Katie Fazekas is fabrication manager at Engineered Profiles LLC.
Fazekas, who was incarcerated in a state prison for 17 months, got hired through the Ohio's Training Assessment and Placement Project, or TAPP. She's thankful for the second chance that TAPP offers.
"I came out [of prison] at rock bottom. It taught me that nobody is above the rules, grace is truly the greatest gift a person can be given, and that if you're willing to work for it, then rock bottom never has to be final destination," she said.
TAPP works with the Ohio Department of Corrections to pair ex-low-level offenders with Ohio manufacturers. Engineered Profiles' marketing director, Erik Tait, and Fazekas would not give details of her offense.
But she's glad to get a second chance, and as Fazekas was about to hit her one-year anniversary at Engineered Profiles on July 11, she said she is looking toward the future.
"I have proven to myself that a mistake doesn't define who you are and that a failure is only a failure of you fail to learn from it," she said.
"I started out as a fabrication associate," she said. "I had no knowledge of the industry at all. I needed a job that I hoped would turn into a career, and Engineered Profiles provided me with that," Fazekas said. Then she moved up to fabrication specialist, fabrication night-shift supervisor and then finally her current job.
The fabrication department takes extruded parts that need a secondary process, such as assembly, cutting to different lengths or making holes in them. They also do some kitting, and some finished parts are shipped directly to a customer warehouse, she said.
As fabrication manager, Fazekas handles scheduling and on-time delivery. "I also work with quality to get good products, and then I troubleshoot any issue," she said.
She overlaps her workday between day shift and part of night shift, "to try to keep the ball rolling and the momentum."
Fazekas, 34, was a high school basketball and softball coach. She said that helps in a manufacturing environment.
"The greatest challenge is simply learning the best way to manage the department to maximum efficiency, while never losing sight of the individuals that make that happen. It's no different than any other team. We are only as successful as those we lead," she said.
Fazekas is very interested in helping expand the IQMS system the Columbus, Ohio-based Engineered Profiles uses. The goal is to have plant-floor employees log information about finished goods as they complete them, rather than at the end of the 12-hour shift. "It's a process in the making. It's just real entry-level now," she said.
Engineered Profiles is an enthusiastic TAPP supporter. Tait said Fazekas is an asset to the custom extruder. "It's amazing the things she's done in the fab department," he said.
She looks up to Vickie Miller, founder of the TAPP program.
"She believed in me from the first time she met me, and she has not only opened doors for me, but she's walked through them right along beside me. She believes in giving people the second chance, and she does her best to help those who are willing to help themselves," she said.
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