Jonathan Donath

Jonathan Donath

MSA, The Safety Company

What was your first job?

For my very first job in high school, I started working as a downhill ski instructor at a local ski resort.

What do you do in your current role?

Working as a Quality Engineer, my role is to detect the source (the root cause) of bad parts/products as they are discovered and then to come up with sustainable solutions to those problems. These problems can range anywhere from small defects to large scale testing failures. Regardless of the issue though, it is important for me to work closely with the people out working in the production line as well as with the companies that supply our materials so I can quickly find all the information I need to solve the problem.  

How/why did you begin your career in manufacturing?

Coming out of college, I wanted to work more directly with people than a typical engineer does. So, I got a job working as a technical sales representative for a local steel manufacturing company that had provided me with an internship in college. While working with customers for two years was a very valuable experience, it showed me that I prefer to work more closely with the products itself, as well as the people who are making them. This inspired me to take a promotional opportunity to start working as a Quality Engineer.

What is your educational background?

Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Geneva College (17’). This education prepared me well, not only for all the different problem-solving roles I have been in since I graduated, but to have a well-rounded, purpose driven life.

What do you like most about your current position and work you are doing in manufacturing?

To be a volunteer fire fighter outside of work and to get to help product quality firefighter safety equipment at work is a very gratifying experience. I also like that, as a Quality Engineer, I get to do “detective work”, in that I gather information through the computer and by asking people questions to determine the root of the problem at hand. Then, once the problem is identified, I get to help come up with solutions that help produce both a higher quality and safer product.

What is the biggest thing that surprised you about manufacturing when you started working in the industry?

Manufacturing is everywhere! When I started looking for a job out of college, I had never considered that almost everything we interact with on a daily basis had to be designed and produced by a manufacturing supply chain somewhere in the world.

What is your #1 piece of advice for young people to prepare for a successful future?

My advice has two parts: 1) Train yourself to concentrate on your work. Being able to focus on your work for extended periods of time will help set you apart from your peers in this age of distractions. 2) Ask questions to learn the “why” behind your work. Learning the “why” behind the work you are involved in will allow you to be effective at problem solving and continuous improvement.

Why should someone consider a career in manufacturing?

Manufacturing is everywhere and since skills learned at one manufacturing company can easily be transferred to another company, this means there are numerous opportunities all over the country for people working in this industry. Manufacturing is also constantly evolving and looking to expand and improve, which means there are always opportunities for a motivated individual to grow and succeed.

What is something you enjoy doing outside of work?

My favorite activities include playing/coaching soccer and traveling, as well as any sort of outdoor adventure activity (especially when I get to bring my wife and dog along as well!). I also enjoy serving my community as a volunteer firefighter outside of working hours.

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