Speaking From Experience…

By: Jef Schachleiter – Internal Operation Manager


With 38 years in business and 55 years of life experience, sometimes there are opportunities to stop and reflect. This is one of those times, and one in which I have the opportunity to share some of the lessons I have learned about leadership and team work.

My position with TP Mechanical enables me to utilize my strengths in people management to foster better relationships with our internal customers, specifically the operations team that performs work on our job sites.  I coordinate the CAD, FAB and PURCHASING departments to work together in completing the back-of-the-house tasks, which accommodates our workflow into the field.

My intention with each group is for it to be an independent business unit that moves work freely between the three groups.  Each facet supports the other. They have to complete their specific job for the work to shift and move through our organization. Should we suffer a setback in one area it could conceivably create issues with all departments. When this occurs, I enter the picture and help the team get back on track.

My position requires multi-tasking to keep all departments running smoothly. Some days my position requires me to be a cheerleader or a coach. Other days, I have to become a sounding board to let people vent their frustrations. Hopefully, I’m able to share some wisdom and experience to empower my direct reports to make good, sound decisions when necessary.

I am fortunate that the three heads of my departments are hardworking, smart, company-first members of the team that need little supervision. They are open to suggestions, and they foster good relationships with their own direct reports, as well are our internal customer group.

I treat all that I meet by the “golden rule.” I do not hesitate to address issues that are sensitive and use each corrective counseling session as a chance to learn and teach. I never harbor ill feelings toward my group members. Once a situation is discussed, it is over in my mind.

Work is separate from personal and I never mix the two. It is good business practice to ensure that you keep the dividing line between business and personal very wide and well defined.

I operate my part of the company always keeping the good of the whole ahead of my direct responsibility. What I mean by that is, I never make a decision without thinking about what I am doing and how it will affect TP Mechanical.  NOT CAD/FAB/PURCHASING, but how the decision will affect the entire company.  I believe this determined focus will allow for the best possible results for the company, which affects all of us working here.

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