AirBoss of America is a large, multi-faceted company. The organization has evolved beyond single-focus rubber compound production. As such, AirBoss and its subsidiaries—AirBoss Engineered Products, AirBoss Defense Group, and AirBoss Rubber Solutions—produce a wide range of products for a large spectrum of industries.
Materials are the hub around which all of AirBoss’s many spokes rotate, and it’s people like AirBoss Engineered Products’ Materials Manager, Sara Grieve, who keep the company running smoothly.
Sara has been with AirBoss for more than thirty years, and during that time, she’s mastered several materials-based positions.
It’s been a long-but-worthwhile journey from working for AirBoss part-time in high school to taking over Engineered Products’ entire material acquisition division. It’s safe to say that without Sara, the company wouldn’t be the same.
AirBoss Engineered Products Wouldn’t be the Same Without Sara
AirBoss Engineered Products is a division of AirBoss of America that focuses primarily on automotive rubber molding. The company specializes in everything from rubber bushings to multi-component product assembly and custom rubber compounding.
The constant need for a wide variety of raw materials fuels the automotive rubber industry. It’s Sara and her team who supply everything the manufacturing floor needs.
“My team is responsible for bringing in all of the raw materials needed for production and managing the supply base we get that from,” explains Sara.
The logistics of materials acquisition are only part of Sara’s day-to-day. She and her team are also responsible for managing relationships with suppliers to ensure AirBoss continues to receive the right materials delivered at the right time and in the right amounts. These materials are then turned into high-quality products and compounds that AirBoss ships around the world.
“We play a key role in making sure the company can make what it needs to get out the door and make customers happy.”
Decades With AirBoss Means Sara is a Materials Master
“I started working here in September 1991 during my senior year of high school,” Sara shares. “Way back then, there was a program called Co-Op, and the Co-Op team would help students get experience. I started working here part-time after school when it was called Flexible Products Company.”
Sara explains that her early days with Flexible consisted of what she called small-but-important errands: she dropped off the mail, made bank deposits, and typed out checks on a typewriter.
“I would do whatever miscellaneous things people needed me to do.”
After high school, Sara moved into a full-time position where she performed administrative duties for the shipping department. During this time, she started to understand how the company received customer orders and how those orders were filled and shipped.
What’s more, Sara was taking night classes to continue her education, and the company helped pay for the classes that related to her career development.
“That encouraged me to keep going,” Sara admits. “It was kind of fun. It was fun to go and take these classes and learn about business and operations and different concepts and practices and see it in real life at the same time.”
For the next decade, Sara operated within the company in a customer relations capacity before she transitioned to the raw materials side of production. Here, she continued for more than another decade in material planning and production scheduling for the plant.
After AirBoss bought Flexible Products, Sara was offered the opportunity to head up a newly formed Purchasing Group. Five years later, Sara was promoted to Materials Manager for Flexible Products. By this time, she was more-than-familiar with how the manufacturing floor operated and was comfortable managing the entire material acquisition side of things for AirBoss Engineered Products.
“While in purchasing, I helped with the quote process,” Sara says. “I sent out RFQ’s, I worked with the engineering team to get quotes from suppliers for new business, and I helped manage the commercial end of things for the supply base.”
After thirty years at this facility, it’s no surprise that company leadership trusts Sara to keep the manufacturing floor fueled as she manages materials, supplier relations, and her own team of material masters.
Sara Plans to Stick Around for a While
“I’ve grown a lot here, clearly,” says Sara. “I think the company has been very supportive of me. I’ve been given a lot of opportunities. Anytime I’ve wanted to try something new or something new opened up, I’ve always felt that there’s been someone here I could talk to and who could help get me where I wanted to go. That’s through my entire career here.”
AirBoss’s job support throughout the years has led Sara into avenues through which she’s grown personally and professionally. It’s that support coupled with a familiarity with the people and the processes that keep Sara happy with the company.
“There’s always been a great group of people working here even though it’s changed a lot,” says Sara. “Some of the people I started working with are still here thirty-plus years later. I’ve developed some pretty good relationships.”
“I think after all that time, I’ve just kind of developed an emotional attachment to the place,” she jokes.
When Sara isn’t at work, she enjoys the company of her two younger sons, aged nine and six, who just started their baseball season.