Project managers tend to get a bad rap. To many, they are the "Big Brother or Sister" constantly checking up on your work to ensure you hit specific milestones from dream to reality. But without a project manager, a customer's project would never make it out of a shop on time! So thankfully, we have project managers to be the "bad guy" and keep everyone accountable for their specific tasks.
We are lucky here at AMF – we have four of the best project managers who somehow keep jobs flowing through our metal shop and ensure they are on time to the customer. What's unique about us is they do it in a way that isn't annoying to the other teams here. "There is always a sense of respect and understanding when we communicate with each other," said Azarel Paredes. Azarel has been with the company for 12 years, where he started driving a forklift before working his way up into his project manager role. "Because we respect the people doing the jobs, it has led to our success as project managers at AMF." Jeremy McLean agrees. "I have been personally into metal working for a long time as I make and weld a variety of items in my own time. Because I know how tough the work is, I can relate to everyone here at AMF". Jeremy came to AMF 6 years ago after working in the electronics industry for over a dozen years. "We really do get into the minutia of each hole, bend, weld, and piece of hardware that makes up a part. Examining the smallest details makes a big difference to the final product."
Because they have to keep orders on track to meet tight deadlines, project managers are all over the place, interacting with everyone. "The ability to interact with so many people - people on the floor, QC, and management," says Jim Suffern, one of the newest AMF project management team members. "Each person and department bring a different perspective to a part or project we are working on. Because of this, we uncover new ideas for how to make something better for the customer." Jim is no stranger to project management. He worked for forty years at Marvel Manufacturing, which AMF acquired in 2021, and immediately impacted the organization. Jim now focuses his time on many of our special projects and mentoring the next generation of project managers. "I'm an eagle scout, and a big part of that is mentoring. And I love mentoring our team. But it's not just mentoring – I've been learning as much from the team as they have been from me."
New Kid On The Block
As Accurate has grown over the years, so has the need to bring on new people. As a family-owned and operated company, we always look to our internal team to promote from within before looking outside. Azarel and Jeremy started with a different job before moving into project management. And so did the "New Kid on the Block," Michelle Funes. Michelle began working on the assembly line five years ago, where she became passionate about metal. "I loved seeing how we took just a boring flat sheet of metal and transformed it into an actual product." Although she's the new kid on the team, moving up in the company from assembly to operating press brakes to quality control has taught Michelle a thing or two about her current project manager role – and how to get things done. "Where I worked in so many departments, I know almost everyone. It's easy for me to know how quickly or long a job will take because I've done it myself. And now, I communicate with everyone so everyone knows where a project is at all times."
The Project All-Stars
Because they have to interact with everyone within AMF and our customers, the team must have fun and get along with everyone. Some in the company even call them "The Project All-Stars" since they continually play at an elite level and bring up the performance of everyone around them. There are a lot of fun and funny moments working here," said Jeremy. "Everyone is great to be around, and we have a lot of camaraderie. One inside joke we have on the team is the squad helping me get my DeLorean restored. I want to make it into an electric car, so I have 5 or 6 Costco-size AA battery packs that magically appear on my desk at least once a month to help in my journey."
A Great Attitude Helps You Feel Accomplished
I may be biased, but our project managers are the best in the metal biz. And it has a lot to do with their attitude. They are always willing to help you and have a good attitude about them. Whether cracking a joke or not stressing during the production process, these Fab Four individuals ensure you are satisfied with the product you receive. "It is well known, but I love Mondays, and my favorite quote reads, "Monday is like any other day. What makes it different is the thoughts and things you fill it with. That is exactly how I feel every Monday morning," said Azarel. This attitude drives the entire project management team forward and keeps our customers’ jobs flowing smoothly through the shop.