Jane Clawson-Palfi has associate degrees in plastics technology and technical drafting and tool design from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., as well as a bachelor's degree in plastics engineering technology from Ferris State and an MBA in global management from the University of Phoenix.
She has held positions as senior project engineer, program manager, and launch and industrial manager for Marelli Automotive Lighting, previously Automotive Lighting, in Auburn Hills, Mich., and Juárez, Mexico, and as operations manager for SL Tennessee in Clinton, Tenn. She is now director of operations for MMI Engineered Solutions, a custom injection molder based in Saline, Mich.
Clawson-Palfi said her greatest achievement has been successfully completing expansions of lighting plants at Automotive Lighting and SL Tennessee, which included multiple time-dependent program launches.
She continuously plans actions today based on "what is needed two or three steps ahead."
"Whether it is at work or personal goals, this approach keeps me focused on maintaining aggressive goals," she said.
Clawson-Palfi is interested in workstation automation and "how to reduce operator impact on subjective quality issues."
Clawson-Palfi said she has her sights set on operations vice president next.
If she were to lead a company, she would "identify gaps in the talent to balance workloads between key individuals ... to ensure the teams are working together at the same pace toward a common goal."
"The endless opportunities for improvement [and] continue to keep me on my toes," she said. "There are always opportunities to grow professionally and find better, faster, cheaper ways to execute solutions."
Q: What is your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
Clawson-Palfi: A product that made it to the customer with incorrect legal markings. The lesson was it is time critical to come forward, own up to the failure and implement a corrective action as quickly and accurately possible to recover the situation.
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
Clawson-Palfi: The pandemic uncertainty has created uncertainty across all departments. People are slowing down when making decisions and hesitant to keep the sense of urgency at the level required to pull through these tough times.
Q: What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the plastics industry?
Clawson-Palfi: There are endless opportunities to fit all personality types.
Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
Clawson-Palfi: My mother has always been my mentor as she always had a career that she had frequent upward growth while balancing home life. She was a nurse that grew into a management position, which eventually grew into a CEO position in a hospice startup. Through her career she set high expectations as well as aggressive targets. I believe this is where I have learned this behavior that has allowed me to continually grow.
Q: What do you do to relax?
Clawson-Palfi: To relax, I ride my road bike or open-water swim long distances. The challenge of going further each time continues to push me to my next limit.