Britny Lochowitz, Mechanical Project Engineer, Busse/SJI Corp, Arrowhead Systems

Five years ago, Britny Lochowitz was recruited by Busse/SJI after she received her bachelor’s degree in Engineering, and since she has joined the company, she has experienced constant growth. Fresh out of school, Lochowitz had to learn how to design and detail parts for manufacturing and how to size gearboxes, motors, and pneumatic valves for the OEM’s equipment. Then, she would take on bigger parts of the machine until she got to a point where she was running projects on her own. After running projects independently for a couple of years, she was promoted to mechanical project engineer in 2018 where she designs and develops palletizers and troubleshoots issues that arise throughout the build process.

What about your job do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy the diversity. Customers are coming up with different containers all the time with new shapes. When I first started, I compared what we did to building things out of Legos, which I thoroughly enjoyed as a child. There are infinite possibilities and solutions, it’s just finding the simplest, cost effective solution.

In your role, how do you help your company innovate?
I am active in a myriad of committees here; the safety committee, the wellness committee, our current rework team, and I have a passion for process improvement. My parents always remind me to work smarter and not harder, so I always look for ways to be more efficient. If you think there’s a better way to do something, there almost always is. I was also a key member of the group that completely revamped our quality control process a few years ago, and I am still active in continuing to improve that process. Finally, I helped develop print reading and pneumatic training sessions for new hire assembly workers. Outside of Busse, I teach fitness classes at the local YMCA a few hours a week and have been doing that for about four years now. Teaching those classes has given me confidence to lead more effectively at Busse.

What intrigues you about packaging machines?
The magnitude of what it takes to get a production line running. There are numerous machines and steps in the process, and they all have to come together in the end to work as a whole to produce one product. Just the planning that goes into each of these—down to the last piece of hardware—amazes me. 

How have you overcome any obstacles you’ve faced?
Being fresh out of school, I had no prior experience in the industry. I had to work to prove myself and learn our product lines along with learning the industry. I have some great mentors here at Busse, especially within my engineering department.

What’s your advice for other emerging leaders?
Make sure you are truly interested in the product you develop. It makes a difference coming in each day and having that drive to want to make a difference, no matter how small the impact. Also, remember that you are a part of something so much bigger. A company is a team, and in order to succeed, you need to work together.

What are some technology trends you think about often?
Our company is investigating Industry 4.0 technology and how to incorporate this into our equipment. Using I/O Link technology will enable us to monitor our machines and collect performance data. Additionally, the predictive maintenance tools we are looking at will monitor cylinders, motors, valves, and bearings and then alert our customers of potential future failures to help them avoid unscheduled down time.

What does winning this award mean to you?
It is a great honor, not only to me, but to the company as a whole. I have worked hard to get to where I’m at, and it just goes to show that the hard work does pay off in the end. There are going to be some hard days, some stressful days, and some days where you just want to throw in the towel, but perseverance is key. When you finally come up with a solution to that design challenge you’ve been working on and the customer is pleased with the end result, it just makes it all worth it. This award is a reflection of that hard work and those hours of mental frustration trying to develop the best possible solution.

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