Bronco Spotlight: Rachel Larson
Operations - Stanley Leadership Development Program at Stanley Black & Decker
For 2-2.5 years, I move to various facilities across the nation every 8-10 months. In each of these businesses, I have the opportunity to gain experiences in Industry 4.0, Operations, Manufacturing and Distribution practices. Upon graduating from the program, I will earn a leadership position within Stanley Black & Decker where the company business need and my personal interests intersect. Currently, I am at the Irwin Tools manufacturing facility in Gorham, Maine where I am working on inventory management and material flow strategies with cost savings of $600,000. Along with this, I am implementing Industry 4.0 practices to increase productivity by 12.5%.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging and rewarding part of my career is moving to various locations to broaden my industry experiences and knowledge. Each rotation considers business needs and my interests, which has the ability to be located across the nation. Such changes can pose as a challenge when establishing self-belonging. However, this challenge is combated with my passion for traveling and hunger for continuous learning, as each rotation presents a career and personal growth opportunity. Currently, I am volunteering with the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland through special events and canine fostering, which are opportunities I have yearned to do, but lacked the time and ability in the past. Along with this, I found a creative community by joining the Maine Pops Concert Band, where I play the flute and piccolo. These opportunities allow me to reach a new level of self-actualization, where I am proud of where I was, am, and will be.
What experiences impacted the choice of your career path?
My musically driven path in high school led me to believe I wanted to positively impact society by teaching music. During my first semester, I continued to love the idea of music through private lessons, music theory and the Bronco Marching Band. However, I realized my high personal standards began to taint my perception of music. Upon this realization, I decided to dedicate my second semester to another interest of mine - business. In the career advisement office with Danielle Fields, she identified two programs as a best fit: Food Marketing and Integrated Supply Management (ISM). With my flamboyant personality, I wanted to pursue an interest in food marketing. During the marketing basics course, I realized I was interested in how things were made, rather than how a customer interpreted the product. After researching the nationally ranked ISM program at WMU, I started my studies in supply chain. Then, I coupled my ISM studies with Computer Information Systems, where I discovered the need for data-driven results. Both majors satisfied my interests of data-driven decisions and continuous learning opportunities. By continuously staying in-touch with myself throughout college, I found a career path where I can achieve personal and professional satisfaction. The connections through the Bronco Marching Band, APICS and Alpha Lambda Delta allowed me to discover another part of myself. The copious opportunities at WMU allowed me to find my career path. However, the most important variable is the student’s ability to discover and pursue these opportunities.
What advice do you have for students looking for their career after college?
When deciding a career path, continuously check-in with yourself. After researching and experiencing courses, mentally picture your future goals and aspirations. Discover if your current path intersects with your mental picture. If it doesn't, then determine what you need to do to make your dream a reality. There are numerous resources on campus to help you understand your future, take advantage of them!