tiffany, manufacturers, manufacturing, mep, damon, kansas, people, manufacturing extension partnership, team, day, cookie, find, pandemic, talk, dana, leadership, question, kms, kurt, energy
Damon Pistulka, Curt Anderson, Tiffany Stovall
Damon Pistulka 00:02
All right, everyone, welcome once again, it is Friday and it is time for the manufacturing ecommerce success. So I’m one of your co hosts Damon Pistulka. And you know what? I just want to say stream yard fix that nasty mirroring thing. So now I can actually point at Curt Anderson. You’re going the wrong way. And it goes the right way. That’s something. Well, I’m gonna turn it over to Kurt here with that happiness.
Curt Anderson 00:29
Maker. Daymond. Happy Friday, brother. What an amazing, incredible week man. we’re winding down the month we’re winding down third quarter we’re coming in. Was it just like New Year’s yesterday? Like we’re winding down? Right? Yep.
Damon Pistulka 00:43
And what is next month? What is next month?
Curt Anderson 00:47
What’s my birthday? No Halloween, I’d ordered manufacturing
Damon Pistulka 00:49
month manufacturing, everything in manufacturing in October. So it’s a big month for us. And we’re getting
Curt Anderson 00:58
a huge month. And if you’re a sports fan, like it is it’s like October is the best month of the year. Isn’t it? Good?
Damon Pistulka 01:05
Yeah, it’ll pull. We might end the 20 year drought in the Major League Baseball playoff. Can we got one game? We can do it today.
Curt Anderson 01:13
congrat. Well, hey, we’re rooting for you Seattle Mariners. So we hope you do it tonight. So let’s dig in. Guys. If you’re with us, drop us a note. Drop us a low We’ve got John McLean. Oh, here. We got Yeshua. Hey, happy Friday, dry guys. And if you’re here, drop a note. Let us know that you’re out there. We have an amazing, incredible guest today. Damon, I am just so honored both thrilled to introduce our dear friend Tiffany Stovall. Tiffany, happy Friday. How are you today?
Tiffany Stovall 01:43
You know at TGI F, this is it’s fall. I don’t know about you guys and where you are. I’m in Kansas City. And today it’s the perfect fall day. The sun’s shining, the sky is blue. The weather is perfect. Yeah, I’m doing great.
Curt Anderson 02:00
Well, thank you for joining us. I know you know you and I. Alright, let’s dig in. So first off, you are the director of Kansas manufacturing solutions. That is the Kansas and II P. Manufacturing Extension Partnership. And Damon we’ve had the honor and privilege we’ve interviewed numerous folks from the MEP network, we’re going to take a deep dive there. But Tiffany I know you’re you know, you’re a proud Missouri grad and you’ve had a great career and EPA, we’ve got engineering, manufacturing, all sorts of good juicy stuff in your background.
My first question for you today, my friend. Are you sitting down for this one? Tiffany, are you sitting? Okay, I want to make sure you’re sitting down. Alright, David, you ready? Here we go. I’m listening. Tiffany as a young gal growing up. Who was your hero? Who was your hero? You’ve accomplished such great things at such an early age, who inspired this wonderful success? Who is your hero growing up?
Tiffany Stovall 02:58
My mother? Oh, this sounds I know. It sounds kind of lame. But it was my mother, my mom and God bless her. She’s got Alzheimer’s now. So my mom isn’t the mom that I grew up with. But she’s still my mom. And my mom is a woman that would move mountains with her look. And by her sheer will she was just making things happen. And it didn’t matter what she had to sacrifice. She worked hard. You know, the, you know that saying work hard play hard. She believed in work hard, work hard.
Damon Pistulka 03:37
And I like that. And
Tiffany Stovall 03:38
I know that no, that’s not that’s not the good part. Okay? Because WORK HARD WORK HARD means you save play for later. And then you get Alzheimer’s and later doesn’t come. Okay. However, what she did instill in me is a work ethic, as well as if you want something. There’s no such thing as No, it’s just how are we going to do it? Maybe it won’t work that way. But let’s find a way to make it happen.
And that’s who she was. She is She was no didn’t exist. It was not that way. And so that that was a driving force for me that okay, this isn’t gonna work this way. But if the goal is still out here and it is viable, then we’re we’ll just find a way she was a fine. She was a woman that found a way no matter what it was, and I can’t tell you how much that has inspired me. It didn’t necessarily inspire me when I was young. Because I said to do it, well find a way but now I get it.
Curt Anderson 04:47
When you’re a teenager probably you didn’t like hearing that. No all the time in Tiffany. What’s mom’s name?
Tiffany Stovall 04:52
Edith. But she has a nickname Cookie. Cookie. Yeah, her nickname was her name is Edith. But uh, Friends and Family color cooking and now when she’s being a little honoree, I call her cookie to come on cookie.
Curt Anderson 05:09
Wow, thank you for sharing that story of wood and inspiration and love. We’d love that question. We’d love the answers that we get. And so a big shout out we send our love and blessings to cookie. And you know what, Damon I think we should get T shirts. Find a way so Damon you I tell you, dude, I love the posts that you’ve been putting out. Let’s How about a post? Let’s unite chat after there needs to be a post. Find a way.
Find a way so I love that. So Tiffany, let’s go there. So alright, let’s talk about we. Alright, we’re going to talk about the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Okay. So for folks out there again, drop us a note. Lori, we’ve got Shaw, we’ve got Yeshua Whitney’s here. Whitney’s Hey guys, Friday, let us know that you’re here.
Lori, connect with Tiffany here on LinkedIn. Man, you’re gonna thank us later. definitely connect with Tiffany here. We’re gonna geek out on manufacturing. So Tiffany, I want to dig into like your background. And then we’re going to slide into the MVP network. So let’s so cookie was a great leader, great, wonderful role model for you raise us rock star that you are talking about? Like when you went off to Missouri, kind of like what was a career path? And like how did what brought your superpowers towards this world of manufacturing let’s see or what was going on in college and like post college in your world.
Tiffany Stovall 06:31
So when I went to college, the vision and the view of what I thought I was going to be and who I thought I was going to be when I grew up. It was it’s nothing like what I’ve ended up as. So I hadn’t really decided I what I knew was that I was going to college. Okay, that wasn’t an option for me. I knew I was going to college. And I had to declare and I had been in all of these programs because well cookie, I had been in all these programs in high school that sort of directed me toward the business world.
Because by the nature of the program, so it’s a wonderful program called inroads. It’s nationwide if you if you’re not sure of it, look it up. It is a program for minority youth with a mission to help to sort of to drive this vision of Business Excellence working excellence community service. And so while other kids were spending Saturday mornings lounging in bed, I spent Saturday mornings, my junior and senior year at University of Missouri Kansas City extension at eight o’clock in the morning, taking classes. So there’s that I changed my major like four times in college, maybe five, okay.
Because I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to be and I graduated with a degree in marketing but a couple of minors because again, I had changed my major so many times that I had gotten really close and then changed. I ended up where I am actually as a result of an internship I did at the Environmental Protection Agency where my father worked there, okay, it’s really okay. Yeah, my father worked for EPA, at the time. And I ended up there, we just planted a seed of, environmentalism, energy management. Q. Then after my child after my son was born, I went to work for a large international firm called Tetra Tech. Yeah.
And they’re an environmental services firm. And I was hired as the first what was supposed to be the first hire of a team of 11 or 12 people in energy management. I was the first hire by who by the director, they, they shut off hiring right after me because that was like 2007 2008. Okay. Yeah, you know, and we all know what happened around that time. Yeah, little goofy hiccup pack. He looked at me at one point and said, okay, okay, kid. Okay, kid, it’s just you and me, you’re gonna have to learn this stuff. Ah, you know what, but I don’t know that you’ll really be able to do it. But what could you say? Get it done, right?
Curt Anderson 09:12
Find a way find a way anyway.
Tiffany Stovall 09:15
And so I took that as a challenge. And not as a you can’t do this, I took it as a challenge. And so I went and got energy management certified, certified as an energy management professional. And it kind of the rest is history.
And so that’s actually where I how I ended up in this organization is we were doing energy studies, energy audits and finding ways for at the time with Tetra Tech, large organizations, so large industrial customers, municipalities, like cities and counties, universities trying to help them find ways to save energy by going on site, looking at everything that used you know, that that made their utility bills, high lighting, air compressors, heating, cooling, things like that, and I got wind of the me of the Kansas MEP actually they got wind of us and said, hey, you know what?
This might be cool. If we could do this for some of our smaller manufacturers. Can you guys do that? The way the pricing structure was it was like, ah, but, you know, make away. And so we, we ended up partnering with the local MEP, and we ended up doing so much work that they said, why don’t you guys just come in house and build a practice? And that’s what we did? Oh, that’s
Curt Anderson 10:28
nice. Yeah, absolutely. So again, guys connect with Tiffany here and you see, you know, EPA, heavy on energy, which, you know, I feel like you were ahead of your time. You know, from the energy standpoint, Tiffany, and I love this is a perfect segue. So if I’m not mistaken, 2010, I saw on your LinkedIn profile, that you joined the MEP in Kansas. So anybody out there, they’re like, You guys keep saying this M E. P, what are you guys talking about? Can you please explain to everybody? What is the Manufacturing Extension Partnership that you are the head of in Kansas? And then we’ll take a deep dive there?
Tiffany Stovall 11:02
That’s a really great question, MEP. It’s it is called the Manufacturing Extension Partnership was just out of NIST, which is the National Institute of Standards and Technologies, which a federally is under the US Department of Commerce. So we’re a national network, there’s one of us in every state, we exist nationally to help manufacturing manufacturers in our states, be competitive, to help them grow. We work one on one with manufacturers. You know, we hear you hear a lot of talk about manufacturing at the national level, right?
The importance of manufacturing, let’s bring manufacturing back from China, let’s bring manufacturing back from overseas. But what does that mean? And how do we do that? Right. And so our organization nationally, is focused on just that making sure that our manufacturers stay competitive, they have the resources and the tools that they need, whether it’s we’re helping them be more cost efficient, through methodologies, such as lean, and continuous improvement, which helps get to that bottom line, you know, Tick money off that bottom line.
Or whether we’re trying to find ways to help them grow by helping them find new customers, find new markets, expand what they’re already doing, and then everything in between. The other thing that we as the MEP network do is look ahead, what will manufacturing be today, in next week, but next year, and in five years and in 10 years, and help prepare our manufacturers, particularly to the small and medium sized manufacturers?
Because the larger ones tend to have their own internal consultant staff? How do we help these companies do what they need to do and position so that they can be poised for opportunities in a year, five years, 10 years? So you know, thinking about automation, and robotics and digitization, all the things that we didn’t want to talk about a few years ago, right? Because Oh, it’s gonna take jobs, but now we can’t find people to put in those jobs. Right. But we still have to make all this stuff. So how do we do that? We stopped we can supplement and augment what we already have through things like automation and digitization and robotics.
Curt Anderson 13:19
Well, I absolutely love this. And so Damon, I want I did you know, I do a little bit of cyber stalking. I mean, research on our guest right now that I stay strong atomies research, research, I do research. And so what’s great is I found Tiffany, Tiffany, I found you on a on an interview with C span. And this was going on right in the heart of COVID. Can you talk about that a little bit. I just man, I was like beaming with pride for you. It was awesome. Here. You’re talking to politicians about the importance of manufacturing how critical manufacturing is. Can you just share a little bit about that experience?
Tiffany Stovall 13:54
You know, what’s so interesting about that is that I actually had COVID at the time. I was on day two of COVID. And it was like bad COVID So this was all previous bad. COVID COVID. That lasted that the effects lasted months. Yeah. running a fever. I’m sweating. Well, you know.
Curt Anderson 14:16
I Damon, I have to say that Tiffany wears COVID Very well, because Stephanie, I thought you rocked it. You were doing amazing. But just if you find that relevant for our conversation today, I just I was just beaming with pride on what you shared with the float these politicians talk a little bit about that, man, and you did such a great job with COVID. Who knew? Right?
Tiffany Stovall 14:36
Well, absolutely, absolutely. You know, the thing is, is that we had been up to our necks as an organization and as a national network, and trying to figure out how do we meet the needs of manufacturers. So if you all remember back to this, so the testimony that Kurt’s talking about happened in November of 2020. So we were already many months into the pandemic. Companies were struggling, not just manufacturing, but all companies, we’d had shutdowns, we’d had all kinds of things. And manufacturing was considered, you know, one of those, one of those industries that needed to stay moving, right.
And so we needed to stay moving with it and actually with actually to stay ahead of what manufacturers needed from us, not just in general, but at the time, right. So what that testimony to Congress was about was twofold, about really telling the stories of the challenges that were happening on the ground that were happening with our manufacturers and how they were working so hard, and shifting so quickly, in order to meet the needs of the American people and beyond. Right, it was, it was absolutely astounding. Typically, change happens and incrementally, right. And it happens slowly.
This happened so fast, and manufacturers and need it, and they did it because you know, for a big to meet the need, but to keep their doors open and to keep their people employed. This was also about keeping people in jobs. Right. And they did they moved so quickly. And so as MEP network, we were out in front of that we were out we were there with them trying to understand what they needed at the time. Okay, so you’re a manufacturer that makes chemicals and brooms, and sweepers, but you have the ability to make some of the PPE that we need.
What does that look like? How can we help you shift on a dime, and shift to next, you know, making those things in a matter of days and weeks instead of months? And years? How can we help you do that? What do you need from us, and our Congress, our legislators needed to understand what was happening on the ground, because they were all we, all of us as American people, our legislators were leading the charge to say, we need to have masks and ventilators and sanitizer, we need all of this stuff. Manufacturers go make it. But it’s not that simple. Right? It’s not
Curt Anderson 17:12
that simple. Just wave the wand and just start making stuff. Right?
Tiffany Stovall 17:15
That’s right. And that and it took it takes a lot. It took a large amount of investment from our manufacturers, a large investment of money, time, money, thought, and they did it. So those that were able to shift did it so quickly. And there were others that were sort of sitting on a shelf saying, hey, you know what, if we’re needed, we’re right here, just call us, right?
Just call us, let us know. But that took that takes a lot of coordination number one to know who those companies are. And to help them realize what their potential might be. Right? If all they’re used to doing is making, you know, brooms and brushes. I’m just using that as an example. Because that was that’s a big example of a great shift here in Kansas. Yeah,
Curt Anderson 18:01
yeah. I absolutely love that. So Alright, so now let’s right so now you did a great explanation of MVP as a whole. So anybody out there like okay, this MVP. So, boy, if you’re tied with manufacturers, if you are a manufacturer, your service provider to manufacturers use I strongly encourage invite you welcome you to contact your local MEP. We’re here talking with Tiffany, she’s the director of the Kansas MEP Kansas manufacturing solutions. Now, I have to go here, Dana, and are you ready for this one? I have a little I have a fun little story to share. Okay. Last week was the annual Manufacturing Extension Partnership annual conference, okay.
Two years ago was cancelled, of course, because of COVID. Last year, they had one kind of you know, like some people went in some people didn’t, from what I understand. I had the honor and privilege I attended this year was in Chicago. Tiffany, I’m so sorry. I was so looking forward to meeting you in person. And life had a different direction for you. So you’re unable to make it. So I’m at the conference. And so I want to take a deep dive into what’s going on at kms. And I love it. I think your website is we are kms do I have that correct?
Tiffany Stovall 19:08
Yes, we are kms
Curt Anderson 19:11
love that. Us. But I want to share a quick little story. I’m at the show and they have like sessions. So you have like training sessions. And like, you know, it’s one of those things where like, there’s four sessions, and like, oh, man, they all look good. Which one do I pick? And I just I don’t even know why I don’t even know what it was when I selected I walk into the session. And it’s three folks from Kansas. And it was Dana.
It was Jan, and it was Dave Stein. Okay, I think Jan Peters and Dana Dana’s last name. Gunderman. Dana Connery, thank you. And I connect with these guys and connect with these guys on LinkedIn. And I just sat down and I’m like, I was completely captivated. Dana, if you’re out there you are a powerhouse, man. What a personality she is.
There we’re talking about this great program. The road running. Jan is doing an amazing job covering in different parts of Kansas. Dana is doing an incredible job. And then Dave Stein is just rocking it. So the next day I’m walking out, I’m looking at a set of stairs. I literally almost run into this guy. His name is Dave Stein. And I’m like, I look at his nametag. I’m like, Dave, I go, didn’t you just present yesterday? He goes, Yeah, I go, Dude, I Mike, that was a home run, man, that was like what you guys are doing in Kansas? is so good. Dave and I man, it was like, we were like Soul brothers.
Like, we totally hit it off. He’s a huge baseball fan. David, you Damon, you would love Dave. So we end up talking, I think for like 45 minutes. Tiffany, this is what I want to share with you. Number one, you’ve built a rockstar team. I saw it firsthand. I’m not just saying it because you’re here. Nice. Kudos to you. The admiration in this again, I’m not saying this just for state this day. The admiration and the respect and just like even the glimmer in his eye, as he described you as a leader. He’s a 20 year veteran working at Anheuser Busch. He’s lived all over the country. I mean, this guy is legit, this guy is a quality, phenomenal candidate dedicated to helping manufacturers.
He views you as such a rockstar leader shared with me how you’ve turned the ship around at kms. When you came on as director in 2017. I’m going to stop on that. First off, congratulations. Number two, kudos to you on the team that you’ve built. So number three, I’m going to talk about your leadership. Let’s start with this number one. Talk about what’s going on like what to manufacturers. Man, you guys are so lucky manufacturers in Kansas are so blessed to have Tiffany and her team talk about what types of services do you specifically provide? at kms?
Tiffany Stovall 21:53
You know, thank you for asking that question. Because we talk about MVP, and we show up and sometimes we leave and people go but I still don’t know what do they do? So what we in? When I say we I mean our team will go into let’s talk use you mentioned Dave, I’ll talk about Dave, we also have Jeff glimpse, and Scott Stewart and others that will go in and meet with a met with manufacturing leadership, right?
Sit down with them really talk through what’s keeping you up at night? What are your challenges? What Where do you want to go to where it Where do you want to grow to? How’s business, right, like, just give it to me really How’s business asking those probing questions and having that happen.
Just having that initial conversation that helps our, our, our folks really understand what’s happening in the business. And, and also understand where there may be some gaps. So we’re not there necessarily to push a product or matter of fact, we’re never there to push a product push a service, it’s really understanding where the challenges are, and where we might be able to offer some help and some support. Okay. And we’ve got some really great people that are really great at doing that.
It you know, it’s not like selling a pen here, right? We’re talking about the features and benefits of this wonderful, beautiful pen and it flows the ink flow so nicely, it’s wonderful. But having a really having a conversation with a business owner and trying to understand where their challenges are and where they may need help at and sometimes they can’t necessarily articulate that. It’s not because they’re not smart or don’t know their business. It’s because what they’re feeling is the pain, right? We’re trying to get to what that pain is and understand what’s behind it. So then we can help fill those gaps. So that’s now a smooth road for them. Yeah,
Curt Anderson 23:51
I absolutely love it. Just the name is perfect, right Kansas manufacturing solutions. And so again, you know, you’ve put together a great team and I love the website name we are kms So guys, if you check out we are kms there’s all sorts of great helpful information on the website. You have your team on there now on top of that, you hire your third party resources. So hired guns, experts, people that are you know, 1020 30 years in a field on like you mentioned before lean operational excellence engineering, you know, your background with energy, Dave Stein’s background, Dana Jan like your whole team.
You bring in a whole wealth of information to help that manufacturer feel good through that challenge. And Damon, we talk a lot about you know, those manufacturers they’re just nose to the grindstone. They feel like they’re in a silo.
I know we talked about that a lot. But Tiffany, what the folks what your team in that session that I caught? Boy, it was powerful. They’re talking about, you know, they’re creating if I’m using right word, like a cohort model, or like, you know, bringing manufacturers together, so they don’t feel like they’re alone. They’re collaborating together. They’re sharing, you know, we’re back in person or sharing lunch together. I think Jan was talking about, can you talk a little bit about like, what are some of the specific things that you guys are doing there?
Tiffany Stovall 25:05
Yep. Perfect. So what you’re what the presentation you heard about was about our manufacturing networks. Yep. And so Kansas City manufacturing network is the organization that Dana Gunderman is executive director of. And we’ve had that organization. And we started that about 25 years ago, actually, more than two, almost, you know, a little bit more than 25 years ago, now.
It was 1996, that, that we’re gonna that the group was chartered. And the purpose behind it was really, so again, we can provide services to a manufacturer, again, in the area of clean continuous improvement, strategic planning, leadership training and development, marketing, sales, workforce, we can provide direct services that way, but sometimes a manufacturer just needs to connect with another manufacturer.
So we recognized that many years ago, and think of it like an association, so they get together monthly, they have monthly meetings. There’s also some benefits that are available through the manufacturing network. But really, it’s about manufacturers talking to and learning from other manufacturers.
So when we have events, when we have these monthly meetings, it’s typically a panel or a speaker, but they’re all They’re made of manufacturers. And we try to be very careful. So a lot. So the thing about manufacturers is that they’re busy making stuff, okay. They’re not like other service providers that will go to chamber events and, you know, other types of events, it has to be special to get them out of their facilities.
And what they don’t want is to be inundated with a service provider service providers out here, don’t take this personally. But they don’t necessarily want to be inundated by service providers, they want their going so that they can talk to you and meet with other manufacturers. So we’ve been very careful and selective about the membership, keeping at a ratio of majority manufacturers 70 to 75%, manufacturers as membership two to 20 to 25 30% others and we were you know really sort of sticklers about that, to protect manufacturers learning from other manufacturers.
And so with the success of Kansas City manufacturing network, we in 2021, started the central Kansas manufacturing network, which is what Jan Peters is ahead of as well as getting ready getting positioned to start yet another manufacturing network and another pocket of the state in Southeast Kansas, again with it with the idea that regionally manufacturers that are close to each other can talk and learn from each other and become peers and share resources and information and, and successes and woes and all of that kind of a thing, right.
Curt Anderson 27:55
And it’s in being a conduit to you know, Damon, we talk a lot about how critical it is building community. And that was a big takeaway for me, Tiffany was like just, you know, the passion that man I’m telling you, Dana, is I would love to have her on the program they’ve been you would love her. She is and I was actually in other sessions with Dana and every time she spoke, man, I was like, you know, here’s like, you know, she just brilliant, just brilliant, passionate, loved hearing what she had to say.
But I love how you’re building that community to allow other manufacturers in, you’re spot on. They want value. They’re not there to kind of like chit chat. And hey, let’s kill some time. And I love how you’re limiting other service providers there. Now, if I saw on your website, did I see Kansas connects? Did I see that on your did? You didn’t? Let’s go there for a second.
Tiffany Stovall 28:43
Kansas connects. You heard me talk about the pandemic a little bit earlier. And one of the things that we learned very acutely during the pandemic is we don’t know. And when I say we I don’t mean just in Kansas, I mean, nationally, we don’t know who’s making what we don’t know what you know, we know the big name companies. But this this country is driven by small to medium sized manufacturers. It just is.
And so when we needed PPE, we didn’t know where to find it, you know where to go. And so you know, what we did in Kansas is no different than what other MEP centers did across the country. And we were expected to know because well, you’re the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, if you don’t know where the manufacturers are that oh my gosh, we’re in trouble.
But the good news is you can have a list. But as soon as you create a list, it’s outdated, right? It’s outdated a few months later, because people change jobs, abilities change all of those kinds of things. And so what we knew that we needed was a solution. Not we needed, we need a solution nationally, we need a solution and state so that if and when something like this happens again, whether it’s a pandemic or some other sort of national emergency, or just we just want to know who makes what and Where to find it, we need a solution for that.
So that’s what connects Kansas is about, it’s really about creating a manufacturing supply chain database so that manufacturers can be found. And they can find each other for procurement types of needs, it’s really cool that once a manufacturer goes on there, and they register and create, they got to create a capability statement, right? So we can, we can pull all kinds of data about what they make, but nobody can tell the story of what they make and what they can do.
It’s not just what they do right now, but what they can do, which we learned the importance of during the pandemic, like a manufacturer, so they can go on in there and create a capability statement so that then we can really understand what our capabilities are in the state. But also more most importantly, for the manufacturer, the what the, you know, the wisdom wasn’t for me, is that once they do that, now they’re open to new sales opportunities, right? So if you’re, if it’s an OEM or a tier one supplier that’s looking for a manufacturer that can make X are a particular type of manufacturer, they can be, they can be found within this system.
Curt Anderson 31:16
Very powerful tool grapes. And so again, like, you know, many manufacturers and Damon, that’s who we’re working with, you know, manufacturers trying to figure out this whole Google thing, or what am I keywords? Or how do I get found, and what was great Tiffany, so the team from kinda connects was at the program and had a, I had a great conversation with those guys. This is a robust marketplace to help manufacturers find manufacturers, it’s a great place, you know, you need a part, you need a widget we want Made in USA, now you can go there. And that’s a great tool. And there’s quite a few states that have come on board, correct?
Tiffany Stovall 31:51
Yeah, there are. So again, you know, we, we talked about the challenges that we all that became really acute during the pandemic. And it’s something that every MEP center is thinking about whether or not it’s connected or not. It’s really about how do we build and find, build and create and a database that stays fresh? Right? If the key How does it stay fresh, and there has to be something in it for the manufacturer, to help them stay engaged with the system so that we all can keep the data that we have
Curt Anderson 32:27
fresh? Absolutely, we in how do we stop being the best kept secret, right? That’s an immaculate here. So let’s Tiffany, I’m going to slide into leadership. Okay. You shared wonderful, amazing story, guys. And again, I think we’re I don’t know, I lost track of time, Damon, I’m having such a good time here. So if you’re just joining us, if you just got off a call and you’re joining us, we’re here with Tiffany, the director of the Kansas manufacturing solutions, that’s a Kansas MEP, I’d love for you to drop us a note drop Tiffany, a connection on LinkedIn, love to have you connect with her. Tiffany, let’s talk about leadership.
And if anybody out there missed it, you talked about your hero growing up was your mom, cookie. I’ve had the honor and privilege of meeting a number of folks on your team. I saw firsthand what your leadership means to your staff. And again, I’m going to come back to Dave, if you’re out there, do it if you’re catching this listening, he I told Dave, I told Tiffany earlier on like, he literally was like worth going to the conference.
He’s that good. Awesome. And to hear him talk about your leadership style, how you kind of turn the ship around at kms i What can you share with us? You know, see, there are folks out there the early part of their career just kind of starting things out. And they’re looking for some leadership advice. They look up to someone like you, Tiffany, any leadership’s suggestions, advice, counsel, that you would give for a young person or even a seasoned veteran that just like man, I’m struggling, managing a team? Where does your leadership traits come from?
Tiffany Stovall 33:57
So what you’re asking is kind of two different questions. So one of them is what would you tell, say to a younger person, so yep. One of things, I’ve got a couple things I would say is, and this is advice from my mother, just from right. cookie used to always say is, you know, where your heart lies, social your treasure be, which meant, you know, don’t chase the money, chase your chase a passion. And even if it’s not a passion, do you like it? You know, so if you’re doing something you don’t like that.
What that means is that you’re like, you’re going to work every day. And it’s an albatross around your neck. You know, we get the Sunday blues. And that’s no way to live. Because what that means is you’re going to show up on Monday, and you’ll give them what they’re asking for. And by Tuesday, you’re still giving them what they’re asking for. But by Wednesday, you’re saying is it Friday yet? Yeah, you know, and all of us. We’re all Um, we all do that from time to time, right?
We all do that from time to time. But the truth is, if you like what you’re doing, it doesn’t feel like such a doggone drag to go. Yeah, yeah. Right. So find whether it’s your passion, because that’s the word is that it’s always Oh, find your passion, you’ll never work a day in your life. Well, sometimes you can’t work your passion. That’s the truth. But do you like what you’re doing? Do you like the people that you’re working with? Do you believe in the product service? Whatever it is that you’re a part of? If you don’t, is it because I haven’t tried to? am I carrying this old? Oh, gotta make the donuts baggage. Or? You guys remember that? All that? Yeah. You know, it’s about a mind shift.
And sometimes that mind shift means you have to make a career shift. And that and if you do, that’s okay. So that’s, that’s advice that I would get, Oh, that. Plus, when you get there, when you’re at that place that provides you some sort of fulfillment, maybe it’s the quality of life that you like the work life balance, maybe you love who you work with, when you love what you do all of these things put together, then do whatever it takes. Okay, when I first came to kms, which was an, it was called something else back in those days. A two months, actually, less than two months after I was hired full time.
Because I came in as a contractor less than two months after I was hired full time, there was a layoff where they let go, about 30% of our staff. And I was afraid I was gonna be let go in that. I wasn’t and people looked at me like, Well, why don’t you let go? You were last in when? You know, last in first out. Yeah. But the other thing is that, you know, I was working hard, producing things, not just working hard for the sake of working hard, but I was producing.
And it was like, Okay, well, what else do you need me to do? Right? Sometimes it is about job preservation mode. And I remember even as a VP and this organization, saying to the then CEO, saying, You know what? I know our team has gotten so much smaller, whatever it takes. And that meant if I needed to take out the trash, I was going to take out the trash, and that I wasn’t going to do myself as well, I’m, I’m a VP, I don’t take out trash.
That’s not what I do. It’s not my job. Right? That, you know, when you’re working on small teams or teams where things really need to work, that attitude just doesn’t work. So that’s some advice that I would give I wish somebody had given it to me, and I guess I did get that advice. From my through my mother through cooking. Right. So to two leaders. Yeah. What I would say is people matter. People matter. People matter. Yeah. And I wanted to I wanted to create an environment that I wanted to work at, right? I just because I’m leader now doesn’t mean that I don’t remember what it was like to not be not be the leader and say,
Well, why are they doing this, and there’s always going to be, there’s always going to be that right questioning of what you do, how you do why you do it, there’s always going to be that, but at the same time, the goal for me was to create a workplace that I wanted to, that I wanted to work at, and paying attention to people and the people dynamics because if you can make your if you can make an environment where your people feel heard and valued, then they will go that extra mile, they will do what it takes they will during pandemic time. And it was like Okay, y’all all hands on deck.
We got to crunch this out, whenever when the world was scared, and stressed. But, but this team did what they needed to do, because they were bought in to what we agreed to do together, not just the mission and vision, and this is what we do. Everyone has a mission and vision, right? But it’s really, what are we agreeing together to do? And how are we going to support each other? And do they feel supported and those kinds of things can’t be perfect at that. But if you’re driving towards that on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly annual basis, then I think that makes a huge huge difference. Man, I boom.
Damon Pistulka 39:29
Drop the mic there for when we got to just take a moment.
Curt Anderson 39:31
So Tiffany on our program, it’s lunchtime in many places and so when we have a moment like this, we just caught we just we just want to savor it. It’s like good barbecue right there. It’s like good barbecue from Kansas City.
Tiffany Stovall 39:43
Good KC barbecue.
Curt Anderson 39:46
Just savor that those words of wisdom. And Alright, so I want to slide into this. Your team found a way they took cookies advice, and they found a way 2021 Do you like crushed it with your numbers, right? Through your impact. So impact is, is the keyword for MEPs. And what that is, is like what is the positive impact that you had on your state on your manufacturers? If I recall correctly, I kind of threw down your little banner, hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue of new revenue that you have created in the great state of Kansas. $42 million of savings.
So again, under your leadership, you’re not talking to talk you’re walking the walk, you have your team is really having a profound impact things happen. And you talk about How’d you do it? What’s your secret? Tiffany? How’d you do? Not seriously? Like, how? How would you? How do you feel? Under tough circumstances? We were all under the gun for 2021. Your team rose to the occasion, you had a rockstar year? How any? What would you just share with us? Just what were what are your feeling? What are you thinking right now? How did you do 2021.
Tiffany Stovall 41:00
Um, interestingly, so I could talk about all the services that we offered and all of the other things that we did. But even before you get to that, you have to keep people engaged when suddenly, you know, we all went home. And we’re working from a in a different environment. We’ve got kids at home that we’re you know, homeschooling or we’re worried where you just everything is so different.
The unknown, we don’t know what the unknown looks like in front of us. You know, I had a house fire that year. And so that was very acute for me, in terms of being I was out of my house, we lived in a hotel for six for 60 days, lived in worked and schooled in a hotel for 60 days before we could even get into a into temporary housing while our house was being repaired.
So really, how did we do it? We stayed focused on what is it that we’re trying to accomplish? And you talk about the impact that we have? And I’m just gonna brag a little bit, yes, we had 300, over $300 million in new and retain sales in nice and 2021, which was a result of the work we did in 2020, almost 2000 new jobs 200 million over 200 million and increased investments. And this was in a time that was that that was tough.
And by the way, these, these impacts are not because we say that these are the impacts these impacts are because this is what companies report on a survey, everybody hates a survey that our companies took the time to take a survey, a third party delivered survey that we don’t touch, we can’t touch they got in and answer questions. And this is what they answered to. So how did we do that? It’s because we stayed we stayed focused. And that was I think that was the key is to it’s not just us, lots of businesses did that, because they had to, you know, what are we trying to accomplish?
And in order to accomplish that, we’re going to have to shift really quickly. And it comes back to I’m going to step back into what we talked about just a little bit with leadership. You know, how do you do that. And I think I think being able to shift quickly and get everyone to follow behind a quick shift has everything to do with the work that you had already done, right to set that set the tone as a team. And one of the things that we operate off of I don’t know if you all have are familiar with the book, The Four Agreements. But the Four Agreements are, be impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. And always do your best. If you’re not familiar with the book. I would encourage you to, you know, Google it, Google it, find the book, read the book. It’s a short read. Yeah. And that’s something that our entire team did. And it you know, this team showed up with their best every day, even not even in uncertainty. Yeah, that’s because this is what we agreed to together, how we were going to operate to fill the mission of the work that we have to do here in Kansas.
Curt Anderson 44:13
Taking a moment, you
Tiffany Stovall 44:14
know, why you take that and I also want to offer up this is that it also comes down to the people you have on your team. Yeah, right. I am so incredibly blessed. KMS is so incredibly blessed to have a team of high performers. Usually there’s a few. We have a team of dedicated higher performing highly emotionally intelligent, capable, skilled, talented, wonderful human beings. Kurt, you met some of them, right?
Yep. I saw firsthand Yes. And that firsthand. That’s an example. That’s an example of our entire team. I think if you were to continue to go down the line and meet more people, it would be very similar. experiences. So first, first off is having the right bench. And that’s not always easy. And we’ve, you know, that’s not always easy to get to. But when you get there, it certainly makes everything so much easier.
Curt Anderson 45:16
Okay, let’s unpack a few things that I want to cover right there. Number one, first and foremost, I’m going to credit the barbeque. So I think there’s something in the barbecue sauce that they’re using in Kansas City. So guys, go to Kansas, get your barbecue because you’re going to be a high performer something tasty barbecue sauce, I am 100% positive, there is a connection there somehow. Tiffany, you mentioned about the Four Agreements.
Man, I when we are hanging up, Damon, we are getting that book agreements and how cohesive and we were talking leadership. And here’s a big thing that I really respect and admire what you’ve done. You crushed it and 2021 You know, what it took it was your leadership in 17. In 2018, in 2019, you know, I think all three of us are big sports fans.
And like a team isn’t an overnight success. You know, it was like when they recruited the right player for college, or they drafted the right person, they put together a team, they got the right coach, they bought into the culture, everything. And so the 2021 success, I think goes back to your leadership in 2017. And again, hearing it from your team, what I understand, you came in under difficult time of the history of kms. Or you know, I think you said name was changed what have you. But again, you stepped up to the plate, you brought in your leadership and brought it up to that stage. I could keep you here all day. I know you have a big appointment coming up here this afternoon.
And I want to start winding down here. We talked about, we gotta come back to cookie. All right. It’s all about cookie, it’s all about cookie. So you’ve shared a ton about your leadership, your team building team and just i You just exude just a contagious enthusiasm. Let’s go here. Tiffany, I always like to ask this question. So we talked about who your hero was. And you shared with us about cookie. And again, we send our but our thoughts and our love to cookie today, who inspires you today? You had a great year last year, you still have a deep hunger to keep taking things to the next level? Who is inspiring you today, as we close out as we come into the fourth quarter of 2022?
Tiffany Stovall 47:28
You know, that’s an interesting question. There’s so many ways to answer with that. And I’m going to answer it with the first thing that comes to my mind, please, which is my team, your team, your team at kms. These are just such great humans. And they work hard. And sometimes they work hard, you know, there’s some roles that are more visible than others. Yeah. But this team, we would not be who we are, and we would not be where we are, if it wasn’t for them. And, and seeing and knowing what they do. pushes me nice, that pushes me to want to make them proud, as a leader, but at the end represent our organization in a way that represents the work that they do, right.
But also to make sure that we’re are working diligently to provide the right direction and strategy and opportunities for each of these in wonderful, amazing individuals to succeed. Because ultimately, if we could do that as an organization, then we’ll meet our mission of helping manufacturers in Kansas that’s the ultimate goal is to help manufacturers in Kansas as measured by the impacts, right that we just kind of bragged on a little bit.
That’s the ultimate goal. But we can only get there through people, we can only get there through people that are feeling inspired, appreciated, less lead, and feel like they have the direction that they need. And that’s not always easy. And I don’t always knock that out of the park. I will say that I don’t always knock that out of the park. And I try to acknowledge when I don’t, and make the shifts needed. So that next time next time we can do that. But in terms of who inspires me, it’s the KMS team.
Curt Anderson 49:18
Oh, what a great answer. I mean, I don’t want to I don’t want to send one more question. I have one more quick report. Sara, yo, David, we talk a lot about women in manufacturing diversity in manufacturing. Tiffany, if you could share, like what are some say there’s a manufacturer out there, and they’re like, You know what, I need to diversify. I just I need a little bit of guidance. You know, how do you help, you know, manufacturers out there, create a more robust diverse workforce, any anything that you could share there?
Tiffany Stovall 49:46
That’s a really great question. We had a lot of discussion about that starting a couple of years ago. And you know, there’s some challenges right you think about some certain communities and then you go Oh, are we don’t have a very, very diverse community. Well, diverse It looks like a lot of different things. It’s not always about race or gender, or background, race. I mean, diversity can look like a lot of things, even though we, you know, many times go straight to race or sex. It’s not necessarily those things. It’s diversity of thought. And so that’s part of what we bring to the table, right? By asking the kinds of probing questions that we do with manufacturers.
Well, have you thought about this? Have you thought about that? And that by itself is infusing some diversity. But in terms of, you know, diversity in its classic sense, there is a lot of there’s there are a lot of ways to do it, there really are a lot of ways to do that. What it takes first is the dedication from a company to say, you know, that we might be missing out on some things. Yeah, there might be something that we’re missing out on some things that we’re missing out on, because we’re not looking broad enough.
Because we don’t even know how to ask the questions are because those here at the table have come from a very similar experience or what that might look like. So really, you know, the first step is to is, is to just have that they have that acknowledgement. Right. And, and to make the intention that I want to have an experience that looks more diverse. Women bring an entire day, they absolutely do bring a different perspective to a table of men, not better, not worse, different. And I think that’s another thing that we have to have to really understand that diversity isn’t about better or worse. It’s about expansion.
Curt Anderson 51:33
Right? Right. It’s better women bring a better perspective, right Damon much better? Well, it’s,
Damon Pistulka 51:38
Diversity is so important in and I’ve seen this when I used to run manufacturing facilities and companies is you can take someone that’s working in customer service, and put them in the in like a lean manufacturing environment, or you’re designing the product environment, and they’re talking, they will bring a completely different perspective that you can have six other engineers and people that are in manufacturing out there working, but they can bring the idea that revolutionizes what you’re doing. Yeah, that’s right. And when you see how diversity works like that, you just realize that if we’re not embracing this, we’re losing so much opportunity because of it.
Tiffany Stovall 52:25
It goes back to an innovation mindset, really, that good ideas come from everywhere. And not just the people that you invite around the table. Because when you invite people around a table, you’re missing out on some of them, many times some of the best ideas that the people that greet the people that you know, your visitors that come in the door, the people that clean up at the end of the day, you think they don’t have good ideas, they’ve got good ideas. So diversity is about really opening up the table with the idea that good ideas and input can come from anywhere and everywhere. Yep, I love
Curt Anderson 52:57
Okay. One sentence or less. I really, I could just chat with you all day, young person out there. They’re like manufacturing. Why would I consider going into manufacturing? Young person out there? What advice would you share as far as going into manufacturing?
Tiffany Stovall 53:17
That it’s not meant manufacturing isn’t what you think in your mind is not dirt. It’s not the old school dirty, grungy. I just do one thing all day. Manufacturing is can be in many ways high tech, it’s definitely high wage, if you’re looking for a way to take care of your family, take care of yourself, potentially have very low or no student loan bills. Hello. And have a fulfilling career. The skilled trades and in manufacturing, look their look at their
Curt Anderson 53:56
Yep. I love you know, in between robotics, HR engineering, computer technology, internet marketing, e commerce or so many professional careers. For the folks that choose an academic route. So, Tiffany, we’re gonna mind down. This is just such a you. You are a blessing. You are a gift. Thank you for your passionate your energy, your expertise. Big thank you to cookie for producing such an amazing young woman and what you’re doing.
What an honor privilege was hanging out meeting your team last week. I’m so sorry that you and I didn’t get to hang out. We’ll hang out next time. Absolutely. Again, connect with Tiffany here on LinkedIn. Go to we are kms.com Check out all sorts of great information. If you’re coming to us outside of Kansas. Check out your local MEP Manufacturing Extension Partnership. They are trusted guides trusted resources for you. We wish everybody an amazing, incredible wonderful weekend. Get out there and enjoy the last week of our last I guess today’s last day or so. tambor
Damon Pistulka 55:00
enjoy the fall, there’s
Curt Anderson 55:01
football, there’s baseball, there’s you name it. There’s all sorts of things going on. In Damon, here’s my advice. Everybody out there. Just like this conversation today. Go out and be someone’s inspiration. Just go out if you just did if we all committed to being somebody else’s inspiration today, man how we were just keep moving the needle forward. Tiffany, you were our inspiration today. God bless you. Thank you. Thank you and eight. How about a big round of applause for Tiffany.
Tiffany Stovall 55:35
Thank you this is this is so much fun. I really, I really appreciate the opportunity to come and share with you Daymond Kurt, it’s been my pleasure. Thank you. Amen.
Curt Anderson 55:45
Take us away, brother. close us out. And Tiffany, hang out one second. And we’re gonna close it out one minute
Damon Pistulka 55:51
here. All right. Thanks, Kurt. So much. Thanks, Tiffany. This has been awesome. And you can tell the people that are listening is because we could go a long time with this and be even longer so interesting. But thanks so much for being here today. Tiffany. Thanks, Kurt. The thing is, is I got I’m excited to about next week because what are we got coming up next week, Kurt? Because isn’t it a special day on
Curt Anderson 56:13
Friday, Manufacturing Day next Friday, so we’re gonna have a really we’re gonna have a celebration for manufacturing next Friday right here. We’ve got a great guests on Monday. So all next week, October. It’s Rocktober. Damon, it’s not October, October is Rocktober. Next month. Yep. Yep,
Damon Pistulka 56:32
good stuff. Well, we’ll be back again next week, everyone. Thanks for listening. If you got in here late, get back to the beginning of this do the replay and listen to Tiffany and how the Kansas manufacturing solutions is helping Kansas manufacturers and how it might help you. That’s right. We’ll see you later.