In the Driver's Seat
As the automotive industry continues to boom in South Carolina, Terrance Rivers and LaTokia Trigg are in the driver’s seat in the Lowcountry and the Upstate, respectively. Here, these two readySC Senior Area Directors share their experiences working with automotive companies and their excitement about the direction in which the industry is headed.
Terrance’s background is in the banking industry, where he was a jack of all trades – serving alternately as a data analyst, an Internet banking manager, a mortgage lender and a relationship manager. He installed software, tracked loan campaigns, trained clients and wrote training manuals for internal staff and user guides for clients. It was this skills mastery and versatility, coupled with a desire to nurture growth in people, that led him to readySC.
Year started: 2011
readySC mentor: Jim Maxon
Number and names of current automotive projects: 1 – Volvo
One on One with Terrance
Name a highlight from an automotive discovery trip: Visiting the Volvo Museum in Gothenburg, Sweden. I did not expect that we would see everything from the Volvo P1800 and buses to concept cars, front loaders and a Volvo engine-powered boat (the Penta Aquamatic).
What you like most about working with automotive companies: Automotive companies are different from most of our client companies in that they present a problem statement and look to readySC to work alongside their subject matter experts to discover a solution. Their direction and specificity regarding their needs drives innovation for me and the readySC team and emboldens my team members to leverage many of the advanced manufacturing skillsets they have brought into the instructor role.
What most excites you about SC’s burgeoning EV industry: The way that South Carolina seems in step or even ahead of many other states nationwide. It is also encouraging to see South Carolinians step up and retool their skillsets to take on these new roles. But the most exciting aspect of this evolution is that Volvo and the surrounding community has confidence in readySC’s ability to support their needs, which impacts the company’s competitiveness worldwide.
Best thing about being a readySC Senior Area Director: The challenge presented by each new client we take on. No two companies, even within the automotive industry, are identical. Each of our new projects are like puzzles that range from the simple to the complex. Our client companies are continuously improving production processes for their hourly workforce, and often readySC is at the forefront of those conversations. As an organization, readySC is able to demonstrate its value daily.
Even when LaTokia first joined readySC, she was no stranger to the automotive industry. As a member of the initial Training and Development Team for Toyota’s first plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, LaTokia wore many hats: she prepared employees for the culture shock of training in a foreign country; delivered modules in team building, Quality Circles and Toyota Philosophies of Efficiency; and developed team leaders. Training the “Toyota way” provided LaTokia with an excellent foundation for how to help companies start up and expand – skills she would use when she later joined readySC.
Year started: 1994
readySC mentors: Susan Pretulak and the late Larry Lindsey
Number and names of current automotive projects: 3 – GML Industries, LLC; Lear Corporation; Oshkosh Defense
One on One with LaTokia
Name a highlight from an automotive discovery trip: A ride on the test track in the Oshkosh Defense Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) to experience its special capabilities. That was super cool! Perhaps a little less thrilling but still fun to see was Old Betsy, Oshkosh’s first 4X4 truck, built in 1917 and on display at corporate headquarters in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. And to know that Oshkosh’s operations in Spartanburg County will produce the US Postal Service’s fleet of Next Generation Delivery Vehicles – all of these are a testament to the company’s versatility and innovation from the early 1900s through today.
What you like most about working with automotive companies: Because I started my career in the automotive industry, these projects still spark excitement. It’s interesting to see how things have evolved over the years.
What most excites you about SC’s burgeoning EV industry: The opportunity to learn about the technology and to see South Carolinians learn how to use it. I also think it will be interesting to witness associated industry and infrastructure growth needed to support electric vehicles.
Best thing about being a readySC Senior Area Director: Over the years, I have worked closely with a diverse group of amazing companies, including automotive OEMs and Tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers. They are all different and interesting in their own way; I’m always learning. I also help people find great employment opportunities. What can I say? I love my job!