Don Waterhouse is the director of human resources and general affairs at Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing in White. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
As human resources director for Toyo Tire, Don Waterhouse is a busy man. Since coming to Bartow County in 2004, the company has seen four expansions at its White facility. The most recent expansion, announced in August 2013, broke ground in December of that year and is expected to add 650 jobs over four years and add 700,000 square feet to the company’s facility.
Filling those 650 jobs falls under Don Waterhouse’s purview. As the director of human resources and general affairs, it is his responsibility to ensure Toyo has the manpower needed to keep up with demand.
Name: Don Waterhouse
Occupation: Director of Human Resources & General Affairs, Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing Inc.
Family: Married to Pat Waterhouse for 45 years and we have two children who live in Kentucky.
Education: BS Degree in Management & Marketing from Jacksonville State University
Toyo Tire has been in Bartow County for almost 10 years now. What effect do you think the company has had on the community?
A: I think we have made a very positive impact on the community. We have provided well over a thousand jobs for people in Bartow County and the surrounding area, we do business with local companies in the community, we support a number of charities in the community, we make every effort to be a good corporate citizen in the community and we pride our self on being an environmentally friendly business.
As the human resources manager for Toyo, you have an up-close view of how employees are trained and how they put that training into effect. Have there been any major changes in how Toyo trains its employees since it began operations?
A: When we first started production in 2006, the equipment was new to everyone, the processes were still under development and the experience level in tire manufacturing was very low in the plant. We only had a handful of managers that had ever worked in a tire factory. Toyo has a proprietary process for making tires, so even the managers who had experience in a tire factory had to learn the Toyo method. Over the years we have seen the training process grow from its infancy to where it is now. We now have team members who volunteer to be trainers and have passed the train-the-trainer training program, well-defined SOPs provided by Georgia Quick Start and a much broader experience base.
What is the greatest challenge in hiring or training workers for industrial manufacturing jobs?
A: Finding the skill sets and work behaviors to support a fast pace, high tech work environment producing the highest quality product in the market. The training challenge is getting those team members to a productive level in a short period of time while meeting and/or exceeding current KPIs.
What do you believe has led to Toyo’s success and three expansions since it first opened?
A: Great team members and great products. The demand for our products continues to grow, which leads to the demand for increased capacity and increased employment.
How did you come to work for Toyo, and is there anything you believe separates the company from other tire manufacturers?
A:How did I come to work for Toyo, only by the grace of God? What sets Toyo apart from other tire manufacturers is our workforce and our technology.
If you had a dream job, what would it be?
A: The one I have now.
What is your greatest achievement?
A: Finding a beautiful wife who has been willing to put up with me for 45+ years.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A:I had the opportunity to be on stage behind the mike in front of a live audience the night Trace Adkins was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn. Of course it was during a commercial break and the curtain was closed.
Do you have a personal motto?
A: “Eat well, laugh often, and live long.”
If you were to write your autobiography or memoirs, what would the title be?
A: “Tales of laughter, love, and being left handed.”