In June, Phyllis Lackey will celebrate her 9th anniversary with us at von Drehle. As Director of Information Technology, she oversees all technology operations and evaluates them according to our established goals, creates the IT policies and systems that support the strategies our leaders have set and analyzes the business requirements of all our departments to determine their technology needs. With her team of five, Phyllis ensures the systems and data function for all of our 640+ employees and 8 facilities, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Phyllis has witnessed a lot of growth in her time here: When she came on board, von Drehle had about 300 employees at 5 facilities. Since then, we’ve more than doubled our team and added several facilities.
With that growth has come changing technological demands, but Phyllis says “it’s great to see that the core values of our company have not changed” since Steve and Raymond retired.
That culture, according to Phyllis, is all about our people, and she says her “work family” is the best part about working for von Drehle. The “family first” culture is particularly important to her as a mother of four, especially in the male-dominated tech field. Being a woman in manufacturing for over 20 years is another unique experience, but the respect and opportunities she’s been given at von Drehle have been a critical part of her growth, both professionally and personally.
Choosing just one-stand out success story for her team is tough for Phyllis because they have constantly been involved in projects in collaboration with every department in the company. In our 600,000 sq. ft. Natchez facility alone, the network cabling spans over miles. Phyllis and the IT team have performed many major systems upgrades smoothly and without major downtime and established systems for several new facilities (including Natchez). As a company, we are building a roadmap that will help drive technology and automation on the factory floor. It’s an exciting time of growth and development for all of us!
On her lean team of five, Phyllis says it’s important for everyone to wear multiple hats to cover the many opportunities and challenges that come with supporting technology demands in a growing corporation. Lisa Little has been with von Drehle for 13 years as our ERP system admin. Chris von Drehle has been full time for 6 years and is our DevOps Engineer, Mark Johnson has been with us 5 years and is our Systems Engineer/Project Manager and Chris Pennell has been a team member for 3 years as our Server/Network admin. Mark Williams is the newest member of the IT family, and he will celebrate one year as Help Desk Manager in May.
To attract and engage new talent, von Drehle recently started a technology internship program with a local community college. Pedro Quintero-Sanchez is our first intern, and Phyllis is excited to see where the relationship with the college goes in the future.
Attributing team work and collaboration as the keys to von Drehle’s success, Phyllis says she can call on any member of her team for help with any issue and they won’t hesitate to pitch in.”
Her “work family” is the best part about working at von Drehle, but when Phyllis isn’t here, she loves spending time with her four children (1 daughter and 3 sons ages 27, 24, 18 and 14!). They (and we!) keep her busy, but when she has free time, she loves to travel with her fiancé Danny, do outdoor activities and work on construction and remodeling projects at home in Bethlehem.