Phoenix Mecano March Employee Spotlight: Quality Manufacturing Engineering Manager, Rebekah Collogan

What is your role at Phoenix Mecano and has that always been your role here?

As the Quality Manufacturing Engineering Manager, I’m responsible for our internal manufacturing and quality control systems. I evaluate our production processes and make any improvements needed to ensure our products meet the company’s high quality standards. Another way to think of it is that our Design Engineers create the product– what it is, how it looks– and the Manufacturing Engineers decide the best way to build it.

What do you like most about Phoenix Mecano?

I’ve only been with Phoenix Mecano for two months, but I really like the size of the company, its flexibility, and how family-oriented it is.

What do you like most about your job?

What I love most about my job is being able to walk into the plant in the morning and know that the potential is there to do things that are going to improve our process, enhance the products we’re building, and help the people in manufacturing enjoy their work more. I like having the ability to make a change that helps make someone’s work easier.

What has been your favorite project at Phoenix Mecano?

Again, I’m really new here…so I don’t have a track record of completed projects yet. I can tell you, though, that I am looking forward to using my experience to add value to the manufacturing process. Bringing in new equipment and offering enhanced visual work instructions are little changes that can make a big difference in the process and the product.

What is your background?

I grew up on a farm in Kansas and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Wichita State. As a young adult, I thought I’d end up going to law school, but during an internship at a Case factory, I fell in love with the manufacturing process. I loved seeing the raw material come in one door and go out another as a finished product. After that experience, I knew what I wanted to do.

During the 10 years I worked for Case, I earned my Master’s from the University of Wisconsin. After we moved to this area in 2006, we found a place in Downtown Frederick that we love– we really enjoy the “walkability” of downtown. We rarely need to get in our car, yet we still have lots of choices for dining and entertainment that we can get to on foot– it’s great.

If given a chance, who would you like to be for a day?

I’d have to keep it simple and just say “a better version of myself!”

If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

That’s a hard one…maybe Lewis Hine? He was a photographer who documented child labor as a means to bring about reform. As a woman (and a mother) in manufacturing, I would love to have a conversation with him about his work.

Three words to best describe you:

One of my colleagues made me a nameplate as a joke that says “Little Ms. Particular”, so I guess that’s one word my team might use to describe me. But if I had to pick three words, I’d say: Driven. Hardworking. Fair.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

On the farm in Kansas, I was surrounded by all kinds of animals…so it’s probably no surprise that one of my first career aspirations was to be a veterinarian. That lasted until one summer in my teens when I did an internship with my cousin who was a vet– and we had to put a cat down. After crying as hard as the owner did, I realized that being a vet wouldn’t be a good fit for me.

What’s on your bucket list?

Years ago, I bungee-jumped off the Kawarau Bridge in Queensland, New Zealand. Apparently, this is where the “sport” got started 26 years ago, and people are still coming from all over the world to experience the 43M jump. As for me, I don’t care to ever do that or anything similar ever again. So my “bucket list” now has less heart-pumping things on it– like going to cooking classes all over the world and learning how to make local foods…that sort of thing.

What’s the one thing you can’t live without?

I’ll say “communication.” Working and living with all men, communication is key for my life!

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