Military values add clarity

Would you scratch your head if your boss talked about the chain of command? No need to fear, there’s value to having clear roles “It helps alleviate confusion,” says Production Supervisor Annie Witte, a former US Air Force staff sergeant.

During her time in the armed forces, Annie worked in Okinawa, Japan with “aerospace physiology,” which entailed training pilots to cope with centrifugal forces, for example, or to use night-vision equipment. She also investigated risks at specific sites, including aircraft carriers, where she worked hands-on alongside her colleagues to identify potential hazards.

She gained health and safety knowledge that is invaluable in her new role as production supervisor at Kanthal’s newest production unit in Tucson, Arizona. “To be on the ground means that you can figure out what your people need,” Annie says. “And then you need to communicate those needs to the people above you.”

Fellow veteran and former captain Bob Donnelly, North America Manufacturing Manager for Kanthal Heating Systems, was stationed in South Korea, among other places. To this day, the core values of the air force still underpin his personal ethics. “Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all you do. Those values come in handy and I’d always hire someone with those traits,” he says.

Both he and Annie think there is value to having a "chain of command" also in civilian life. “People know what is expected of them,” says Annie, explaining that clear roles minimize the risk of inefficiency and frustration. “A chain of command helps alleviate confusion," she points out.

In the air force, Annie (to the left in this old picture from the airfield in Japan) gained health and safety knowledge that is invaluable in her role as production supervisor at Kanthal.

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