Plant manager, Performance Engineered Products
Diana Krone, 42, is plant manager at Performance Engineered Products (PEP) in Ponoma, Calif. She started in the plastics industry in 1996 after her previous employer moved to Texas. Then 21, she began going to work with her mother, Ellen Krone, who was chief operating office at National Scientific in Claremont, Calif. The younger Krone advanced quickly to scheduling clean room production. A search for a clerical job with less stress brought her to PEP, where she worked in purchasing and shipping before being promoted 6 years after she was hired to plant manager of the custom molding facility.
Krone oversees a busy 24-7 weekday operation with 29 injection molding machines that often run on weekends. She also helped the business implement ISO certification for quality management and employee incentives.
Q: What was your first plastics job and why were you interested in the industry?
Krone: My first plastics job was with National Scientific Supply Co. Inc., a biomedical manufacturer. I enjoy the process of watching a plan go from print to part. I think planning and scheduling is rewarding.
Q: What was your greatest achievement?
Krone: I'd say implementing operator levels for achievement. Each operator is able to reach the level they desire with the associated pay. This helps create a great working environment.
Q: What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
Krone: I don't like to lose an employee through termination or a customer from lack of connection with PEP. I feel it is my responsibility to provide our employees with the information and encouragement to become successful. I also want to create a partnership with our customers that encourages communication through tough circumstances.
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
Krone: We have moved over 250 molds from another custom molder that went out of business. I have the task of successfully implementing these customers, molds and associated items into our system and create a great result.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Krone: We are interested in automotive and medical markets.
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Krone: I'm surprised to see jobs returning from China more and more as well as the desire from buyers to have them return.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Krone: I think and feel the advice that has advanced me in my life is the simplest: Do your best. This is so simple yet a lot of people do not follow this.
Q: What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the plastics industry?
Krone: I think the plastics industry is a growing industry with potential to advance your learning almost daily. I would recommend the industry to someone motivated to learn and do their best. It is a tough market in the U.S. and especially in California.
Q: If you were CEO of a company what would you do first?
Krone: I do not wish to be a CEO. If I were, I would operate the same way I am now.
Q: Who is your mentor, or someone you look up to?
Krone: My mom. She was also in the plastics industry. She was a production manager and COO before she retired. My mom did not show me the way by training but rather by her actions. She has always been a dedicated and driven woman and I take after her in that way.
Q: What job do you really want to have in the future?
Krone: I'd like to keep this job. I enjoy working for PEP. PEP is 100 percent female owned. Our CFO is a female as well. Our CEO provides us with challenges and rewards. Our working environment could not be better.
Q: What do you do to relax?
Krone: I try to keep up with sleep as much as possible. Sleep allows for a better outlook. I also travel.