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January 11, 2016
January 11, 2016
How long have you lived in Detroit and what changes have you noticed in the city over the past few years?
I've lived here since 2009.
Employment-wise it has changed a lot because there wasn't a lot of good jobs available in the city back in the day. The mayor has been doing a lot in the city of Detroit trying to cleanup a lot of the abandoned homes and things like that, so it really has come a long way. In the next five years I hope to see more job openings, and I hope they tear down more of the abandoned houses to make the neighborhoods look a little better. Especially in the area I live in, we have quite a few abandoned homes and hopefully they will tear that stuff down and build new homes.
How did you find the job as a watch assembler?
I wanted a 9-5 job that was Monday through Friday, and I wanted something closer to home. The recruiter asked me if I was interested in making watches. I told him that I had never thought about it, and I’d never heard of Shinola, but I came in and did the dexterity test to see what it would be like.
The initial quality check operation inside the watch factory.
All Shinola watch assemblers must take part in a dexterity test before they are hired, what is it like?
At first it was intimidating — the parts are so little. But I said to myself, “I can do this.” You have to have good eyesight and good dexterity, and I did it. I then went to the Taubman Center and interviewed with Olivier, the plant manager who is from Belgium, and I was hired.
What is your role at Shinola?
My proudest moment would be seeing that my supervisor saw that I was fit to move up and be a Team Leader. I assist the supervisor with running the movement line, and I monitor the daily activities of the line – it’s a step up for me. The opportunities here are great because the company is growing so much, and there is room for people to advance. It’s a great atmosphere — it’s a place you want to retire from one day.
Organizing all the little parts that go into every watch at the initial quality check.
What do you want people to know about Shinola?
It’s not often that you personally know the owner of a company with hundreds of employees, and they know you too by face and name. It’s a great company to work for, and the atmosphere is inviting with close-knit employees.
We were trained so one day we could train others and that’s the same thing that we're doing with our group now. The movement line isn’t going to be their last stop at Shinola, there's so much room to grow and that’s what we look for them to do — to move up. It really is eye-opening to see that a lot of what we do is to create opportunities for people to move up and pass on knowledge.
What does it feel like being one of the original employees for Shinola?
You can't go anywhere and find people that can make a watch, it’s a unique trait to have that training behind you. And it’s a plus anywhere you go because some people won't even believe you when you say, "Oh, I built the inside of that watch." It makes you feel like you're a step above the rest.
This interview is part of a new series called JOBS that highlights the people that make Shinola tick. Find their stories here on The Journal or on our Jobs page. This interview was done by Marsha Music.
Nearly all of Shinola Products are Built in the US with US or Imported Parts