Edison Product, WCI, Frigidaire Introduction!

20 Apr

The first company that I worked for changed names a few times, they had hired me fresh out of engineering school as a Manufacturing & Methods Engineer & then changed the title to Advanced Manufacturing engineer.

No matter what the reader gets out of my stories about the people &/or the company here, I want to make it clear that I have only respect for people at WCI, and appreciate that they included me in their struggles against political & technical issues that they had to deal with.

I spent five years at this company, my standard working hours were 7 AM to 7 PM, many week ends I was called to work, and there were days that I was called to work @4AM, & had to stay till 10 PM, & occasionally I spent the night at work, working on presentations for corporate office of course. That was the price I was paying for being an Iranian without green card working as an engineer.

I was hired to fill a methods & manufacturing engineering position, upgrading old methods & equipment. As soon I started one of the senior engineers left the department & I was asked to take over his responsibilities till they found a replacement, & of course I ended up with managing his projects as well as mine, for the rest of my time there, & to make it worse my manager added to my responsibilities after a couple of years.

Work environment was tough, people took their jobs serious, & worked very hard all day, but often gathered in a local bar to have a drink together & break through the built up tension. I just could not be insulted or hurt, when the paint line /press room supervisor, Charley Angelo would blow off  his cap & scream at me that another piece of the equipment is down, or parts are not being cleaned, …. Charley was one of the supervisors working with me, I had to support his department, resolving all equipment maintenance, & parts delivery & quality issues (in-house & purchased). He was sweet & polite, unless he would see a sign that something is going to slow his operations down, then he would start screaming & cursing just like an authentic Italian! He would drag me out of bed 4 AM, if he had to. Having some real old equipment in his departments, that used to happen more than we wanted it to, in fact some of my projects were replacing his old equipment with new ones.

After two years there, I found myself managing the paint line, heat exchanger cleaning system, managing dehumidifier heat exchanger operations, managing modernization projects in “injection molding department, as well as in press room, tubing department, & assembly lines (200 to 300 operators/each, depending on rate & season, if my memory serves me right!)”. I was also managing the five-year plan for the automation projects, I & other engineers managed the related capital investment projects & prepared presentations for corporate to get authorization for expenditure, we were all very busy. For sure there were no worries about shortage of work, or what would be next, once one project is completed!!!

The story was that the plant we were using to build room air conditioners & dehumidifiers, was originally designed to build TVs, but transformed / modified, & many equipment were quite old. In addition we had Japanese competitors & needed to improve quality & reduce cost.

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One Response to “Edison Product, WCI, Frigidaire Introduction!”

  1. Joe Hilliard November 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Did you deal with refrigeration systems in any of those product lines? I had been working at a leading supplier of refrigeration service valves. What are you thoughts on Eli Goldratt/Theory of Constraints?

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