MT. PLEASANT — For Doug Bass, working as a plant manager is about creating an environment that makes workers excited to show up and work as a team.
“I see this as an opportunity as a plant manager … to affect many people’s lives and how we make things happen in the building,” he said.
Bass was recently named the new plant manager for Lomont Molding, LLC’s Mt. Pleasant location. A South Dakota native, Bass settled in southeast Iowa six years ago and has been with Lomont since July of 2018. The new plant manager began as an operations manager for the company before making the transition to his current role.
In a news release announcing Bass’ new role, Lomont noted he “brings many years of production experience,” including holding leadership roles at GE and Hearth and Home Technologies.
Before moving to Iowa, Bass found his start in South Dakota in the kitchen and cabinet business. He said one of the things he enjoys the most about working in manufacturing is “that sense of accomplishment.”
“You have your schedule, you got everything, you work together as a team to try to make that flow smoothly. At the end of the day, you have a set amount of stuff that you had a goal to attain and you can chase it as a team,” Bass explained.
That teamwork and the understanding that their team is a family at Lomont is what attracted Bass to begin with.
“My favorite part is the team we have here. This is the one I’ve felt most part of. We are more of a family than I’ve ever had [at a job]. We can have disagreements … but in the end there is an absolute belief that we are all on the same page, going in the same direction and that we can be open with each other,” he said.
As a plant manager, Bass gets to have an even larger hand in helping the plastics molding company reach those goals and is looking forward to giving “input to try to make” the company even more efficient.
Bass noted one of his inspirations as he steps into the role is something his father said about the role of good managers. The plant manager noted his parents mostly worked “blue collar, entry level jobs,” often under the supervision of other people.
“My father, he always talked about what made his life’s work worth it was good managers. So it’s that drive to make an environment people want to come to and stay at, and get those goals together as a team,” he said.
To create that welcoming environment, Bass said he really focuses on being honest, open and communicating with other employees.
“You want to be approachable. I don’t believe in the open door policy as just something to say. I believe that the team members on the floor are very comfortable coming to me,” he added.
His belief in being as transparent as possible with employees has also helped him navigate his new role during the coronavirus outbreak.
“It’s that openness — that’s answering questions when asked and having good answers. They’re not necessarily always the answers everybody wants to hear but we believe in telling them straight the way it is and why we’re doing stuff,” he said.
Looking forward, Bass said he’s especially excited to lead the plant into a phase that will include more automation and robotics. He said the advanced technology will bring “a new level of engagement and knowledge” for workers.
“It is an honor that I got put into that and I do believe my job as a plant manager is to be that individual to show the way for the floor and for the company. I’m really looking forward to where we want to take the company in [the future],” Bass said.