At Lomont Molding LLC, a plastics molding company based in Mt. Pleasant, the big word around town is “family.”
Zach Starr, a 29-year-old mold technician who has been with the company for three years, said one of the things he enjoys the most about working at Lomont is “how family oriented” the company is.
“Everybody seems to have each other’s back. There’s not a lot of people I will go to that won’t help me solve any problems that come up. There are always numerous people around asking for ideas. Everybody seems to really care — I’ve never felt that more than I have here,” Starr said.
First shift production lead, Sivanh Sithibeth, added that she felt incredibly supported when she first took on the job.
“I started as an operator four years ago. It was actually quite a challenge — this was my first full-time factory job. Everything was new but the supervisors and leads were really supportive and helped me learn,” she said.
Sithibeth, a mother to triplets, noted the family-oriented view the company takes extends beyond the manufacturing plant floor.
“I’ve had great experiences. I have triplets which means lots of doctor visits and Lomont has been really lenient with taking time off,” Sithibeth said.
As a company, Lomont strives to create the best possible working environment for its employees. Jason Bender, president and chief executive officer of Lomont, said the company “respects and acknowledges that family comes first.”
“Our benefit programs and understanding of issues affecting an employee’s personal life are one of the areas where Lomont has shown leadership in the SE Iowa manufacturing area,” Bender added.
The president said the company’s approach to work culture hinges on the saying, “If you create a great place to work, great work takes place.”
Motiving employees takes many different forms at Lomont, including holding regular shift meetings and hosting awards programs, cookouts and giveaways.
Carl Frank, Lomont’s director of communications, explained the company highlights employees with their Employee of the Month program.
“This recognizes those employees who have gone over and above in performance and have helped Lomont move the needle in helping service our account base or improve our processes. Lomont understands that in order to expand our business we need quality, innovation, technology and operational excellence. These are all reinforced through work management and constant communication,” Frank said.
In addition to highlighting good work, the company also motivates workers through growth.
“Probably the biggest motivator is how we challenge our people each month by showing them the essential metrics of our company and how they fared against these metrics in their production areas. We stress honesty and integrity in all we do and expect our employees to perform in a like manner,” Bender said.
Both Starr and Sithibeth can attest to how working for Lomont has allowed them to progress forward, both in their professional and personal lives.
Sithibeth said she never envisioned herself becoming a shift lead and was surprised when she was approached about the position but was able to take on the new responsibility with the encouragement of her supervisors.
“Actually, I never thought I would become a lead,” Sithibeth said, “I didn’t plan on being here that long but I enjoy what I’m doing — the motivation, work ethic, challenging myself. I get a lot of support from pretty much everyone. They never make you feel discouraged.”
As a mold technician, Starr said he faces new challenges everyday and working with a supportive team has shown him how to face obstacles head-on, especially in light of changes occurring around the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Our department has had some issues with not having people filling in. We’re missing three of our [Iowa Prison Industries program] guys, they’re in the prison system and they had to leave with all of the changes. But everyone is stepping up and working extra hours to get through that challenge together,” Starr said.
Starr added the challenges he works through at work has taught him to “be a little more responsible,” a skill he’s taken with him into life outside of Lomont as well.
“It’s just a great work environment. There’s lots of room to grow and learn,” Starr added.