While Tom McPherson enjoys the challenges that come with being a mentor he had some reservations. “I did not ask for it,” Tom stated. “But I communicate effectively with our participants, and I demonstrated the patience that is needed, so I’m a natural fit for the role.”
In addition to being a mentor in Mukilteo’s Manufacturing Training Program, Tom is also Orion’s Mukilteo 2019 Staff Member of the Year.
Tom has been with Orion for five years, and he is a member of the second cohort of mentors in Mukilteo. He has provided one-on-one mentoring in the Bond Shop and in Wire/Cable Harness Production.
“I love to see the progress that our participants make,” Tom said. “I’ve seen people come into our paid training program with no experience, who know nothing about manufacturing, who then build up a skill set and gain new abilities.”
I’d prefer a job to be done properly, so I focus on quality, especially at the beginning of training. There is no point in having a job done fast and wrong. I know that an increase in speed will come with experience.
– Tom McPherson / Orion Mentor
Time management can be a challenge for any mentor. The position requires that production goals are met, while at the same time teaching program participants the correct steps for each job. Tom prefers to start participants on low risk jobs with the focus of making sure that each step is done correctly. “One of the first things I teach new participants is to always check and never assume,” Tom explained. “I’d prefer a job to be done properly, so I focus on quality, especially at the beginning of training. There is no point in having a job done fast and wrong. I know that an increase in speed will come with experience.”
Mentors receive a combination of classroom and video training, and role play various scenarios to help them prepare for their mentor duties. Tom recognizes the importance of what a mentor does, and what an amazing responsibility it is. “I’m proud of the fact that Orion asked me to step up and be a leader,” Tom related. “Working individually with each participant allows mentors to chip away any barriers to employment that a person may have. Orion helps them learn that obstacles can be overcome.”
Orion’s training builds the confidence of participants, while providing the soft skills and technical skills that employers are looking for. “I have seen the positive impact that Orion has on participants in our programs,” Tom said. “Being a mentor has also grown my confidence in ways that I didn’t think possible. I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction being part of something that actually matters. What we do at Orion can change a life.”