The “I’s” Have It!

June 30, 2016
  • Bob Chapman
  • Bob Chapman
    CEO & Chairman of Barry-Wehmiller

Recognition and celebration is one of our most abundant resources at Barry-Wehmiller. We recognize and celebrate people because we want them to know that they matter.

I’ve written about our flagship Guiding Principles of Leadership Award before and we’ve even produced a podcast episode on our philosophy of recognition and celebration.

There are many different types of recognition awards throughout Barry-Wehmiller and one of which is our I3 (Innovation, Inspiration and Improvement) award. As most of our companies operate in the industrial manufacturing space, the I3 Program is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate our engineers who drive product innovation, demonstrate inspirational leadership and engineering excellence, and/or foster a culture of continuous improvement and process improvement.

With this award, our goal is to create a workplace environment that recognizes our engineers’ contributions and provide them with a greater sense of purpose, accomplishment and fulfillment.

Sonia-2One of our I3 Inspirational Award recipients this past year, Sonia Pereira of Hayssen Flexible Systems (now BW Flexible Systems), said her award sits on her desk and inspires her every day.

“It felt great to be recognized,” Sonia said. “It feels amazing to be called an ‘Inspirational Leader.’ It is not something I learned through all my years at University – and they were many!”

Sonia joined Hayssen three years ago as an applications engineer in Hayssen’s Nottingham, UK location. At the time, a massive investment was made to relaunch the Rose Forgrove line of flow wrapper machines.

These machines take products made by customers – anything from bakery items, chocolates, cheeses, to dry and wet wipes, soap bars, etc. – and wraps them into a bag made from a flat film. Sonia jumped at the opportunity to become a project manager for the initiative.

“It was an amazing opportunity and I loved every minute of it,” she said. “The three models – Merlin, Minerva and Integra – have been successfully launched. All three models are now being sold and are in production at customer sites all around the globe.

“I have a massive sense of ownership (from working on the project.)  Now back in my original role, Applications Engineer, I get to follow them through their life cycle after development.”

Her work still supports the machines now in production and the follow up with our customers. In fact, she has spent entire nights at a customer site over a weekend to support though production.

Sonia also likes to show off our machines internally to other teammates who might not be directly connected with a project.

“I think we should all be very proud of what we are doing and it starts by knowing exactly what we do and how it’s going to support our customers and their businesses,” she said.

This March, her fellow teammates rewarded Sonia for her work and dedication on this project by nominating and selecting her for the I3 award.

“At Hayssen, all engineers get nominated across UK and US teams and we can vote for each other independently of where we are located,” Sonia said. “We are a true global team and I get to work with everyone. I got colleagues nominating me from both teams.”

Sonia was extremely proud and surprised to be recognized with the I3 award. In fact, she had remarked to her partner the night before that it would be great if she got it, but it probably wouldn’t be her. He said “Why not?”

“I wish my dad had been there,” Sonia said. “He lives in Portugal. I wanted to show him I made it! He always told me I could be whatever I wanted but I have to be the best there is in whichever career I chose. I didn’t choose an easy path, he never worried about it and for that I never worried about it.”

After all the years of work and dedication to a project, just a simple gesture of recognition meant so much to one person. Months later, Sonia is still riding high on that moment. And you can bet she will continue to be an inspiration to those around her.

“I could talk about this forever, you’ll have to excuse me,” she said. “It is quite amazing though. How could I not keep going on?”

Leaders, what are you doing to recognize and celebrate your people? Are they experiencing this same kind of joy from their work?


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