Workforce Survivalist

Workforce Survivalist

How one worker has lasted four decades with the same manufacturer.

The days of the 30-plus-year plant-floor veteran seem numbered. Replaced by automated processes or lower-wage workers in developing countries, plant operations' staffs are smaller and more skilled than previous generations. The transition makes Gaston Pelletier's milestone anniversary with a small Farmington, Conn., precision parts manufacturer particularly noteworthy. Pelletier is the lean manufacturing director at $35 million Connecticut Spring and Stamping Corp, and in March he celebrated 40 years with the 320-employee company.

He began his career at Connecticut Spring and Stamping after a four-year toolmaker apprenticeship. He then spent the next 20 years as an engineer and designer. In the following years he took on more leadership positions before assuming his current role in 2006. Pelletier says his rise through the ranks and longevity at the company are due to his ambitious nature -- a trait more manufacturing workers need to adopt if they want to survive in the business, he believes.

Gaston Pelletier, lean manufacturing director, Connecticut Spring and Stamping Corp.
"If you do not reinvent yourself every two or three years, you will be out of work," he says. "So every time an opportunity came by I [taught myself]."

Pelletier says he took advantage of educational opportunities offered by the company over the years. He is now responsible for driving continuous-improvement projects, including waste reduction and value-stream mapping. His challenge to newcomers: "If you want my job, take it, because hopefully I'll have gone on by that time to another venture."

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