For some people, the gears are always turning. The drive wakes you up early and you’re ready to solve things, but there isn’t always much room to rest. Why rest when your brain can build, create and figure things out?
Jeff Monte, Production Supervisor at Kawasaki Robotics, has a motor like this. We’re thankful he does.
Growing Up & Finding Kawasaki
“I was definitely that kid who wanted to tear things apart and figure out how they worked,” Jeff said. “I went into the military at a young age and served for five years as a mechanic in the Seabees. After my time was complete in the Navy, I became a machine tool electrician.”
Soon after, Jeff got his introduction to Kawasaki robots while building and programming assembly lines for Ford. He made the switch to Kawasaki in 2000 as a contractor in the production group, and was hired direct in 2006. His responsibilities naturally shifted from production to supervision as time went on.
“I knew right away Kawasaki was a great company when I started in 2000,” he said. “Mellow, easygoing environment that was also filled with people who were built like me. I saw right away you could pretty much pinpoint where you wanted to be and grow there.”
Present Day: A Little Bit of Everything
Jeff and his department are known for their ability to help out wherever they’re needed. Consistent parts of their work week include running all robot orders through production—the robots are identified and pulled, worked on and prepared for shipping—facilities maintenance, trade show setup and teardown and plenty more.
“Yeah, robot shipping, supporting the automotive department, paint, marketing, receiving, and the list goes on. It’s non-stop, but we enjoy it. I have a great production team, management and support. Getting through each day with every order and request getting completed correctly and on time is a big accomplishment in itself, and it’s thanks to my team and the groups that support us, that allows this to work smoothly.”
“It’s also really satisfying working the trade shows when the show is over, and everything went well. Over the last 10 or so years, working hard with the marketing team, we have developed a really good system and process for setting up and tearing down our tradeshows. There’s so much work that goes into it, before, during and after.”
Words of Wisdom
Jeff and his wife have 5 kids that range in ages from 13 to 37, and they already have 12 grandkids to boot. The devoted husband and father has a humble nature, but there’s a lot of wisdom in him. We asked him a couple questions to pick his brain: something about our industry that surprised him at first, and something he wishes he’d have known early in his career.
“The surprising thing was how much work is involved with making a job go smoothly. So many people bring their skills to the table, and everyone does their part. You see an assembly line and think there’s not much to it, but it’s a remarkable thing when you work closely with it.”
“As for something I wish I knew, probably that I didn’t have to solve any problem on my own. I wanted to take things on and solve them, I wanted to be that person, but jobs go so much better if more skilled people are involved. There are always people who can and will help you.”
Pets: A cat and dog. We’ve always had dogs, and I’m allergic to cats. But four years ago, my daughter heard a kitten outside the window, less than a week old. So we brought it in and you can guess what happened from there.
Movie: Either The Breakfast Club or A Few Good Men. One takes me back to high school, the other is such a great and well-acted story.
Band: Something from the 70s or 80s. KISS, Journey, Pink Floyd, Metallica, The Guess Who.
Travel: I’ve traveled a lot over the years, so I really enjoy taking my wife to new-for-her places I’ve been to before. Alaska, Hawaii, Italy are all on the list.
Drink of Choice: I’m a beer guy, I like many different kinds of beer. I like 312 from Chicago a lot.
Food: Pretty much any seafood that’s cooked. Thai and Chinese food too. I am not a picky eater.
Go-To Restaurant Order: Fish..
What you’re cooking for a surprise guest: If I have time? BBQ from the smoker. If it’s a rush, probably chili. Easy and quick.
Favorite childhood toy: Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. I loved trying to draw them.
Secret talent: I don’t do it much anymore, but I used to like to dance. We’re not bar hoppers anymore, but we’ll always love music.