map? When you knew you'd have to pay attention to the end play, knew the spec and knew what it should feel like before you put the first socket on your ratchet?

Along the way we found the joy of the smooth-running machine, the satisfaction of doing something to make it even smoother and the pride of doing it ourselves. We fed our curiosity about how things work, learned to spot strengths and weaknesses and devoted ourselves to making and keeping the assets entrusted to us as right as we possibly can.

But admit it, maintaining the status quo has never been quite enough, has it? The real attraction of this business is the chance to make things better. On a good day, that might mean eking out one more percent of average time covered by specific work orders. On a bad day, it could be getting the blown bearings that shut down Line 3 replaced moments before the plant manager calls to find out what the hell is going on.

No two days are the same. The heartbeats of daily rounds and preventive maintenance are interspersed with urgent news of impending problems and punctuated with breakdowns: the sweet and sour moments that offer the opportunities to shine in the midst of failure.

Still, I ask you, who doesn't love the smell of ozone in the morning?

As you strive to improve plant operations on a daily basis, we want to work with you by making Plant Services more useful. Are there any particular subjects you want us to explore? What new resources would you like to find between these covers? Anything you wish we would eliminate? Your advice, comments, and criticism can help us serve your needs more precisely.

It's our job to hand you the right tools. Please don't hesitate to call or write.

Contact Paul Studebaker at 630-467-1300 ext. 433; e-mail: [email protected].


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