Jodi Poulson has been with automotive supplier Continental Structural Plastics Inc.'s plant in Van Wert, Ohio, for 25 years in September, a milestone she calls her career highlight.
"I have been with this plant for 25 of my 29 years out of college. I have grown with this plant through three name changes over these years," the controller said. "I truly enjoy having the respect of my employees, co-workers, managers, peers at other locations as well as the corporate office. Having them ask me for assistance gives me satisfaction in my performance and abilities. That would be my career highlight."
Other achievements include growing with the company, initially responsible for one SMC plant producing 81 million pounds, approximately 25 formulations, for three sister plants and one outside sales customer to now two SMC plants producing 161 million pounds, approximately 70 formulations, for 10 sister plants and 18 outside sales customers.
With the international plants growing, Poulson asked to assist the Pouancé, France, controller with training and support as they got their operations running. She worked with the accountant and materials for the Grabill, Ind., and Van Wert facilities' recent implementation of QAD Enterprise Edition and enterprise asset management purchasing system.
As controller, Poulson is responsible for maintaining and reporting all financial aspects of the Grabill and Van Wert SMC manufacturing operations, including budgeting, tracking variances, establishing costs for new products, maintaining capital records and providing plant managers with performance stats. She also works with corporate engineering and sales departments to review costs and selling prices for SMC products.
The current "market chaos" is a challenge for Poulson right now.
"With raw material prices changing daily, it is a struggle to keep up the data and reporting for all who truly need it to make important decisions within our organization," she said.
Poulson graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in business administration.
"This industry has been a great place to work," she said. "As with any position, you can get out of it what you are willing to put in. There are so many opportunities to anyone who wants to grow. You just need to work hard and look. This is an ever-changing field with new technology and environmental regulations, so you must be willing to adjust as well."
Poulson was nominated by Kim Zitny, director of global communications for CSP.
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Poulson: Because I started here when it was a much smaller organization, I guess the amount of change that has occurred in the past 25 years surprises me. The model changes that require new formulations and molds. The constantly changing raw materials and formulations that go into new models each year. As an accountant, I just thought we would make the same material forever and just shape it into a different vehicle, but I have learned that is not the case. You have to be willing to adjust to keep up in this industry.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Poulson: Probably virtual reality. I have never been a world traveler and the possibility of putting on a set of glasses and seeing Stonehenge, the Amazon, Taj Mahal or pyramids without leaving my home sounds amazing. In addition, I have recently seen where WWII veterans who were unable to travel to Washington, D.C., to see the monuments were given the opportunity to travel from their own home and experience the trip, which I truly find a blessing opportunity.
Q: What's an accomplishment of yours that most people don't know about, either for work or in your personal life?
Poulson: I successfully passed the CPA exam. This isn't a requirement of my position, so I maintain nonpracticing status, it was just a personal goal for me.