We are very excited to proudly highlight some of our brightest and most committed employees who offer unmatched quality and service to our customers. Our employees are what truly make Phoenix Mecano a diverse and unique place to work. This month, our employee in the spotlight is on Mike Smallwood!
“Mike is a hardworking, long term employee that cares a great deal about quality packaging for our customers. He has earned the informal role of packaging engineer in Material Control and is the go to person for custom design when shipments demand it.” said Phoenix Mecano’s Supply Chain Manager, Chris Howes.
Recently, we sat down with Mike, our Material Control Clerk #2, to learn more about him and what he does.
How long have you been working at PM and have you always been doing the same thing here?
I was first hired on as a truck driver. That was when we outsourced everything. I was then transitioned into the shipping department in 2005, and have been here a total of 19 years!
What aspect about your job do you really enjoy?
I love the building and crating side of shipping. Being able to build the product and make sure it gets to the customer safely is my job, and I love building and creating solutions.
What’s one (or more) things people might not know about you?
I was in the military. I went in at age 19 and retired at age 39 (in 1995). I specialized in Data Technology for the Army. I also spent 5 ½ years working at the Pentagon.
For our computer training, we had to take a 5 week course – it was 12 hours every day and most people couldn’t make it past that first week. It was extremely hard, but I’m proud to say I learned a lot and got through it!
I’ve also done a lot of travelling because of the military. I’ve been to Hawaii, Germany, Japan, Korea, the Philippines – all over the world. I’ve driven on the Autobahn, I’ve seen the Alps; these eyes have seen a lot!
What is one thing people don’t know about Phoenix Mecano’s products that you think they would find surprising or interesting?
The whole RK Rose+Krieger side is interesting, all on its own. With the extrusions and multilifts, it’s fascinating how all the robotics work. And, the product is so multi-functional. I think anything robotic is pretty neat.
If there is anything else you could do for a living, what would it be?
I wanted to be a professional basketball player. And, I played in the military. Wherever I was stationed at, I played basketball. It’s the love of my life, but I stopped playing when I was 50.
What is your background? Ex: where are you originally from, where did you go to school, etc.
I grew up in Frederick. Went to Thomas Johnson (TJ) High School. I have 11 brothers and sisters and we all lived at John Hanson Apartments in Frederick. I played for TJ’s basketball team and we were the first to win a state championship (1975), for that school, in any sport. I got to play on the University of Maryland’s basketball court, which was definitely one of the highlights of my life. After high school I went into the military, but I came back to help care for my mom.
What is your favorite pastime?
Computers! I have a passion for technology. I always like to say, “If I can’t fix it, it can’t be fixed.” My mind is truly programmed to build and fix things. Whether that was with Data Technology in the military, or now with my job at Phoenix Mecano, it still holds true.
Do you have any bucket list items? Ex: skydiving, learning to play an instrument, etc.
You know what I’d love to witness? A movie being made! On set, from start to finish. The technology behind the whole process of making a movie blows my mind. That would be so cool to be a part of.