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Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology
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June/July 2010

Diversity/Careers June/July 2010 Issue




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Diversity In Action

Bridgestone Americas: engineers & IT pros are still in demand

There’s work for project managers, tech service managers, lab managers and programmers, as well as ChEs, MEs, EEs and folks with SAP expertise


Toni Belhu, manager of organizational development, likes to see resumes that include manufacturing work.Engineers and IT pros are in demand at the world’s largest manufacturer of tires and rubber products, says Toni Belhu, manager of organizational development. “We always like to promote internally, but we also post externally for IT and engineering.” IT, in particular, “is the heartbeat of the company. Everything runs through IT.

“As we upgrade and change our focus and practices, we look for more teammates for engineering, from right out of college to seasoned engineers. It just depends on normal attrition.”

Jobs to be filled may include project managers, industrial engineers, technical service managers, lab managers and programmers, Belhu says. The company also hires ChEs, MEs and EEs. As an SAP company, Bridgestone needs IT folks with that background. And it seeks pros with legacy experience who can easily learn the company’s proprietary systems.

HR staffers at Bridgestone Americas like to see resumes that include manufacturing work, even from recent grads. Belhu encourages students to look for manufacturing-related internships or summer jobs. The company prefers college plus two years experience for starting positions, and likes to see up to ten or twelve years in the field for many other jobs. Each plant has its own engineering staff, Belhu says.

The company works with SWE and with other diversity-oriented groups. It visits nearby minority-serving colleges including Tennessee State University.

New Bridgestone Americas employees enjoy an orientation that introduces them to the company’s diversity-friendly environment. In addition to a diversity council, there are plenty of affinity groups available: a veterans’ group, an international group, an African American group and more. Some affinity groups offer a formal mentoring service. The company has a director of diversity and talent management.

Bridgestone Americas also allocates funds to send talented female employees to Women Unlimited, an organization that runs leadership development programs for women in big companies. “As a result of that we started a women’s business council here seven years ago,” Belhu says. “We now have them at several locations.” The company also has a new-manager program focused on diversity awareness.

Bridgestone Americas has a yearly “disability day,” bringing in college students with disabilities to visit and work alongside company people. The company also sponsors the Inroads program for minority interns, and Belhu works with Tennessee State to put on day-long sessions of mock interviews that help students prepare for job hunting.

Belhu is a certified career coach, and is available to employees who want advice in planning their futures. The company has an “open posting” system to help employees learn about interesting career possibilities, and it brings in trained professionals to conduct personality evaluations and help people understand their own working styles and interests.

When it comes to work-life balance, Bridgestone Americas has onsite gyms at many locations, plus aerobics classes and walking programs. Parents are offered some flexibility in their hours. The company is currently piloting a four-day workweek program, and telecommuting is sometimes available depending on the job.

Bridgestone employees are eager to give back to their communities at every location, Belhu says. They get involved with Habitat for Humanity, the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and Junior Achievement. A volunteer committee alerts people to other opportunities for service.

Techies often visit community groups to speak about career opportunities, especially in IT. “Our VP of IT comes out to career events and helps work our booth. And one of our locations just put on an engineering day for children.

“We do a lot of things that are funneled up from the grass roots,” Belhu concludes.

D/C



Bridgestone Americas
Bridgestone Americas
www.bridgestoneamericas.com

Headquarters: Nashville, TN
Employees: 50,000+ in the Americas
Business: Tires and rubber products

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