Janice Brandenburg started at automotive supplier Continental Structural Plastics Inc. in 2018. She had worked in automotive manufacturing plants for years but with different types of materials. This was her first position in the plastics industry.
"Going from aluminum chassis parts to plastics was not a big jump because both have the same customers," she said.
Brandenburg received a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Ark. After graduating from college, she was promoted from her position as an accounting clerk to accounting manager within three weeks.
"I was forced to learn everything fast, and it sped up climbing the career ladder," she said. "I was a plant controller within three years."
As plant controller of CSP in Sarepta, La., Brandenburg handles financial reporting, budgets, forecasting, general ledger maintenance, job costing, cost controlling and more.
Brandenburg said her greatest accomplishment has been attending college and graduating in four years while raising her son. She started college six years after graduating high school.
"It was hard work, but it paid off," she said. "I went several days with little sleep so my studying didn't interfere with our time together. I am exactly where I want to be."
When she was promoted to accounting manager, she worked closely with the controller, Cyndie Campbell, who has since passed away.
"She was harsh and truthful, and an amazing woman," Brandenburg said. "She took me under her wing and taught me everything I know. I learned more in four years with her than I did four years in college."
The best advice she has received came from her father, who passed away from COVID-19: "My dad always said, 'You accepted a job with specific tasks to be completed at a specific rate of pay. Don't break that agreement, don't compare yourself with others, don't whine. Do your job.'"
Asked what position she would like to have in the future, Brandenburg said she's in her dream role.
"Plant controller was my goal, and I have reached it," she said. "Working with great people is just icing on the cake."
Brandenburg was nominated by Kim Zitny, director of global communications for CSP.
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
Brandenburg: My biggest challenge at this moment is having so many tasks going on at the same time. We are expanding our plant, plus we go live on the new QAD EE software soon. I am juggling these new responsibilities with my normal work so it gets tedious and chaotic at times. Thankfully I have a lot of support from our plant manager and staff.
Q: What is the most unexpected thing you learned from the pandemic?
Brandenburg: My coworkers are like family, I do not like working from home, and we are very strong and caring people.
Q: What is your personal "mold" that you are breaking?
Brandenburg: Quantity vs. quality. I am almost there. Sometimes I go too fast in my work, which results in errors. I have been working hard to really check my work, and then recheck my work, and slow down.