Economic Impact

“The Thing About Plastics Is It’s Never the Same.”

Bev Burton thought she’d be working at Manar Inc., a plastics manufacturing company, for two weeks. She’s been there for 36 years, having moved from the late shift to the head of quality control.

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It was 1981, and Bev Burton was bored.

After starting an office job, she quickly found that it wasn’t for her. “It was really boring,” she said. “I like to move around and be active, so I quit.”

When she applied at Manar, she wasn’t even entirely sure what the company made there. “I knew it was some kind of factory,” she said. “I was only going to work here for a few weeks until I moved on.”

Her first night on the job, her supervisor put her on a press, injection molding dozens and dozens of plastic towel hooks, the kind you might have a towel hanging on in your bathroom right now. She said she’d been surprised to learn after her second or third night that she’d set a record, finishing a couple of more boxes than anyone ever had.

The key thing about operating a press like that is you have to get into the groove. Once I got going, I was just kicking them out. They thought I had made a bunch of defective parts, but they were all good.

While she was excellent at her job, Bev wasn’t satisfied with staying in one role. She found opportunities to explore all kinds of positions at Manar—her career journey took her through practically all the company’s operations.

Today, Bev is head of corporate quality at Manar, a fitting job for someone so skilled in manufacturing and efficiency. Instead of operating a press, Burton manages the press operators. “The people out there running the presses are the ones that make the items,” she said. “They need to be happy, and you need to be attuned to them and get people together to accomplish what we need to accomplish as a team.”

Looking back on her years in the workforce with pride, Bev noted that she wasn’t sure her career would’ve been the same had she not worked in plastics. “The thing about plastics is it’s never the same,” she said. “Most other jobs you have this focus, and once you got into that field, you’re in it for good. Here, if I work as a press operator, I can move myself all the way up to quality if I can show those skills and do the work. There’s not many jobs you can say that about anymore.”

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