By Ed Mullet
Today we congratulate Ed Mullet on his retirement from the full-time position of Vice President of Operations. Here we share his candid reflections on his professional journey, and how his dreams came true at ProVia.
Sawdust In My Blood
I started out doing carpenter work right out of school. I was always intrigued with the lumber business, and I remember as a young boy thinking, “I wish I could own a lumberyard and a hardware store someday.”
One day I got a call from Holmes Lumber and they offered me a job. It was a real answer to prayer. I worked there for 5 years. Then Moomaw Lumber in Sugarcreek was up for sale, and since I had some experience at a lumberyard, two friends of mine asked if I’d be interested in going in with them as part owner. I said yes, and there I was, suddenly a part owner in a lumberyard and hardware store! It’s still in my blood – I love going to a hardware store. Every time I see a load of trusses, drywall or lumber going down the highway I get excited because construction is just in me.
When my brother, Bill, came home from living in Romania in 1997, they needed help at their company (then Precision Entry, now ProVia). He asked me to work with him, and it took me quite a while before I said yes. We both had the same questions about working closely with your brother. Several people warned against it. I had no fears about it, but since people kept asking, it caused me to question it. It ended up working out great, and I’m humbled to have played a part in the growth of ProVia.
Milestones Made Possible by TEAM
There’s a saying about “team,” that it stands for “Together Everyone Achieves More.” That has certainly been my experience at ProVia. There are a lot of things I’m proud to have been part of, but it was really the team that accomplished them.
- Early on, we had no engineering department at our entry door manufacturing facility. We were the engineers. When something happened, we’d work with the people on the line and say, “how can we fix this?” We still do that, but now we have professionals on board who take it to a much higher level. I hired our first engineer. Now we have 10 engineers at the entry door facility. It’s almost unbelievable how things have changed over the past 15 years.
- There was no field service department when I first started, and now we have a staff of people and a fleet of service trucks committed to satisfying customers in the field.
- Bringing on the automated steel door production line has been a highlight of my time here. And now we’re going to bring on new automated fiberglass door lines. Those things are really exciting to me.
- A few years ago our Safety Director presented the idea of strengthening our safety program by entering into a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) with OSHA. We immediately saw the value in VPP. This took a lot of work, but in 2007 we were awarded VPP Star status with OSHA, which made ProVia the first company in our industrial classification to do so. Since that time, all 3 of our local facilities have become VPP Star qualified which sends a strong message to employees that we care deeply about their health & safety. It’s been very rewarding to have been part of this process.
- It’s an honor to be part of ProVia’s current expansion, the new distribution center, and the further expansion developments that will be taking place over the next year or so.
Serving With Humility
For me – and this is shared across our organization – the bottom line is servant leadership. This is formally written into our corporate values: “Servant Leadership – We lead by serving with humility.” We have an open door. Anyone on the shop floor can come in and talk to me. I love to walk through the plant and just talk to the people, ask them how their job is going, how their week is going, and if everything is going OK. Everyone at ProVia is my friend. We strive to lead with respect for the individual and with mutual support. This is how we help each other develop and perform as highly as possible.
My Journey Continues
For a while I’ll be working a couple days a week to spearhead the ongoing development of our facilities. We just opened the new distribution center, which was phase one of the expansion. The next phases involve expanding our door production capabilities and our corporate office and conference facilities. I’ll be involved in these, hopefully until they’re complete, which should take a good year or so.
My wife Wilma and I have 3 daughters who are all married, and 17 grandchildren from ages 4 to 20. Family will keep me busy, and that’s a labor of love, for sure. I can also say I’ve truly loved every minute of my time with ProVia. It will always be in my blood. It’s the place where all of my professional dreams came true.