SIMULA GOVERNMENT PRODUCTS

1994 - 1997

COMPANY OVERVIEW

While Disney may have been my first job out of college, Simula was my first REAL job.  As the new implies Simula Government Products was a government contractor.  We supplied armored seating systems, bulletproof panels and glass as well as armored vests for government contractors.

I built and delivered armored seats for Blackhawk and Apache helicopters as well as seating systems for C-53s, Humvees, and Hemitt trucks.  To say this job was really interesting would be an understatement.

Eventually the company expanded into manufacturing high-end graphite bicycle frames and components as well.  Completely out of their core competency but super cool.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS

EXPERIENCES

Supervisor - Composites

July 1995 - April 1997

It became apparent as the details of the contract unfolded we would need to nearly triple our workforce in the composites department in order to keep up.  I was promoted to the supervisor for the entire department to help develop the plan to keep us running.

Because we needed so many additional workers so quickly we organized two job fairs on consecutive weekends.  The composites department went from 25 employees to 75 in three weeks.  We ran three shifts and I had facilitators run both second and third shifts.

My role was to make sure the work could flow through the facility in a safe and expedient manner.  I coordinated with materials, scheduling, downstream operations and testing.  Probably my biggest challenge was keeping my teams motivated.

To help with this I organized for all of my employees to witness the testing of the products they were making.  This had never been done before.

Each employee got to go watch one of the seats they made get shot in our underground test range with a 50 caliber round. Talk about motivating.

I left Simula after being recruited by a former employee to Carlisle.


Facilitator Composites Department

Jan 1995 - July 1995

After demonstrating my capabilities, after 6 months I was promoted to a first shift facilitator role.  My first salaried position.

The facilitator role is the same as a supervisor position.  I was responsible for a team of 5 and the day-to-day operations of the team.  I had to schedule in work, make sure materials were on order, check on the status of upstream work and ensure my people we busy all day.

This is the role where I had my first exposure to lean manufacturing.

We didn't call it that but it used the same tools I would use later in my career.  We started with simple spaghetti diagrams and mapped out the work flow in each department.  Based on our finding we would rearrange the work cells for maximum efficiency.

Eventually this would lead to 5S and other lean manufacturing tools.  Which was needed because the Bosnia war was in full swing and we had just received a big contract.


Composites Department Employee

JULY 1994 - DEC 1994

I started my time at Simula as an hourly employee on 3rd shift.  I made ballistic Blackhawk seats using a wet resin mix with Kevlar.  Each layer would need to be vacuum sealed in placed and all air removed before the next layer could be applied.

When completed I would put the completed seats in the autoclave and dry them under pressure until fully cured.  The seats were always ordered in lots of 12 but we always built 13 units.  The last unit would be used for ballistic testing.  If it passed the entire lot passed.

SKILLS GAINED