- Tech Insights
"Good jobs transform lives," says Jeffrey Black, CFO of Orion Industries.' "We devote ourselves to our program participants and strive for excellence."
Jeff values relationships in leadership, business, and life and has been rewarded for his successes, hard work, and extra effort throughout his career. Jeff does things without talking about them. That's "old school," some say. Relationships might suffer when people focus on goals and work sacrifices, says Jeff. As a leader, Jeff believes in building relationships and finds that helping others brings enduring joy. He also adds that this helps to achieve team goals and personal objectives. Jeff has learned that the only thing that makes him valuable is his presence and the way he helps other people. Jeff doesn't rely on his own evaluation but on coworkers'. Jeff accepts feedback while realizing it hurts and motivates. Jeff says hearing bad things is better than the company suffering if he's unwilling or unable to listen.
Orion Industries' objective of using its aerospace manufacturing business to promote employment opportunities for people with impairments and other challenges has been helped by Jeff's learning agility, empathy, and strategic thinking. Jeff recognizes that part of leadership is making unpopular choices and that Orion can't fulfill its goal without strong finances. He translates complex business decisions into practical recommendations.
Two crises, the two Boeing 737 Max crashes and COVID-19, forced Orion to lose 50% of its sales in the past two years. With Jeff's quick efforts and shared sacrifices, the organization stayed stable and focused on its mission and culture. Jeff found alternative financial flows to support Orion's balance sheet, infrastructure, and staff. This helped Orion affect their clients, consumers, and the community. Jeff asserts since Orion can think in a flexible and creative way, it will quickly get back on its feet and expand its mission.
Jeff drove the company to cloud-based solutions that enable access to data when and where it's needed to make better plant and community decisions. This technology allowed Orion Industries to work remotely, scale with new business, and secure customer data.
Jeff suggested Orion develop 3-D printing to improve precision machining tooling. This approach generated innovation and enthusiasm as employees began building tools and fittings that increased quality and efficiency. Jeff and the other leaders of Orion are excited about the crew's new knowledge and skills in additive manufacturing.
Being a social enterprise helps Orion Industries attract and keep employees who want more than a logo or a paycheck. Orion's goal emphasizes empathy and excellence in every profession and interaction.
Orion Industries' aerospace manufacturing enterprises train hundreds of workers in the Seattle-Everett-Tacoma area each year. Orion's programs help people enter the workforce. Orion believes that everyone should have the opportunity to work. Aerospace manufacturing, custodial, clerical, and administrative program participants get financial security, barrier management support, self-confidence, and fantastic jobs.
Orion mentors and staff give ability-based on-the-job training. Our programs offer technical and soft skills training, counseling, case management, job placement, and retention assistance. As people gain work experience and skills and get rid of barriers, the staff watches their progress and gives feedback.
Life skills, called "winning traits," form the foundation of all our training programs. Winning traits address the core reasons individuals often lose employment, including attendance, attitude, communication, teamwork, and more. Once enrolled in a program, participants are assigned a vocational counselor who provides one-on-one case management and counseling, support to address barriers, and assistance in creating job goals. After participants demonstrate job readiness, they receive job placement services. They engage with an Orion job developer to explore opportunities, produce resumes, and practice interviews. We work directly with local firms to link participants with growth-potential jobs. Once a client is employed, we provide job retention support to ensure success. This win-win reduces local social program spending and income taxes by $5 million, asserts Jeff.
Orion Industries' reputation for quality, delivery, and customer service has led to collaboration with satellite and drone manufacturers. Due to a manpower shortfall, Orion has agreed to provide Blue Origin with machinist training materials. Collaboration with local employers and enterprises helps participants launch businesses and find work.
Jeff employs an executive coach and meditation to strengthen his leadership and presence. He hopes that people will continue to see the benefits of mediation as an important tool for leadership and mental health.
Orion believes everyone deserves a job. Excellence, trust, respect, and humility are Jeff's leadership ideals to advance the organization. IE
Orion is a non-profit social enterprise focused on providing vocational training and employment services for individuals with barriers to employment. Orion is recognized as an award-winning manufacturer in machined and fabricated aerospace components, assemblies, and structures for the aerospace industry.