2014 Engineering Leader Under 40: Shadrach Stephens
Maintenance Group Leader; The Dow Chemical Company; Freeport, Texas
Shadrach Stephens, 33
Maintenance Group Leader
The Dow Chemical Company
Education: BS Electrical Engineering, Southern University
Shadrach Stephens has 11 years of instrumentation and controls industry experience and has achieved many accolades along the way. Most recently, his reliability team was the recipient of the 2013 HART Plant of the Year award, in which he led a team of 12 technicians to increase instrument reliability by 85% in 3 years, resulting in millions of dollars in production savings. At the beginning of his career, Shadrach was introduced to lean manufacturing principles when he partnered with other manufacturing engineers and Japanese consultants to design and manufacture U-shaped HVAC production lines, which resulted in higher productivity and quality while using significantly less floor space.
Shadrach’s passion is to coach and mentor other industry professionals and engineering students. In the last year, he attended mentoring workshops and volunteered to represent his organization at the 2014 National Society of Black Engineers Conference to mentor and recruit promising engineering talent. Shadrach empowers individuals and groups by providing them with the skills they need to effect positive and productive change. He understands that his value is not justified only by his work, but also by the people with whom he has relationships.
Why choose this career path?
“The controls industry is one of the most innovative engineering disciplines providing unique opportunities to seasoned professionals and recent graduates that are seeking challenging problems to solve,” said Stephens. “With the enhanced capabilities of smart technologies and the Internet of Things, controls professionals in the manufacturing sector are now tapping into portals of information that enable organizations to make data-based decisions. I’ve observed that these key business decisions require professionals that have the ability to understand technology trends and the value they deliver, the voice of the customer, and the effects of human behaviors.”
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey