A: Mike Jett – I’ve been with Honda for 34 years. Prior to moving to Georgia, I was responsible for strategic planning for North America. My group was responsible for the feasibility studies for Alabama and Georgia facilities. However, my background primarily resided on the manufacturing side. My current role – as VP & Plant Manager – encompasses total operations here as far as manufacturing, with a focus on safety, quality and production. As manager of the entire business of operations at this facility, I drive us towards the core characteristics which we work toward every day. These characteristics include building products of outstanding quality, delivering those to our customers in a way that is safe for our associates and our goal of being a company that society wants to exist.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: It’s working with the people. The Honda Precision Parts facility has some of the best associates that I have ever worked with in my career. I have worked in multiple locations around the country, as well as in Japan. The associates here are very engaged, they care about what we do and how our products do in the market. It’s so enjoyable coming to work every day with a great team. When we are faced with challenges, they respond. As we have gone through expansion, it has been extremely encouraging to me how each associate looks at challenges as an opportunity.
Q: What is your long-term vision for the plant – internally and externally?
A: My vision is to create positive working environment, so that my associates want to come to work. I know that sounds a little utopian – keeping our team engaged in what is going on by having excellent communication, engaging with them on a daily basis to improve our characteristics here, which opens the door for future opportunity at each of our facilities. We want to create outstanding products for our customers, which will also open doors for opportunity.
Q: Since you’ve worked around the world, what are some benefits of working in Georgia. And, what kind of impact can you make in the community?
A: I think southern hospitality and southern culture makes us a little unique. The way I can engage with associates here in Georgia is more personable and they truly care about what we do here. As the largest employer in the Haralson County area, it brings a lot of responsibility as far as doing things with integrity. We want to be an example to other businesses in the area. We take a lot of pride in what we do. One example is talking to the associates about the cleanliness of the plant – both inside and out. First impressions mean everything. We want to keep our facility in top shape all of the time. We want to be involved with what is going on in the community. We are the number one corporate sponsor for the Haralson County Relay for Life. We do other things as well, such as working with the soup kitchen in Tallapoosa, it’s an opportunity for our associates to give back to the community. We had four other locations in mind when we selected this sight. We chose Haralson because we wanted to make a positive impact in this area with an economic partnership.
Q: How are tools such as YouScience helping develop the next generation workforce?
A: There have been a lot of different things tried with regards to workforce development and have yielded minimal results. When I saw YouScience for the first time, I had this vision in my mind how we could utilize YouScience to create a pipeline for future workers. I want every Haralson County student to take the YouScience Profile. Then, we can choose those that are in line with what we are looking to hire. We can have mentors from this plant work with students to get them into the plant to see our operations and get them excited about their future.
Q: What are your interests outside of work?
A: I love to golf and fish. Living in the south also gives me a lot of opportunities to connect with people. I am outgoing, so I am actively involved with our local church. Culturally, I love food from the south. I was extremely impressed to learn that Mac & Cheese is considered a vegetable down here and that you can order it just about anywhere. I like to understand what drives people and makes them tick, and people down here are easy to develop relationships with.
Q: Tell me about your experience in Japan.
A: I was in Japan for two years with my wife and our two daughters, who were only 1 and 4 years old when we moved over there. My family is outgoing and we wanted to learn as much about the culture as we could. We still practice some of those cultures, because of our respect for the community. We were open to trying different things and we experienced a lot of different foods. In Japan, women always walk behind the men and my wife said she was going to create a revolution, because she was not going to walk behind me. I vividly remember that when we went out with a Japanese couple, she would walk in front. Also, working in Japan helped me to understand the Japanese culture and gave me insight to how we could blend the cultures of Japan and the USA to build a successful business model for companies like Honda Precision Parts of Georgia.