Gabe Astiz, an Operations Supervisor at AirBoss, understands that there’s always room to improve. It’s the mindset he uses in his current role, and it’s the mantra he’s followed in getting there.
“I make sure that employees conduct their jobs in accordance with company safety policies,” Gabe shares. But his job as Operations Supervisor is much more.
The Importance of the Operations Supervisor
A typical start to his day sees Gabe getting a feel for what the previous crew has done while he’s been gone. As Gabe completes his startup process, he checks the machines he’s working with to be sure that each is ready to go. Next, he and his team of on-the-floor operators work through the orders that are on the docket for that day.
Gabe points out that while everything might start smoothly, his job is to make sure everything continues to run smoothly throughout his shift.
“You deal with problems as they arise,” he says. “Machines can go down because of mechanical issues, so you deal with that as it happens.”
But overseeing operations is only part of Gabe’s job. He sees himself as part customer relations specialist and part employee ambassador.
“It’s part of the leadership team,” offers Gabe regarding his Operations Supervisor position. “It’s my job to make sure all the workers fulfill their roles. We have responsibilities to our customers, and we help ensure that our customers are satisfied at the end of the day—that they get a good, quality product from us.”
“As supervisors, we need to monitor the floor, so the speak,” Gabe explains. “—coach the employees and make sure everyone is aligned. There’s certain information that needs to flow, and we help with the information flow both ways. Both down and up the chain of command.”
Gabe, like many AirBoss employees on a career path, started elsewhere within the company and found his current position through company mentorship and personal drive.
Moving from X to Y: Career Advancement at AirBoss
“I started off as a Service Trucker on a specific line,” Gabe says. It was a position he found after he reached out to a friend who’d been with AirBoss for a while (Lloyd Johnson, who still works at AirBoss), and a couple weeks later, he had an interview lined up.
Like most positions at AirBoss, simple contributions have lasting impacts, and Gabe’s early work with the company supplied the manufacturing line in a comprehensive, time-saving fashion.
“I had to figure out which polymers, which powders, chemicals, and whatnot go into each one of the recipes. I had to stage the material for these recipes ahead of time so there would be no downtime and we could go from one recipe to the next.”
“I had to make sure they were accurate—that the quantities were correct, and stage them in the order we were running them in. Then, I’d notify management if there was an issue with materials.”
Gabe thinks back to his early days as he walked the million-square-foot facility in search of the correct materials and how things advanced as the company grew.
“We didn’t have a live inventory system then,” Gabe admits. “The inventory system came along about a year and a half after I started.”
Service Trucker Gabe was promoted to Mixer General because of his continuous improvement at AirBoss. AirBoss leadership recognized the continuous improvement gaps that he was uniquely positioned to fill, and they were thrilled to let him do just that.
“Mixer General is somebody who learns as many jobs as possible within the facility, so you can always be placed in other roles if you’re needed,” Gabe explains. “And it also helps you learn the business and understand the full process of how we make compounds. You can be working on one end of the plant one day and the other end the next day. It gives you a broad perspective. I think that’s what helped pave the way for me becoming Operations Supervisor.”
Manufacturing and Music Keep Gabe Happy
Gabe enjoys seeing an AirBoss project move from design concept to finished product. Seeing how the sausage is made, so to speak, is part of what makes the job so rewarding and multi-faceted for someone like him. He recognizes where all the pieces fit, and he makes sure that those pieces are always in the right place. It’s all part of that continuous improvement mantra.
When Gabe’s not working at AirBoss, he still enjoys seeing pieces fall into place in fun ways. He enjoys camping and hiking with his family and finds solace in listening to music.
“I haven’t played music in about twenty-five years,” Gabe jokes, “but I still go to shows or just listen to it at home. Music has always been a big part of my life in one way or another.”