2012 Leader Under 40: Benjamin Tanner, 33
Director of Continuous Improvement, Dean Foods, Dallas
Benjamin Tanner, 33
“Benjamin has been instrumental in improving the capability of the plants he supports,” said Craig McCutcheon, vice president of continuous improvement at Dean Foods. “His intellect and insight allow him to skillfully improve results in safety, quality, and productivity. He has improved existing processes and developed new ones with great success. His technical expertise is exceptional and his problem-solving skills are unparalleled among his high-performing peer group. However, it is important to recognize a more important characteristic: Ben doesn’t drive improvement by his hands alone. He patiently teaches peers and operators—developing their capabilities and enabling improvement exponentially. Ben sets a high bar and helps others exceed their expectations.”
Why a career in manufacturing?
“I chose a career in manufacturing because creating and building products gives me pride in what I do. Many people believe that the U.S. economy has shifted entirely to a service economy, but our economy is still largely dependent on manufacturing and building products for Americans. Being in manufacturing enables me to show my children how I contribute not only to our life, but to the lives in our community. I'm proud that my young children will one day be able to point to a product and say, ‘My dad made that!’”
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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.