WIKA Graduates Third Class of Students from Leadership Academy
Gwinnett Tech Develops Targeted Training to Help Supervisors Succeed in Organization
The third group of existing or rising leaders from WIKA Instrument Corporation, the Lawrenceville-based manufacturer of mechanical pressure gauges and bimetal thermometers, has graduated from the company's Leadership Academy.
Developed and delivered by instructors from Gwinnett Technical College specifically for WIKA, the Leadership Academy is customized for existing or up-and-coming supervisors to equip them with the tools to be successful leaders within the company.
"The academy has really helped me in so many ways," said Elizabeth Rivera, continuous improvement leader with WIKA, who participated in the first Leadership Academy class last spring and has been with the company for 20 years. "It has defined my role as a leader. It also helped me to understand the different areas in our company. By listening to others opinions, I have a better picture of how things are happening at the different levels at WIKA. It also gave me an opportunity to recognize my potential, my weakness and how to get the best of it. Through the learning I achieved [at the Leadership Academy] I have built the courage to go further to try new areas at work that I would never have tried before."
The Leadership Academy helps the company to continue to promote from within, drawing upon the skills and talents of the nearly 600 WIKA employees at its Gwinnett facility.
Gwinnett Tech helped develop WIKA's Leadership Academy to provide a formal, challenging training plan to address the skills existing and potential supervisors need to be successful in WIKA's environment. The Leadership Academy is an example of the company's efforts to remain competitive in an industry faced with many challenges.
"I think the [Leadership Academy] is a great opportunity for supervisors and managers," said Thomas Biggs, warehouse parts supervisor, who has been with WIKA since 1997. "It allows you to see the in-depth side of being a leader. Every person in a lead position should take this program; it only helps us to become a better company in our day to day operation. I have applied a lot of what I learned and it has helped to strengthen my department. "
Eric Barnes, quality assurance/quality control leader with WIKA, said that the Leadership Academy has provided essential soft skill training, as well. "Specifically, the review of business writing skills has helped with the clarity of my daily written communications such as emails and reports," Barnes said.
WIKA selects the employees for participation in the Leadership Academy, which includes meeting with Gwinnett Tech instructors for eight hours every other week over a nine-month period on the college's campus. Participants are given numerous reading and other assignments, as well as group and individual projects before completing and graduating from the program.
The Leadership Academy prepares individuals for basic to advanced leadership roles through 144 hours of training in 18 areas, including fundamental leadership, communication, business writing, conflict resolution, ethics, diversity in the workplace, finance for managers, quality management systems and enforcing safety procedures. Future classes of the Leadership Academy are planned for 2007-2008.