JTEKT provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all qualified applicants for employment without regards to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, height, weight, or status as a protected veteran.
Garrick Ward started his career at JTEKT North America in 2000 as an Industrial Engineer at JTEKT’s Koyo bearings facility in Sylvania, Georgia. During the last 18 years, Garrick has held several positions within the company and is currently the Product Manager of Drawn Cup & Precision Pin Rolls and Shafts.
Why did you choose JTEKT? I was lucky enough to co-op at two advanced manufacturing facilities during college and was offered positions at both; however I selected JTEKT because of the people, location, and complexity of the plant.
It was a personal decision for me as the other companies are very successful as well but the bottom line is bearings are exciting to me! Beyond my interest in bearing manufacturing, I knew I was sold on JTEKT North America after my first interview with Tray Miller, who remains a colleague, which took place over breakfast in Statesboro, GA. The personal feel, bearing knowledge, and good discussion made me want take the next step and go see the plant.
I visited the plant for the follow-up interview the rest of the team made me feel like a member before I was offered the job and the people on the floor were open and understood the product and the business. The company also had a good stable history and strong presence in the market but the business side is not what captured my attention most and remains secondary to why I come to work every day. The people are truly the cornerstone of this company and the reason I’m happy to walk through the doors each morning.
What is your favorite thing about the company or your position? People I work with directly. Everyone is willing to help and try to support the needs of the company. We are all busy but the majority of my colleagues go out of their way to help move the business forward.
Matt Wessner joined JTEKT as a new graduate engineer and had the opportunity to spend five months in product and process training for both BBU and ASBU. During this time, he had stints in the Greenville, SC and Plymouth, MI Technical Centers and visits to nearly all of JTEKT North America's manufacturing facilities. After completing the facility rotation, Matt joined the Vehicle Dynamics Group. Matt is now in his second year as a Vehicle Dynamics Engineer on JTEKT North America’s ASBU Vehicle Integration Team.
Why did you choose JTEKT?
Coming out of college, I knew generally what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know what specific role was best for me. The site rotation gave me the unique opportunity to get hands-on experience in a variety of roles in the organization to find the best fit for both JTEKT and me.
What is your favorite thing about coming to work every day?
There was no way I could narrow it down to just one thing, so I’ve included my top three favorite things about my position at JTEKT. Did I mention I really like my job?
I’m constantly challenged. Steering calibration is just as much art as it is engineering. To tune a steering system you have to be perceptive to extremely fine aspects of steering feel/vehicle handling and simultaneously consider the complex mechatronic system behind the wheel to think of creative ways to adjust its controls to meet the desired performance and shape a unique character that suits the rest of the vehicle’s performance.
No two days are the same. We get to work on a wide array of vehicles, both on- and off-road and interface with various customers who have completely different expectations and targets.
My work has a tangible impact on a huge number of people. Our team gets to do tuning work on high-volume programs with our OEM customers whose vehicles will be driven by hundreds of thousands of customers every day. Steering feel is a major aspect of a driver’s overall impression of a vehicle, and our work comes into play every time someone drives one of the vehicles we tuned.
Anything else you would like to add?
I went to the University of Tennessee for my BS in Mechanical Engineering. Currently, I’m pursuing my master’s degree in Automotive Engineering with a concentration in Vehicle Dynamics part-time, which wouldn’t be possible without JTEKT’s tuition reimbursement program.
Shannon Garrett is a Compliance Manager for JTEKT North America and is responsible for ensuring JTEKT companies in North America are compliant with US GAAP, Japanese SOX requirements and creation of new accounting policies and procedures. She began her career as a Principal Financial Analyst in 2012 and was promoted to Compliance Manager in 2017.
Read Shannon's Story:
Why did you choose JTEKT? There were several reasons. My background was in SOX work and I wanted to get back to that, and JTEKT offered me the chance to get back into it. I wanted to find a position that had potential for advancement, with a company that was growing, and JTEKT offered both. In my original phone interview, it was mentioned that JTEKT had employees that had been here more than 40 years, and I loved that JTEKT valued that loyalty while also trying to grow both in size and in product range.
What is your favorite thing about the company or your position? JTEKT took me on knowing that I had very little experience in manufacturing accounting, and then let me learn as much as I could about our processes, travel to as many sites as I could to understand the mechanics of our production and meet people who worked on our product. That experience has been invaluable to both positions I’ve had here. I appreciate the chance they took on me, and the patience both Corporate Finance and the locations have had with me poking around! I also appreciate how active JTEKT is becoming in the Greenville community, and giving me the opportunity, and the time, to be involved in many of the committees and activities.
Anything else you would like to add? Lots of people in Greenville have heard me say that I’m an accountant that went to an engineering school (Go Jackets!!), so I was excited about working with a bunch of engineers! My initial feeling that I would get along with people well here was absolutely true – these are brains I understand. JTEKT has great people in general, I’ve made so many friends here.
If someone had told me three years ago that I would be in this place, I never would have believed them. A wise man once told me: “Life rarely turns out the way you plan it…” – and the past few years of my life have proven just that. My name is Julia Morgan and this is my story.
After graduating from Walhalla High School in June 2012, I enrolled in classes at Tri-County Technical College. Before the end of the semester, I had dropped-out of school and entered the workforce. After months of working seven-day weeks and hardly having any time to spend with my daughter, I knew there had to be a better way. This was not the life I wanted for myself – and this was not the future I wanted for my daughter.
During my middle school years I took advantage of a job-shadowing opportunity with my dad. This was my first exposure to the daily work life of a Machinist. This experience led me to enroll in similar classes at Hamilton Career Center. Not only did I enjoy the academic side, but also the feeling of satisfaction that comes from creating something useful and functional from a mere chunk of raw material. But after dropping out of college classes and landing in a job that was so demanding of my time, I began to feel that my prospects were decreasing and that maybe, I might have missed my only chance… So I made the decision to leave that job and pursue a career at JTEKT's Koyo facility in Walhalla.
When I came to work at Walhalla, I met a kind lady named Marta. Marta challenged me to return to college and pursue my dreams. She inspired me and encouraged me to be my best and to never give up on my dreams! Marta believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself – and that made all the difference!
For more than a year now, I have worked in the Machine Shop in Walhalla. Working and training in the Machine Shop with other skilled and experienced Machinists has given me the opportunity to learn and grow as a Machinist. Looking back, I am amazed at the progress I have made since I first began this journey.
And as Marta has encouraged me, I also want to encourage anyone else who may be considering furthering their education. Realize that you have an awesome opportunity to better yourself, and pursue it with all that is within you! It may surprise you what you can achieve. Never give up on your hopes and dreams!