Deanna Fry joined the plastics industry out of high school; her first role was in injection molding.
"It is a challenging industry, traditionally male-dominated. I believed I had the leadership and technical skills to be an impact player to the team and the company," she said. "I was searching for an opportunity to have a long-term career in the industry."
As the continuous improvement manager for automotive supplier Continental Structural Plastics Inc.'s plant in North Baltimore, Ohio, Fry develops cost-savings strategies, assists with creative solutions that improve processes throughout the workforce, empowers the workforce through kaizen events and trains the operational excellence systems.
Career highlights for Fry include developing and leading cross-functional teams through successful launches; adapting through organizational changes; and receiving certification in Six Sigma green belt, Kepner-Tregoe and TWI.
Fry launched the Jeep Gladiator JT program with zero safety and quality issues while meeting a rapid launch curve on a high-profile vehicle. She also was the plant leader of the pilot plant helping to develop the management operating system.
She is interested in digital technology and automation: "In the world of instant feedback and communication, the need for real-time feedback on performance as well as business issues is more prevalent. In reference to new product introduction technology, it is critical to remain competitive in the volatile industry."
The mold Fry breaks is "continued success through the industry on many levels" without having a college degree.
"Don't limit yourself with constraints," she said. "I believe education is very important; however, it can't be a constraint. Don't discount experience."
Fry was nominated by Kim Zitny, director of corporate communications for CSP.
Q: If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Fry: Gather a cross-functional team to create a program and process that coaches and teaches the elements of the "human experience" on all levels. We must teach and empower each other to gain the positive influence with the hourly workforce and amongst ourselves.
Q: What job do you really want to have in the future?
Fry: A career that allows me to help coach, mentor and empower the workforce no matter what title they have. My career goal is not centered on money; it is about the impact I contribute to people I interact with on a daily basis.
Q: What has been the biggest impact or challenge on your career from the coronavirus pandemic?
Fry: Losing the empowerment and hands-on experience with the employees in the manufacturing processes. I had to become more of an influencer to drive engagement.