I’ve had the privilege to continue my conversation with the ThermoPro team. As a reminder, this series is written from my own perspective as an outsider. It has been a pleasure interviewing and interacting with everyone at the company.
The purpose of this series is to take you through the full ThermoPro experience. Beginning with our Customer Service Team, then moving through to our Technical and Engineering Team. As we continue down our production journey, the next stop is with our Inventory and Purchasing Manager, Paul Bowman and our Operations Manager Meng Cha.
Paul actually wears a few hats, and isn’t alone in his department(s), Meng also looks good in hats at ThermoPro. These fellows have worked at ThermoPro for a collective 40+ years and know all the ins and outs of their departments.
How they got started
Paul came from the steel industry in Texas. He was a plant manager for pipelines out there working 7 days a week. He and his family needed to relocate to Atlanta, to be closer to his wife’s family. That’s when he found ThermoPro, the former company owner contacted him to be the new production manager.
When I asked Paul what surprised him the most about working at ThermoPro, he told me “how clean everything is.” This wasn’t only a testament to the cleanliness of the company (working at ThermoPro is pretty clean) but a hard juxtaposition from his experiences working in the steel industry.
Meng is originally from Laos but moved to Atlanta from California back in 1993 after hearing about all the job opportunities. He found ThermoPro via an ad on the internet (somewhat impressive considering the internet of the early 90s). He told me he was nervous on his first day but excited to learn a new job.
I also asked Meng what surprised him the most about working at ThermoPro. He said he was pleasantly surprised by “how nice the owners and supervisors are. They really try to work with you and don’t micromanage.”
The overall longevity of everyone’s time at ThermoPro is impressive. Really getting to know each other day in and day out creates a different type of work place bond. Paul has worked at ThermoPro for over 15 years. Meng told me how proud he is of his 27 years at a “good company.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, such longevity creates a work family. This type of family has your back, understands you, and chooses you to be a part of their lives. You don’t spend 27 years at a company and not love the job as well as your co-workers.
Personal Goals and Accomplishments
Both of these men are driven.
Paul told me about some of his efficiency goals he set for himself when he started with ThermoPro. He started as a Production Manager and began by evaluating and improving some of the legacy processes. A particularly system was a bit antiquated when he started so he got in touch with the supplier. He was able to find a new piece of equipment to ease the process and it is still in use today.
Meng sets high personal standards. When asked about accomplishments he told me, “The goal I set for myself is to constantly do the best I can to the best of my ability, by being at work everyday and to never stop trying.” His skill and drive led to higher positions in the company over the years. Today, he has performed a little of most everything at ThermoPro.
At ThermoPro, respect for the individual is the first listed “Core Value.” To them it means giving employee opportunities for growth and development as well as maintaining a strong customer focus. Meng told me people should know how it is a “wonderful small business that treats everyone with respect.” It’s inspiring to see a company truly exemplifying their values.
Paul said something very similar when asked. He told me working at ThermoPro is a friendly environment. “Everyone treats people, like people.” In a world where bottom lines and get-it-done attitudes can be dominant, it’s nice to see humans, prioritizing each other.
I absolutely had to ask what these two managers did in their free time. I wasn’t surprised to hear that they were both family men.
Meng is an avid outdoorsmen that heads out for an adventure every chance he gets.
Paul, makes rings out of coins or plays disc golf with his oldest son. He’s quite creative, he even brought work home with him by making an at-home thermoformer box for his son.
I can’t want to learn more about the team and all the talented, creative, individuals that work there.