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How Eric J. Hannon’s Experience in the United States Coast Guard Has Aided Him In the Manufacturing industry

Eric J. Hannon is an experienced technician and business professional.

Eric attended Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School where he studied engineering and machinery. Possessing a talent for athletics, Eric played varsity ball during his freshman and sophomore years. He went on to compete in track and field and led his team to two state championships.

At the age of seventeen, Eric enlisted in the United States Coast Guard and left his small town for basic training in Cape May, New Jersey. After completing an eight-week training course he was relocated to YorkTown, Virginia, where he spent the next twelve months expanding his mechanical knowledge. There he was trained in several services including natural disaster relief. When a local town was hit by a series of Tornados, the Coast Guard was called in to help support locals who have been impacted by providing medical and evacuation services.

Eric continued his journey by spending the next six years traveling around the United States as well as Liberia, Kuwait, and Baharan, Cuba. After leaving active duty in 2016, Eric pursued several positions in the manufacturing industry from engineering to material coordination. Eric currently works for a private manufacturing and engineering company that provides resources and equipment to larger companies to help them expand their operations.

What do you currently do at your company?

Initially I started out as a Senior Electrical Technician, building and wiring legacy and custom electrical enclosures and subsystems for our customers. I tested wire harnesses for techs to install into units and built in-house test equipment such as harness and board testers, vibration tables, and pressure degradation units. We implemented these in our build process to help identify WIP errors so we could correct them and prevent any future issues.

Eventually I moved into a quality role where I worked alongside other team members to identify short falls and manufacturing errors in WIP. We also created training programs to minimize the chance of repeating issues. Daily tasks also included inspecting incoming materials for supplier defects. From here, we issued them into a warehouse location to be coordinated with manufacturing. If the material failed to meet spec they were moved through our NCMR/MRB process and reworked in-house or returned to the vendor. We inspected WIP units at predetermined points to identify and re-work any defects and stage the units for the next work center. If the materials passed, this was our priority based on our manufacturing and shipping schedule to ensure we met customer demand.

What defines your way of doing business?

Every time I go to work I have to remember that every bit of what we do is for our customers. Especially in a quality role, we have to identify and eliminate any issues that arise so we can deliver a quality product on time – so their production schedule isnt interrupted. We use every project as a learning opportunity to grow and be better. We ensure the best training for our techs so they can continue to deliver top-of-the-line products.

What keys to being productive can you share?

Its been said a thousand times, set daily and weekly goals. Tackling those goals will help you through the day and help drive  the company’s quotas. A lot of people will tell you to only do what youre paid to do. Volunteering for other projects and to be more project based breaks up the monotony  of the day to day and you get to learn new skills and tasks, this allows you to be productive throughout your day in turn making yourself a more valuable member of the team and opening up yourself for more opportunities, growth or compensation either at your current employment or the next phase of your career.

Tell us one long-term goal in your career?

One long term goal I had was to make it to a position where I could help cultivate positive change in the daily lives of my employees. After spending eight years in the military, I was able to absorb many life skills that I now use in my professional life. I always try my best to use my experiences to my advantage and be the best version of myself.

How do you measure success?

Dont measure your progress or your standing off that of those around you, work with, or your family. Your own success is how you see it, success isnt truly a quantitative value in my opinion for that exact reason. Success to me isnt going to be the same as it is to the next person. Success to me? I get to wake up, go to my job, go home, spend time with family and friends and have some sort of extra curricular. Im doing what I enjoy and truly I just like the simple things. It took a while to figure out what exactly it is after the military, but everything that I have in life and everything I get to be a part of to me is success. Its not always about having the best job title, largest paycheck or all the fancy stuff. Just do what makes you feel successful and enjoyable and youll figure everything out.

Whats the most valuable lesson youve learned through the course of your career?

Always have a solution. Its easy to come to your peers and supervisors with issues. Without a delay in production you should take time to come up with a solution, you will make yourself a more valuable employee. Youve taught yourself to evaluate the situation and avoid the issue from happening again.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

Treat the product you build as something you yourself would want to purchase. Its our job to find any and every defect and deliver a quality product to the customer so they dont have any interruptions to production. When we inspect our products or materials that go into our product we have to hold everyone to a higher standard. Letting any issues slide without proper rework or documentation will allow issues to continue to happen interrupting the flow of product to our customers. Every time you inspect a product, it doesnt matter if the owner of the company built it. If you find defects or issues you set aside everything to ensure its built to spec, without defects. Be brutal but respectful in your inspection and find it all.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

Any spare time I have I mostly spend with family, beyond that I read a lot and am interested in philosophy. Alan Watts its a great read he went and experienced everything that he speaks and wrote about worth a read or a listen. Tolkien obviously and Andre Spakowski do such an amazing job building worlds and complex characters.

Other than that I hike as often as I can, being in a field that requires so much screen time and time inside its nice to unplug and get away from it all. Lastly I play a weekly dnd game, its quite the opposite of my last remark saying get unplugged. But its a second way of getting unplugged, setting aside real life and stepping into your own fantasy world is a really good time and we have a DM that makes sure our characters really feel like theyre a part of the world.

How would your colleagues describe you?

That is a good question, my boss would probably describe me as a pain. Coming from the military and a manufacturing role its difficult to point out issues without providing feedback and I greatly struggle with this. I sometimes forget to just stop at this is wrong” and I try to provide feedback, a resolution or point them to the person who can help. My coworkers in my opinion would most likely describe me as reserved, if Im not actively engaged in daily tasks. Im working on some sort of project to drive better quality, building the next test module we will implement or reading about other quality members’ roles and the impact they have where they work.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

Thats simple, you have to remember to just shut it off. Whatever happens at work happens in the eight hours you are there. You need to be able to separate that from what happens at home. Once you leave your day is over dont bring it home and focus on whats important and just live life. I personally take the time on my drive home and contact loved ones, I see how the day went, I discuss whats going on and once Im home I focus on myself or my significant other by enjoying the extra curricular activities or just unwinding. The key is just doing exactly what the question asks: balance work and life by keeping them separate.

What is one piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?

My notes and calendar app. I actually wrote all of the rough drafts for these questions in notes. My day to day and my tasks, I keep detailed notes so I can go back and reference or keep track of what Im working on. I find upper management loves when you have an answer immediately to a question they ask and with notes I have them or I can find the person that does. Plus I can track what Im doing or need to do outside of work and my calendar keeps track of important dates, so I dont get in trouble by forgetting an anniversary or birthday and it keeps me from double booking and disappointing someone.

What has been the hardest obstacle youve overcome?

I invited the wrong people into my life. I disregarded the advice of my parents, friends and mentors and accepted bad people. These people took advantage of me emotionally and financially. The borrowed a lot of money so they could try and make it through school and when I needed them the most, when I was working ridiculous hours, traveling for work and needed them to show up they werent present and it cost me a lot of my house, my dog, money, time, reputation and peace of mind. I was at rock bottom and building yourself back from the bottom is one of the toughest things you could ask someone to do.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

Ive actually had a handful of them. My fifth grade teacher showed me my love for reading by introducing me to the right books, my great uncle showed me my love for engineering by allowing me to see his project, books and just a box of random parts that I was able to mess around with and make random designs. My now late principal, for teaching me a different way to view school, sports and life. My parents for the just love and support without.

Read more:
How Eric J. Hannon’s Experience in the United States Coast Guard Has Aided Him In the Manufacturing industry

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