“Never let your persistence and passion turn into stubbornness and ignorance.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo
Persistence is not letting inclement weather keep you from taking a hike through the mountains. Stubbornness is refusing to take an umbrella. There is a fine line between those two things; persistence and stubbornness. In fact, the line is so thin that it is hard for a person to self-declare that they are one or the other. We usually need others to tell us.
Lisa Willhite finds herself in a position here at Eminence where she often needs to be persistent. Stubbornness would certainly not do. But she often has to see things through and make sure that they are correct. She often has to be the communicator for various departments and people. When problems arise in production, they often call for Lisa.
Her supervisor, Tom James, has this to say of Lisa: “Lisa Willhite came to the Product Design department from the production environment. We benefit greatly from that shared knowledge: It is an essential element in designing new product. That experience, coupled with her hard-working attitude and concern for product quality, makes for a great combination.”
I sat down with Lisa to discuss her time here at Eminence.
JM: Lisa, how long have you been here at Eminence?
LW: I’ve been here for 20 years.
JM: Tell me a little about how you got to where you are now.
LW: Well, I started out working in production on the final lines. I moved around some to different departments in the first 10 years. I also worked in the Voice Coil Department, Compression Driver Department, and the Box Line. I’ve spent the last 10 years in the Lab as a Lab Technician.
JM: How did you wind up in the Lab?
LW: They posted a job bid for the position. I was wanting to do something different from what I had been doing and knew that this would be a challenge. So I signed the job bid and won the bid.
JM: What had you done prior to working here at Eminence?
LW: I worked at the old Brunswick factory for 10 years. I left there to come to Eminence because this was the place to work. I hate to say it this way but it used to be that someone had to die or retire before there was even a possibility of getting on here. When the opportunity came to better myself, I took it.
JM: What does a normal day look like for you and what are your job responsibilities as a the Senior Lab Technician?
LW: My day is usually very hectic. We have many customers that require various forms of testing for each order that we run for them. We do that testing in the Lab. We power test speakers to make sure that they meet their power ratings. We also build samples for all of our OEM customers here. Basically anything that ever goes into mass production, we have built it first in the Lab.
JM: I know that you guys often do some quality control things as well.
LW: Yes. We often get called to the production lines to “ok” or inspect certain things that might raise concern with an order. We will help out our QA department with things like this.
JM: What are some things that you’ve seen change in your time here?
LW: Our Engineering Department is more team-oriented than it has been in the past. We really work well as a team. It seems like people are being utilized better now than in the past as well. The production layout is structured better to allow for better efficiency. It has just taken some time to try things out and see what works best. We are always learning ways to do things better.
JM: You hardly hear of people staying at one job for 20 years anymore. What are some of the things that keep people like you here for 20 years?
LW: The benefits here are really, really good. I don’t think people realize how good our insurance plan is. The 4-day work week is nice too. It’s nice to have a three day weekend on most weekends. There are some great people here too; they are like family.
JM: What kind of qualities do you think people need to have to work here and what advice would you give newly hired employees?
LW: You need to be a team player. It is crucial to what we do here. You can’t be working against each other. And I would recommend that they not get comfortable in one department. Learn all that you can about our processes. Learn how things work and why we do the things we do.
JM: Thanks for your time, Lisa!