2011 Leader Under 40: Grady Knight, 23
Project Engineer, Star SU
Grady Knight, 23
Project Engineer, Star SU
Years at Star SU: Less than 1
Education: AAS Industrial Manufacturing Technology, Elgin Community College; BS Manufacturing Engineering Technology, Northern Illinois University
About Grady: “After receiving a Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship, my technical education began at Elgin Community College, where I studied to become a tool and die maker. If it were not for Grainger’s scholarship I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to explore the opportunities that lie within the industrial trades. Manufacturing systems ended up fascinating me, so I decided that I would continue my education before beginning a career in the machine tool industry, which brought me to Northern Illinois University. Since graduating, I have pursued industrial, mechanical, and project management disciplines in engineering to prepare for my career. At Star SU, I’m currently a project engineer responsible for designing gear manufacturing cells for automotive transmissions, as well as managing the projects from inception to installation.”
Why a career in manufacturing? “I enjoy the challenge of competing in a global marketplace, and I know the technological and human capital in American manufacturing will lead us to a stronger economy. Investing in American manufacturing by creating jobs in plants that otherwise would have been shuttered is both challenging and rewarding for me.”
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Annual Salary Survey
In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.
Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.