Sponsored by: 

Jonathan Donath

Jonathan Donath

Ellwood City Forge Group

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?

I am responsible for collaborating with each department to ensure that we, as a company, are following the customer’s and industry’s requirements as well as navigating customer and 3rd party audits of our facilities and processes. I also monitor my plant’s quality metrics and provide data/trend analysis to each department. Finally, on a daily basis, I deal with any material that doesn’t meet the customer’s requirements and work find methods for preventing these errors from happening again.

 How/why did you begin your career in manufacturing?

While going to school for a Mechanical Engineering degree, I took an opportunity to intern as a Plant Engineer for the Ellwood City Forge Group, a steel manufacturing company. After the internship I decided to take advantage of the flexibility that is common in most manufacturing companies and try the more relational role of working as a Product Specialist in Elwood’s Sales department. After two years in this role, I decided I would prefer to have a more hands-on role in the manufacturing process, so I took a promotional opportunity to become a Quality Engineer. I have found Quality to be the perfect blend of relational, technical, and hands-on and I am excited to continue to grow in this role.

 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? 

My current position allows me to have a great mix of office work and hands-on interactions with our processes out on the floor. I also enjoy that I get to use data to find ways to improve the quality and efficiency of our manufacturing processes, interact with every part of our manufacturing process (not just one area), and work with customers and other manufacturing companies, which allows me to see clearly how my company fits into the network of companies that supply critical components to the military, aerospace, and various other important industries.

 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.

Nominate a Navigator

Do you know an industry professional who would make a great Navigator? 

Nominate them using our form, and we’ll reach out to them about this unique opportunity.

Do you want the nominee to know you nominated them?