River City Six – Mike Lewis
Meet Mike Lewis, operations manager at Reading Truck Equipment’s Council Bluffs/Omaha (www.ReadingEquipment.com) facility.
Tell us a little about your business.
We customize, upfit, and maintain work trucks for companies that rely on their trucks everyday. When you need to get the job done right, safely, and efficiently, count on Reading. We install truck accessories, such as lift gates, ladder racks, tool boxes, snow plows, and salt spreaders. We also provides parts and service for all the products we sell.
How did you get started in the business?
When Reading acquired our location in Council Bluffs, I was brought in to help implement the Reading culture. My background is in change management, and I have worked primarily in manufacturing construction products. My experience implementing lean principles made me a good fit for the direction Reading wanted to go.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Keeping an open mind and learning to look for opportunities for improvement. I worked for a company 30 years ago that was facing a tough financial situation. We were forced to look at how we were operating and determined that we needed to change everything about the business. We put all the employees through a training program for lean manufacturing and implemented the principles and turned the company around.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
Helping numerous team members reach their potential has been the most rewarding aspect of my career. I love helping people through the developmental process.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
Making the decision to return to school to continue my education. I completed my Bachelor of Arts in organizational management, and then followed that up with an MBA, specializing in organizational leadership.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
My wife and I have an old house we are continually working on. I really love working with my hands.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
I was a German Linguist in the Air Force.
What are you the most proud of?
I love bringing people together to achieve a common goal.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A long time ago, an employer told me it took all kinds of people to run the world. He advised that I could be much more effective if I learned to get along with others.
If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
I wish I had the power to manipulate time.
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?
Coaching. I love college football and I admire coaches who can motivate diverse groups of people to achieve a common goal.
What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
Restoration Exchange Omaha (www.restorationexchange.org) is an organization devoted to the restoration and preservation of historic places. My wife and I are proud owners of a house built in 1904. They have been a tremendous resource for many of our projects.
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