Senior Maintenance Technician, Cardinal Health, California
From 5:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each day, Carlos Villea is on the run. A conveyer could break down or an old machine will need a now unavailable part. “We are trained to expect the unexpected,” Dave Rost, his boss, said.
It’s this diversity, as well as the opportunity to work with his hands, use his skills and creativity and learn something new that keeps Carlos, a Senior Maintenance Technician for a Cardinal Health distribution center in California, coming back to a job that he loves.
It wasn’t always this way. Carlos spent ﬁve years driving a forklilf and thinking that he wanted a job in which he could use his hands and his head. “I saw what the technicians were doing and I liked that type of work,” he said. So, he enrolled in a trade school, earning a cerIﬁcaIon in electronics.
Armed with this he talked with Dave, the maintenance manager, and some supervisors, who recognized Carlos as a reliable employee from his years as a forklift operator. They were also impressed with Carlos’ initiative in attending and graduating from the electronics program at the trade school. So, they hired him as a maintenance technician.
It has been a good decision. In just ﬁve years, Carlos has gone up the ladder from a maintenance technician to a senior maintenance technician with the responsibilities to match.
Most mornings begin with what Dave calls the “Daily Huddle,” when he meets with Carlos and the rest of the team to discuss problems that might have occurred overnight. With six miles of conveyers in the facility, there are no shortage of opportunities for breakdowns and other issues.
Dave also goes over safety procedures, provides training if it is needed, Ies up any lose ends and sends the technicians oﬀ to do their work. Carlos and the others are connected by two way radios and work as a team to trouble shoot and handle any problems. “We are constantly training and learning,” Dave said.
From that Ime on, Carlos’ day is usually busy. If everything is running smoothly, he does preventive maintenance – an important part of his job -‐ on the one mile of conveyer that is his responsibility. He rarely gets a chance to stay there because he is part of a team and members help each other out when needed. “Sometimes I am running all over,” he said.
When he gets a call that a conveyer broke down, he and the team members become detectives to ﬁnd the reason – is it something mechanical, electronic or does it have to do with the controls? Broken conveyers impede the ﬂow of the medical products Cardinal Health sells to hospitals, clinics, doctors and even individual patients. Time is critical because many products have to be kept at certain temperatures.
Carlos is also responsible for parts inventory, a job that demands some creative thinking. If a part is not readily available he searches the Internet for it, sometimes even ordering from eBay. If nothing else works, he and his colleagues modify other parts to ﬁt where the old one broke. For instance, if a double pitched sprocket fails on an old machine and there is no replacement, Carlos may ﬁnd a similar, newer one and change the chain length. This aﬀects the speed of the conveyer, so he then ﬁgures out the gear raIos and modiﬁes the others so that it all works together.
Carlos is also part of a team tasked with evaluating the safety of the building after an earthquake. In addition, they test the emergency generators and the ﬁre system once a week. Periodically, the maintenance technicians go through the facility, taking thermal images of all of the mechanical parts, looking for hot spots that could mean trouble down the road.
Three years ago when Cardinal Health upgraded some of the major conveyers to a new system, Carlos was one of those who watched the engineers, asking questions about the new, sophisticated devices. Once the installation team was gone, he and his colleagues were responsible for keeping it up and running smoothly.
Even though he is constantly on the run, Carlos is happy with his job. “This is what I like doing,” he said.
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