105. Hero – Bill Migirditch, Manufacturing Solutions Manager at RoviSys Transcript

Bill: 00:00

Trust your gut and drive for some positive change. I think all of us have the ability to see opportunities. Not all of us have fearlessness to push people to get to a better place. And so the trust your gut part really comes around to, if you see something and you kind of know deep down inside that, “Hey, we could get over there and be better off.” Don’t be afraid to go do it. 

Chris: 00:25

Welcome to EECO Ask Why. A podcast that dives into industrial manufacturing topics and spotlights the heroes to keep America running. I’m your host, Chris Grainger, and on this podcast, we do not cover the latest features and benefits on products that come to market. Instead, we focused on advice and insight from the top minds of industry because people and ideas will be how America remains number one in manufacturing in the world. 

Welcome EECO Asks Why. Today we are having a hero conversation and I’m excited to sit down and talk with Bill Migirditch, who is the Manufacturing Solutions Manager at RoviSys. Welcome Bill. 

Bill: 01:05

Hey, Chris, glad to be here. Thank you. 

Chris: 01:06

Absolutely. Looking forward to talking with you and hearing about your story and we love to get these things going for our listeners. Just tell us about your personal journey. 

Bill: 01:16

Sure. Yeah, absolutely. Well currently at RoviSys. I’m the Manufacturing solutions manager for our MES and digital supply chain team. And really the core of my work is I’m a business development person, but I also help our MES and digital supply chain team with early stage initiatives with clients.

And that starts anywhere from just exploring options, setting some visions to running consulting engagements with operations teams that are on the precipice of their digital journey and trying to find, where they want to go and what their goals might be. And so I have a foot in two camps.

One is business development, and one is actually working with clients before they head down the road down the digital route, so to speak. 

Chris: 01:58

Okay. Maybe take us back. Where did you go to school at? 

Bill: 02:00

I went to the state university of New York. Got a degree in electrical engineering. Originally it was in digital electronics and got my four-year degree and got out and went to work for for a company making, that made a high precision displacement and vibration equipment, like scientific, analytical equipment. 

Chris: 02:17

Oh, okay, cool. So you from New York, so how did you end up in North Carolina?

Bill: 02:23

Oh, sure. Yeah. I was about 30 years old I worked for your alarm controls  I was a business development person for their, what was then called their system group. So they did turn G systems. And I was asked to come down to the Southeast to expand their business footprint and my wife and I, and my son at the time ended up in Charlotte, North Carolina. That was 1995. 

Chris: 02:50

Okay.  You’ve been in that area ever since, huh? 

Bill: 02:53

I have, yeah, I’ve been here just about a little over 25 years. 

Chris: 02:56

Okay. So you something must about North Carolina, you like, I’m guessing. 

Bill: 03:00

Absolutely. Yes. For anyone who’s grown up in the Northeast The, I always have a joke that I say around October, the clouds roll in and they don’t leave till about may.

Chris: 03:10

Right, right

Bill: 03:11

Down here. I know why they call it Carolina blue now. 

Chris: 03:14

That’s it. That’s it. It’s a beautiful part of the world for sure. And you’ve had a lot of experience in different roles, supporting manufacturing. What are you seeing as some of the greatest challenges out there?

Bill: 03:25

For a company like ours for  RoviSys, we’re an integration and delivery partner. And I think for us, the greatest challenges tend to relate to keeping up with the technology solutions that are out there. And that are sound investments for our clients because oftentimes they come to us looking for answers about which way to go and what to use.

And we like to focus on solutions that will be around for a while and be useful and it will be good financial investments. And that’s for us, as an implementation partner and for our clients, folks in the manufacturing base and utilities and things of that nature, I think for them, the challenge is similar.

They’re focusing on their business. So I often see customers looking for help with, “That should I use? I don’t want to pick the wrong thing. And I want it to be able to be a good value for us and get us down the road. Just the same.

Chris: 04:13

Right, right. Making sure that solution that they select is the right call for their business, not just now, but in the future. So great stuff. I mean, and part of these hero conversations, Bill,  we’re trying to inspire people is we think this is a wonderful industry to be a part of. So if somebody is listening right now, maybe they’re not in the industry directly, but they’re considering it. What’s some advice  you would like to offer up. 

Bill: 04:38

The advice toward, if you’re looking at the the automation and consulting business, which is what we’re in is I would say go after learning and new experience opportunities, especially if you’re early in your career, you don’t, if I’m talking to someone who just stepped out of school or the three to five years out of school don’t be afraid to go jump onto something new after awhile.

Try it. Cause that’s where you’re going to pick up skill sets and learn about new things. And that can be something as, if you’re working you can come out of school and your automation engineer, don’t be afraid to go off and do something that might relate to production or some other aspect of the place where you work or a different industry.

The other thing is in, being a father of two kids out of college, I always told my kids don’t be afraid to fail. If you don’t stumble and fall down every once in a while, you probably aren’t working hard enough, don’t be afraid to pick up a project or go after something.

And I say this to people, we’re obviously in our audience here for this recording, don’t worry about failure. You have to go out and that oftentimes is how you learn. And then I guess finally is I’m a really big proponent of listen and talk less. Listen to what you’re being asked and listen for details of something somebody is after, because as an advisor to people you can’t hear enough from someone who’s looking for help.

Chris: 05:53

Right? I mean, I’ve always said too, there’s a reason we have two ears and one mouth, right. 

Bill: 05:58

Exactly. That’s a great way to put it. 

Chris: 06:01

Wow. It’s good stuff. I love your point on it’s okay to fail because I think too many times people think, I have to be perfect and, and you just look at the younger generation now that I have two kids, myself, the constant pressure of doing things just right.

They’re trying new things and some things don’t always work out and that’s okay.  The fact that we’re trying is what  I’m encouraging them. So if you look at that failure point, it’s okay to fail. Does anything stand out across your career that, you know, maybe it didn’t go exactly the way you wanted it, but you really learned something from it?

Bill: 06:34

Yeah. I think the biggest thing  where I probably could have done more done better, and maybe this isn’t exactly a failure, but you know, I think I wish I probably jumped on the newer challenges more frequently and quickly as a way of gaining experience.

Because I think when you I think when I got out into the working world, it took me awhile to fit. You know, obviously you first get out and your first job, and you’re pretty much swamped with just learning of what, you know, what they’re giving you a paycheck to do. Right? But I think over time, what I saw from other people around me that people who jumped around and tried different things. I’m not talking like every one to two years, but you know, jump around and try, try some other things. That’s something I probably could have done more of. Not to say that I didn’t get a good education  through my career. I did, but I think , I probably could’ve gone farther, faster by trying different things more frequently.

Chris: 07:26

Right. Good point. I mean, sometimes it’s easy to get, you know, not, not stuck or settle, but just comfortable and it can be intimidating. We talked to an engineer on the show in the past, who, you know, he had a background in electrical and actually somehow ended up down the road of, of civil. And completely had no, you know, when he graduated, no visions of being going that path, but opportunities opened up conversations happen. Next thing you know, he’s down this path, right? So it’s very good that you recognize that for our listeners out there, try some new things. It’s okay.

You can definitely go out and try. And also, and also if you’re new and you’re trying to start into some, find a mentor, you know, find somebody that can give you some guidance along the way that can help you with your personal journey  and Bill speak to that. Are there any mentors that stand out across your career,  that you’d like to recognize and, or have you had a chance to mentor others at this point?

Bill: 08:29

You know for me I think the story that stands out probably the most clearly, for me that one of the most influential mentors I have currently. I have a personal friend, he’s a past customer, who over his career when I first met him 10, 15 years back, he was a process engineer for a company here in the Carolinas and, you know, roll the clock forward to today.

And he’s now chief operating officer for a business unit for a major international company. And I keep in touch with him quite frequently. And he’s a great mentor for me because it’s a whole different perspective when you talk to somebody at that level. With the different set of responsibilities that he has.

And, and it’s been a great opportunity to talk to him and say you kind of sit back and look over the tops of these different physical locations and kind of keep the whole ball rolling. Right? And just listen to what’s important to him at his level, because you get a different perspective on what a person at that level looks like.

But then you also can mentally draw this linear line down to these engineering clients that I think for you guys, me and maybe the folks who listen to this recording, most often interact with, right? And you look at the perspectives at both ends of that spectrum, the engineer and the COO, and you hear what the COO says and what you’re looking at the same topic, right?

Whatever that is. And you ask him that question, and then you ask the engineer, you ask her to address that issue and then start putting the two things together. It’s really revealing to see how things get perceived and how different people have to handle different issues. And so that person that, that friend of mine is a COO has been a wonderful mentor for me.

Chris: 10:22

Well that’s great. I mean, it’s definitely sounds like they’ve given you a lot of wisdom and insight throughout your career, which is wonderful. So , how about projects? What gets you excited when you look out , on some cutting edge areas of technology, what really gets you pumped up about the future?

Bill: 10:41

Yeah, I think there’s probably two things. The first one I had talked about is, you know, the traditional IIOT, AI and cloud-based solutions. If you consider a typical four wall operation, the number of things that those technology sets can bring to an operation for improvement through just low end hardware cloud-based tools and the metrics that get delivered back because those solutions can be put in and enabled so quickly, your ability to improve and get some gain from those investments compared to traditional methods, years back, where you had to kind of put the whole technology stack with building and stand up servers and gets stuff working.

And that all goes away. I mean now, if you pick any topic, say it’s a maintenance management solution, there’s very good cloud based tools where you can say, we’re going to use this, right? You get the proper networking and firewalls set up and you’re off to the races and running, right?

So you jump ahead on all that stuff. The other area that’s kind of really excites me is, automated workflow, which for folks who might not know what that is. It’s basically taking what people are doing manually today, maybe on paper and putting it into an automated tool that steps in through the process and makes better real-time use of the information that they previously were writing on a sheet of paper, on a clipboard, putting it in a Manila folder and that’s where it all stopped. And, you know, automated workflow it’s been likened to the next step of automation compared to like when automation came about right now, you’re taking what the human’s doing. You’re automating it for better and you’re making much better use of the information.

Not only for them when they’re doing the task, but for longterm assessment and analysis. So that’s a pretty key one cause they’re still, in all my travels, there still a lot of manual work going on out there. 

Chris: 12:35

Right. Definitely sounds like a great opportunity to get that automated workflow. Definitely hear that you’re excited about it, that’s coming through. One thing that I love to do in these conversations, Bill, is just to talk about myths out there to debunk. So certain people have perceptions about engineering or manufacturing or just industry in general? If you had a chance to debunk something that you think people say it’s this way, but you’re like, nah, you’re not even close.

What would that be? 

Bill: 13:04

Yeah. So, you know, for me, I guess what struck me the most about that is how it relates to what I do. And, you know, obviously part of my job is I’m a business development person and I think that we’ve all had the experience where sales people or business development people have steered all of us wrong. Right? But there’s a lot of them out there that are really good, true advisors that have come up through industry, have the background, have done things and many of them. And I think the majority of them are there for the invested interest, especially those that have stayed in their industry for many, many years.

Their goal really is to be a trusted advisor and earn their position in their industry. Because most of them if they stay in their industry, we’ll probably circle back and meet each other again. And so many of them approach this with the attitude, and I know I do of, I’m going to be here for the long haul and I want to earn your trust and I want to earn your respect. And that takes work.  

Chris: 14:15

Thank you, Bill give us an a picture you know, paint it for us where you’re in a moment where you’re doing the work that you love to do. You’re having that moment of joy you’re feeling fulfillment. What are you doing in those moments? 

Bill: 14:33

Yeah, you know, I think at the stage of my career where I am, the thing I enjoy the most really is running workshops for our clients, especially when it comes to the digital journey to use that as an environment to talk about this, you know, with our workshops, we’re typically going in and advising clients on their path forward on their journey and I’m in my mid fifties, I’ve been at this for a long time. I’ve done it since I got out of school. I’ve gathered up a lot of knowledge and information and been through a lot of different circumstances. And I really love taking the culmination of the information I’ve acquired along the route across many facets, whether it’s quality, manufacturing, business operations, finances, whatever it is, and putting that to work to help guide people on how do you get down the road on your digital journey and get somewhere where you deliver a functional thing? I really love helping people take, you know, the thoughts that are swimming around in their head, glueing them together and directing it toward their third objective. 

Chris: 15:37

I mean, and that’s a special skill set, right? So you have to be able to listen and understand and be able to okay, here’s where they’re trying to get and then have the knowledge to be able to design that solution. So that’s great. Yeah. Love that answer.  So how about we, we get off the professional career path and talk a little bit outside of work.

So any hobbies, what do you enjoy doing for fun? 

Bill: 16:02

Well, I guess, um, my biggest one is, uh, you have to ask my wife, she’d say the same thing. Some guys golf, I’m a sailor. I’ve been sailing for about 15 years and I’ve done anything from coastal sailing to now I spend a lot of my time in a racing club, here on the Lake near where I live and, you know, as an engineer I think what really got me going initially with sailing was as an engineer, I was always fascinated, how the wind could be harnessed to move a 8,000 pound boat at eight to 10 knots down the lake.

And also a little bit of a physical thrill junkie. I mountain bike and I enjoy doing that, but there’s nothing like the feeling of standing on a boat, that’s leaning at 30 degrees and moving along at seven to 10 knots in a stiff breeze. So it’s pretty exciting. That’s of a thing that kinda keeps me going. I’m not much of a sit at home and watch sports kind of guy like kind of get out there and do stuff.

Chris: 16:54

Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, it sounds like, so your mountain bike and you’re sailing, so anything, it sounds like you just want to be outside. 

Bill: 17:00

I want to be outside. Absolutely spend five days a week sitting in front of a computer. And so when the weekend comes to be not in the house. 

Chris: 17:08

Very cool. Very cool. You’re doing  you’re sailing, you said coastal as well as freshwater. So I mean,  what do you enjoy more? 

Bill: 17:17

Oh, you know, they both have their aspects. I mean, the coastal sailing has been really great. Most of my experience has been on the coast of North Carolina in the outer banks. It’s beautiful when you get out far enough where you can’t see shore anymore. Just the thrill of that alone is really exciting.

And then as my kids were growing up, you know, we’d go out to the outer banks and we’d do overnighters and days and things like that. And that was just a really rich experience for all of us. 

Chris: 17:41

That is pretty cool. And that is awesome so your kids, do they enjoy that sailing with you?

Bill: 17:47

Yeah, they do. You know  my kids are 25 and 27, so they’re out on their own. My younger one actually after college, wanted to take some months and do some traveling. And about a week before he was heading off on his journey, he informed us that he was hopping on a 30 foot sailboat in California and sailing across the South Pacific, which he did.

So I was a little jealous cause he beat his dad to get into some real ocean sailing. So yeah, they both do. They both have racing boats and enjoy it on a regular basis. 

Chris: 18:15

Okay. Very cool. So you said they’re not around like your area in North Carolina, where are they at?

Bill: 18:23

Yeah, so my eldest son. He’s in uh, Virginia, just outside of, out of DC. He’s got his first professional job working on some drone solutions. And then my younger one wants to go up across the ocean. He now lives in British Columbia in Vancouver. 

Chris: 18:39

Oh, cool. Very cool. So hopefully you guys get to get together on a somewhat regular basis. 

Bill: 18:44

Oh we do. Yeah, absolutely. 

Chris: 18:47

Very cool. Very cool. Well, we’re going to try something out. I started doing this some on the show. I just call it the lightning round and just some random questions. You can go as in-depth as you want, or just, it could be a short, you know, one word answer, but, you want to have some fun?

Bill: 19:04

Oh, yeah, absolutely. 

Chris: 19:05

All right, cool. So let’s start off, uh, favorite food?

Bill: 19:10

Ooh, that’s a tough one favorites. Uh, okay. I’m going to say Ethiopian food. 

Chris: 19:16

Okay. Ethiopian food. All right. So how about a favorite adult beverage? 

Bill: 19:22

Um, I have been known to like a quality single malt scotch. 

Chris: 19:29

Okay. All right. Destination for vacation.

Bill: 19:35

Let’s see a destination. So, um, I’ll tell you how about this. I’ll tell you what we have done. So we’ve, as a result of my wife’s passion, we’ve traveled quite a bit. So we’ve been to Europe, Asia, many spots across the country. I think my favorite I would have to say I had a chance to do a road tour with my son through the Italian Alps, which was very cool. Yeah. Very, very interesting, beautiful, beautiful place. 

Chris: 19:59

That sounds awesome. Okay. So, all right. This one’s for your wife, so  you gotta be ready for this one. 

Bill: 20:05

I’m always wrong.

Chris: 20:09

Well you’re smart, man. Smart man. So date night, you got date night for your wife. Where are you going?

Bill: 20:16

Oh, okay. Yeah, so I would say find some, a hole in the wall, quality restaurant. And maybe we follow that up with going to see some live bands. 

Chris: 20:31

Okay. Very cool. This is a random one haven’t asked this one yet. Favorite board game. 

Bill: 20:39

Oh boy, that’s a tough one. We don’t play board games. I’ll give you an answer though. I’ll give you an answer. So, um, I guess we had to pick a board game. I would say cards against humanity has been the most one we’ve gotten the most chuckles out of.

Chris: 20:55

That leads to some good laughs. Well, thanks for playing the lightening round bill. That was a lot of fun. 

Bill: 21:02

I hope I passed.

Chris: 21:03

Hey there, I don’t think there’s a pass fail. It’s just a, if we get a good chuckle or two, that’s the main thing, you know? This has been great. Loved the conversation we call it EECO Asks Why we always end up with the why. So Bill and this talks about passion. If somebody was to come up to you and wants to know what’s your personal, why is what’s your passion is how was your answer to that?

Bill: 21:24

I would say my personal passion is trust your gut and drive for some positive change. I think all of us have the ability to see opportunities. Not all of us have fearlessness to push people to get to a better place. And so the trust your gut part really comes around to, if you see something and you kind of know, deep down inside that,”Hey, we could get over there and be better off.” don’t be afraid to go do it. 

Chris: 21:53

No doubt. Great advice. Trust your gut. And I love that drive for positive change. So Bill this has been so much fun. Thank you for taking the time being a guest and being one of our heroes here on EECO Asks Why.

Bill: 22:06

Super Chris. Yeah. I’m honored. Thanks for the chance to do this. I really appreciate it.