Factory workers’ efforts during the global COVID-19 pandemic have largely gone on with little public recognition. Until NOW.
Heroes of Manufacturing is an independent movement originated by Hitachi Vantara and The Industrial Talk Podcast to celebrate these unsung heroes of Manufacturing. Over 30 manufacturers, associations, vendors, VCs and others are collaborating to help share the stories of today’s manufacturing heroes who are keeping the world moving.
Learn more about Paula and the wonderful team at Hitachi Cable America by the links below and on this podcast:
Personal LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paula-butkevich-9011684b/
Company Website: https://www.hca.hitachi-cable.com/
Company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/hitachicableamerica/
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hitachi, cable, people, manufacturing, paula, home, absolutely, podcast, industrial, pandemic, heroes, business, life, group, challenging, sales, connect, celebrate, interview, innovation
Scott MacKenzie, Paula Butkevich
Welcome to the industrial talk podcast
with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go. Alright, welcome.
Scott MacKenzie 00:22
This is where we celebrate you, the women, a man of industry than women of men of manufacturing. You deserve it. That's right. We love you on this platform. You know why? Because you're bold, you're brave. You dare greatly. you innovate like nobody's business. And you're changing lives around the world. That's why the industrial talk podcast is here. That's for you. It's all about you. Not about me. It's all about you. All right. On a hot seat. This is the heroes of manufacturing Hot Seat broadcast at this particular time on a hot seat. Paula Butkevich, that's a b u t k e v i c h, Director of Specialty Sales. Sales is sometimes hard to get out. But she's a specialty Sales Director right there. As us with Hitachi Cable of America, let's get a car rockin. So I use I use an iPad for music, right? And tons of sounds like it's skipping. I have no idea why. No, none whatsoever. And it's just zeros and ones. It's just technology like, like, I have no clue. So if you hear something skipping, it's not me. I'm not banging the, the the record player because I don't have a record player. I just have a an iPad that skips like that. Anyway, we got a great, great interview, I've got a quote, I'm looking for a quote here. And I, I got it. I gotta find it. Because it's, it's really cool. Let me let me just sort of, Oh, here it is. If you weren't scared, for whatever reason, if you weren't scared, what would you do? Like professionally, we were having a conversation with another company, and another individual. And so you know, with this COVID with this COVID thing happening all around us? You know, some people have lost their jobs. Some people have definitely had their lives changed, that's for sure. And the question came out, it says, What if you weren't scared? What if you just, you didn't have any fears in the world? What would you like to do? I thought that was pretty cool. Because that brought about great stuff. Because I've done things in the past that I wasn't really excited about. Anyway, I just look at Think about that. Now I'm living the dream, I get the interview great people like Paula. And she has sort of soak in that wisdom. That's fantastic. Okay, before we get into that, you're saying to yourself, Scott, I love this heroes of manufacturing, I love to be able to get involved. All right, you go out to here as a manufacturing cop. And there are things there that you can just sort of click on and say, hey, I want to get involved, get involved, just just, you know, get involved. Lissa because she's great. And many of the people who are in manufacturing are wonderful. In fact, I would have to say 100% I'm gonna, I'm gonna make sure that that's out there. 100% of everybody in manufacturing is wonderful. And let's say you want to nominate one of those wonderful people. Well, you go up to heroes of manufacturing.com nominate, get them on this particular podcast so that we can celebrate them appropriately. And if you're saying is that that's just too hard for me to do, go out to industrial talk.com. And then just connect with me directly and say, Skye, got a great person that you should interview in manufacturing. And you know what I'll do, I will then take the ball and I will run, run to the end zone and get that individual on this particular podcast. Okay, no excuses. Absolutely no excuses. I'm going to challenge you one more time. Before we get in this interview. I need for you to be bold, brave and daring greatly. And I need for you to hang out with people who are bold, brave and daring greatly. Your life will change. Remember, collaborate, innovate, educate with a sense of speed and tenacity because we need you. We need you manufacturers all the time. And we need the people of manufacturing so that we can succeed in the future because we're all about surviving rebuilding and and prospering on this podcast because we're celebrating the the people who do that. All right, Paula butkovich. Again, go out to her stat card. And if there's more butkovich is out there. You just gonna have to put a comma and then say Hitachi Ventura. No, no, no, no, no, don't Don't do that. Don't even listen to me on that one. No, you're going to type in Hitachi cable of America, America's America. That's what you're going to do, you'll find her. And I just love the fact, you know, when we start talking about manufacturing, when we start, you know, diving deep, pulling back all of the neat little things that happen in from an innovation point of view. Everything is sort of manufactured in some way, shape, or form. And we just take it for granted. And and when we start talking about cables taken for granted, we were talking about and if you're out there on video, whatever. Yeah, I got cables everywhere, right? I've got cables everywhere. And they have to be manufactured, but they might not manufacture because they're pretty sophisticated in their cable manufacturing capabilities. But there's cables everywhere. There's things. This thing right here that I'm out there that was manufactured. Somebody had a manufacturer that specifications, boom, deliver all of that stuff. That's, that's why manufacturing is cool. It is. I have a shirt that says here's a manufacturing, but I do not have it. Same. Manufacturing is cool. I'm gonna run with that. I'm gonna hashtag it. Hey, yeah, it might be a little too long. But you get it. All right. Paula buck. Chase. Paula butkovich is on the industrial talk podcast. And she's dropping. You know, she's just dropping these truth, truth bombs all day. Enjoy the interview. All right. We've got Paula on the hot seat, the industrial talk Hot Seat where we're celebrating definitely. Heroes of manufacturing. Paula, how are you doing? Thank you very much for joining. I want to say the number one podcast, manufacturing and industrial podcast in the universe. I'm not great.
Paula Butkevich 06:51
Great, Scott. And I appreciate you having me on today. It's a it's fun to do. And it's a pleasure to meet you. I love it. And I just can't wait to have this conversation again, listeners out there.
Scott MacKenzie 07:03
This is a heroes of manufacturing specific conversation because you know why? Because we have to celebrate the women and men of manufacturing because you know why? Because they deserve celebration, they make our lives better, easier. And that's all I care about making my life easier. You make my life easier there follow? I will don't mess up on this podcast. I will. All right, for the listeners out there. Give us a little background, little 411 on who Paula is and why you're such an incredible professional. And then we're gonna dive on into what Hitachi Vantara and cables and all that good stuff.
Paula Butkevich 07:38
Awesome. My name is Paula Butkevich. I work for Hitachi Cable America, and I work in their performance materials group. We have three groups, Medical Group performance, medical, I mean, performance. Sorry about that performance cable group, and in automotive,
Scott MacKenzie 07:58
helping me don't don't even begin.
Paula Butkevich 08:04
So we all bubble up to Hitachi cable America. And I've been in the wiring cable industry since the early 80s. So I was around when cable was starting to power things like your printers. And your old old computer is like an old weighing computer. It was just when computers came out. We did a lot of things with barcoding and coil cords. And I've served customers and a lot of different markets and industrial market transportation, defense medical data centers. So the whole gamut. So I've kind of grown up in this market. And I've held many positions throughout my career. And some would be as interns in an engineering department, I would end up going out on the production floor so that I could learn how the product was actually made. I worked on hand costing products, so that I would learn speeds of machines and scrap rates of machines. So that I would understand the basics of how this industry works and how a cable is made. And I've worked
Scott MacKenzie 09:13
You know, I'm just gonna throw this out. I guarantee you I take cabling for granted.
Paula Butkevich 09:19
And people do
Scott MacKenzie 09:20
you do but but as I would you were talking about all the cables. I'm looking at all the cables that are on desk and I'm gone. And then I have a I have a basket full of cables. And there's some up there. And there's like I thought, Man, you're right. There's cables everywhere and we need them and they're not going
Paula Butkevich 09:37
away. And they're not going away. I mean the cables or you can see cables and there's a lot of cables that you don't see. Yeah, we have cables that go underground. You know for utilities we have. Right now the big 5g revolution we have cables going up the 5g cell phone towers, we have them in buildings and stadiums. We have cables in your airports. Send your tunnels and you name it. And Hitachi is there with our cable making life better cn
Scott MacKenzie 10:05
- That's pretty cool. Because on your website, I've looked at it there and you do a lot of medical cable being too and it's like that. That's super small tech baby.
Paula Butkevich 10:15
Scott MacKenzie 10:16
And all of the stuff that you've mentioned. It's not just I mean, geez, look at a cable. But it's it's the technology, it's the innovation. It's it's how it's never stopped. You're always trying to improve. That's the cable right? innovate. innovate baby?
Paula Butkevich 10:32
Yeah, we want to make people's lives better, right? One of the touchies driving principles is that they want to have a sustainable society. So we're very careful about the products that we go after and the markets that we serve, we want to leave it the world in a better place than it was when we started, right. We want to, we want to power good all over the globe. And that's how I taught you really, they that's how they they conduct themselves and how they do business.
Scott MacKenzie 10:59
And I have to back it up because I have that conversation with other people within Hitachi. And they do believe it in their heart. Oh, absolutely. Just it's it is it's a beautiful thing. And everything, all the decisions that Hitachi Vantara, Hitachi, wherever Hitachi, you are right. The decisions are wrapped around that. And it's it's an incredible thing to see that and how people really embrace that it's goes, it's a, again, it's a thing,
Paula Butkevich 11:27
it really is a great thing. I mean, Hitachi celebrating the 110 year anniversary this year, and they've been doing this for society and improving the quality of life of, you know, for all of us for 110 years. So it's it's Yeah, one of the reasons I work here.
Scott MacKenzie 11:45
Now I know I'm going to go out to my local, whatever. And I'm going to try to find Hitachi cables, just because I want to have them inside my studio. I don't know. It's a goal, it's
Paula Butkevich 12:00
TV, that's fine. You could you could have some power cables,
Scott MacKenzie 12:04
maybe. So anyway, when when COVID because one of the things that that the heroes of manufacturing truly would love to be able to highlight is how your organization, you, the people within your organization, you know, adapted to the realities in the marketplace, the realities in their life, the realities in their community, and on and so on, and so forth. Because, you know, one day, let's say Monday, everything was fine. And then Tuesday, absolutely, nobody flipped the doggone switch. And then we're living in this sort of pandemic world. How has your organization you and others dealt with the this pandemic? COVID reality,
Paula Butkevich 12:48
right? So February 28, about that timeframe, you know, I'm in charge of the outside sales group. We travel, right, we get on planes we get in cars, we go get in front of customers, right? We're very seldomly in the office, and in our home offices, we're not there, except maybe at the end of the week to do paperwork and get caught up. So those breaks got put on, no more traveling, no more staying in hotels, stay home, you know, stay home, and your families were also told to stay home, you know, so you have kids, you have daycare issues, you have, you know, just your family dynamic changes. So one thing to talk to you did is they empowered us to be able to work from home. So there was a large group, even in the office of people who are now working from home, but have never done that. Right? That that requires a level of trust, right, Hitachi manager had to think about, are they really going to work at home? Are they going to get their jobs done. And I am so proud of our group, we've rallied and we are working, I think, in some instances, harder than we did when we were on the road, right? Because we have to take every opportunity to have a touch point with our customers, right? We don't want them to get us. We want to we want to stay front of mind with them. Right? So with the working from home, Hitachi has been very flexible and getting that done required capital investment if you would, on a small level, but we needed laptops, we needed printers, we needed monitors, we need power supplies, in people's homes, right? We helped people who didn't have internet or a reliable signal in their home so that we could continue to conduct business and meet the needs of our customers. Right?
Scott MacKenzie 14:32
Because and it didn't stop because you're you're a vital, you're manufacturing. The cable is vital to me it's just as vital to the to the market and to to people's lives as you couldn't stop. And the the necessity to figure out how to you're right how you're thinking. I'm working harder now because it's you were sort of on to a certain extent, on autopilot. With your how you approach sales, go out, connect, do this, do this. And it was very touchy feeling and come back home and then catch up by weekend, whatever that might be completely, completely different Now, how do you do it? And now you've got that intellectual side of like, how do I, how do I do that? And how do I connect with? And what do I do here? And it's all new. And it's all it is. But the funny thing is, you're saying, Hey, we're busy, or we're, we're working harder than we ever have. And I know that I just sort of roll out of bed, I go to the computer, I'm still looking very sharp from my night of sleep. I'm already cranking away,
Paula Butkevich 15:43
you're already working right? You don't have that, that luxury of, you know, getting ready unless you really plan for it. Right?
Scott MacKenzie 15:50
Yeah. And that must have been challenging for you guys to really shift gears into sales, and marketing and branding, all of the stuff that's associated with getting
Paula Butkevich 15:58
very challenging, you know, our trade shows were all canceled. So you know, a few groups are gonna try to do the virtual trade shows. So we have to learn how to do that. How do we manage a booth? How do we schedule appointments? You know, I like changed, but there are some people that don't. So it's exciting for me.
Scott MacKenzie 16:15
I've heard that too. I don't know. Yeah, absolutely. I heard that. Yeah,
Paula Butkevich 16:19
yep. But it's exciting. I like to be involved in the groups that are trying to forge this new path, because it's gonna be here for a while.
Scott MacKenzie 16:26
I love it. And I and, and we talked about COVID. And we understand the challenging side of COVID is like the, and the pain and the family and the communities and all of the stuff with business. But I find that the positive side is that people are truly focused on what is meaningful, what what is meaningful to not just their lives, but to business, and their pinpoint focus on that and try to achieve what they need to achieve through innovation or whatever my pin technology, I like that I like that.
Paula Butkevich 16:56
Absolutely. And we were in essential, we were deemed an essential employer at the beginning of COVID. So we still needed to take care of our manufacturing and take care of the people that run all our machines, which is so important, right? So we put all the protocols in place to keep our employees as safe as possible. We do the temperature checks, the hand sanitizer, the mass, you know, even when we're all in the same building, we don't congregate, we don't gather more than 10 people in an office right? to have our big meetings anymore. They put TVs out on the floor so people can see the meetings. So we're going with the times we're not panicking, we are strategically building that next leg of our business, if you will, through COVID.
Scott MacKenzie 17:38
I think what you what is going to happen, there might be a business as usual, it's just sort of put it out there. It's not going to be business as usual. And and unless you want a business of resiliency, you're going to have to figure out how to survive in this new next normal. And once again, I think it's, it's forever transformed our DNA on how we look at business and how we conduct business. And I think that everybody all the way down the line is willing to say, yeah, I'll connect with you over zoom. Mm, let me go grab my cup of coffee over here, roll out of bed, and I'll be right there.
Paula Butkevich 18:10
You're very right.
Scott MacKenzie 18:12
And I don't have to put any makeup on or, and and if you look like me, it's been the best because well, I don't have to look at but but I think it has it has forever changed business. And and I think it's made us the people who have truly like like a Hitachi your company, have been truly pushing innovation from a business perspective, we're able to sort of weather the storm a little bit better.
Paula Butkevich 18:41
Yes, we are.
Scott MacKenzie 18:42
Yeah. And I think that that's a beautiful thing. And I think companies who have embraced that technology embraced the the innovation that exists out there are doing better now. And companies are and other companies are playing catch up. But they can, you can catch on.
Paula Butkevich 18:57
Right. And the thing for Hitachi is we weren't so much in catch up, if you will. And this is just my personal opinion. Because one of the values that Hitachi was built on is that people are important. People are your business people first, right? So they, I felt it from my immediate supervisors. I from my immediate management, as well as global, we get newsletters from our corporate offices. And they're like, Don't forget, take care of yourself, take care of your families. And it truly means a lot. Yeah, it truly does mean a lot because they are putting us first and they it's not easy for them to do. I mean, this is hard times for everybody to fluff it up. But because they've always taken care of their people. This is the next step and what that looks like.
Scott MacKenzie 19:42
But it's interesting because you brought up something important. This is hard times. It's hard time globally. And if you think you're just sort of the world is picking on me, you're wrong. This is an equal opportunity. pandemic that's hammering people over the head. And so you're not alone. And I really like the way that that culture exists within Hitachi that, that brings about that. I don't know, support, people need support. Absolutely.
Paula Butkevich 20:09
It's important. It's important.
Scott MacKenzie 20:11
And because it's not just, I, I've got a sick daughter at home or something, and then I need your support. It's, it's just an upside down, change within your life. And it's not just you, it's that other parent next year that's on it. So
Paula Butkevich 20:30
all the same. Absolutely.
Scott MacKenzie 20:32
Now, with all of that, because we're solid, we're all trying to try to figure out how to navigate this new normal. One of the things that I thought was very interesting is how your, your organization, your company is still trying to adapt a COVID friendly type of employee community type of expression or whatever that like a thing, a positive thing for your community. What are you guys doing out there?
Paula Butkevich 21:04
Well, for October, and it's been a learning experience again, for us, we didn't quite know how to interact with the community right at the very beginning, because we were all kind of hunkered down and waiting to see what the next step was going to be. But we're coming out of it. So for the New Hampshire facility, we're doing a trunk or tree where we are telling the employees to have their kids come out and grab a pumpkin, have their friends come out and grab a pumpkin, bring it home. So you can pick up the pumpkin outside, bring it home, decorated, bring it back to the office, all all while practicing social distancing. And then we're going to have a trunk or treat people can decorate their cars and have kids come and get, you know, candy in a safe manner. They can have a coffee candy
Scott MacKenzie 21:49
at the kids chair, along comes a Clark bar. Yeah.
Paula Butkevich 21:55
And costume. So kids, and then we're gonna talk we're going to have a pumpkin decorating contest. So they bring the pumpkins back with them. And they're displayed so everyone can see him and vote on the best. So it's just a way to get people out in a safe manner and to enjoy the season. Right. So we're our personnel group is working very hard to find these opportunities and continue to work on them.
Scott MacKenzie 22:19
I think that's beautiful, because I know people are trying to get back to some sense of normalcy. Yeah. And And that, to me is part of it. And I love it. I love the what, that that particular initiative. I mean, you know, the kids, they don't understand some of them. I mean, it's like, I want to get out there and have some fun. Absolutely.
Paula Butkevich 22:38
They don't understand. Yeah, I want to make it a little normal for them. Yeah,
Scott MacKenzie 22:41
I like it. All right, we're gonna have to wrap it up. Is there anybody that you want to just say, that person's a hero in my world?
Paula Butkevich 22:50
You know, I am so blessed because I could give you 15 names right off the top of my head. But I'm going to give you a good name for me, right. So joy, Martino works here
Scott MacKenzie 23:00
at Hitachi showdown. Let's spell that name out.
Paula Butkevich 23:04
It is Joseph. I Martino so it's i a M a r t. i and Oh.
Scott MacKenzie 23:16
Thank you very much for spelling that because I I started out all wrong.
Paula Butkevich 23:21
Scott MacKenzie 23:23
Okay, go ahead. Tell us a little bit about Joe. So Joe's
Paula Butkevich 23:25
fan. Um, he is the reason that I actually got into the wiring cable business back in the 80s. I have to first intern. And it was before interns were really a thing. And all these years later, he's the one that brought me back into the wire and cable grouping is the CEO for our Hitachi group, and he resides over in our Rhode Island business. And to say Joe is just the best mentor anybody could have is an understatement. He's very humble. And when he hears this will be angry. I even mentioned him
Scott MacKenzie 24:00
that he's gonna
Paula Butkevich 24:03
be so approachable. And he's, he's a brilliant man, he he is well learned in so many subject areas, and he likes to teach. He doesn't want to just tell you how to do something he prefer that you go do it, bring it back, and he'll tell you yes or no. And, you know, he's always five or six steps ahead of us as far as where the business needs to be. And he's worldly. And it's just, it's wonderful. He sees the good in people. Yeah, each person. He works and works to develop that talent. He has no more greater happiness and when his people are successful, he loves loves, loves the fact to have a strong team around him. And I think a lot of his success can see from he's such a planner. He's He's just a great guy. And I
Scott MacKenzie 24:51
just look at my calendar. Let's see if he's on the calendar. He's not on my calendar.
I mean, show
Scott MacKenzie 25:00
Now I go into shame mode and try to get old Joe on the old podcast because I believe and this is a great example of what you just spoke about the the pre virus, we were maybe a little lazy, possibly I'm not talking about Joe just talking about in general, macro whatever lazy from a leadership perspective, pandemic hits, and I think it really, it highlighted great leaders and how to manage this particular challenge and how to lead the way and, you know, calm the spirits of individuals that are,
Paula Butkevich 25:35
you know, concern. Absolutely. And because that,
Scott MacKenzie 25:38
let me check my calendar. Nope, you still not on it. Okay. You got the head. I'm gonna make it. And I'll ping him in this. But I think that that's great. Wonderful. Now, are you active out on LinkedIn? I am, sir. All right. And I'm not sure. All right.
Paula Butkevich 25:58
I was raised with respect.
Scott MacKenzie 26:02
You're right, ma'am.
Paula Butkevich 26:04
There you go. All the way.
Scott MacKenzie 26:06
All right. So she's active out there. You can't and her last name is beauty. Ke vi ch first day Paula. And it is She's the director of specialty sales. Pretty cool name. We have performance cable systems and material division. A tachi cable America. That's the company. You are wonderful.
Paula Butkevich 26:25
You said it better than I did.
Scott MacKenzie 26:29
Right. You're welcome. And all right, listeners, you know, as well as I do. I'm gonna wrap it up on the other side, all the contact information will be available at industrial talk.com do not go away. We will be right back. You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network. All right. What did I tell you? Absolutely. Paul up butkovich. That's bu t KEVICH. And it's a touchy cable. America is the company rabbitohs truth bombs. Manufacturing is cool. Again, manufacturing is cool. Here's it I want you to get involved. So I want you to go to either there's a manufacturing.com get involved. I want you to nominate go out to heroes of manufacturing COMM And nominate. And if you can't do that, just go out to industrial talk.com Connect me directly. I'll grab that ball and I'll run to the endzone Most definitely. And we'll make that happen. All right, people will be brave dare greatly connect with people who are your life will change. And I'm telling you, man, please, please, please, please, we need you collaborate, innovate. Educate. With a sense of purpose and tenacity. We're going to come back with another incredible interview. So do not go away. Stay tuned. We will be right back.