Q. You spent four years in the U.S. Air Force as a Senior Airman. What did the military teach you that has been helpful in your career at Donaldson?
Tera: When I joined the Air Force, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I was placed in Logistics --I didn’t know what it was, but I ended up liking it, which is a good thing. I learned how to drive a forklift, load buses and move people. It was never boring. There were always fires to put out or problems to fix. It was like a puzzle. The military also taught me discipline. I had a job to do, with deadlines and responsibilities. It also taught me respect for my superiors. I was one of 30 women in my particular military group, so I learned how to work in a predominantly male environment.
Q. When you think about the employee culture at Donaldson, what stands out?
Tera: Donaldson is like a little town with very friendly people. There is a lot of cross-functional work. People are interested in how their jobs affect others. There also is a lot of social interaction, which is refreshing.
Q. In your current role, you manage virtual plants. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Tera: I am most proud of helping my employees move up in the company and seeing them succeed. One thing I try to teach them is to get out of their offices and meet with people in person whenever possible. The more people you know, the more you learn.
Q. What did you learn in the military that you have applied to your sales role?
Jeff: After earning my mechanical engineering degree, I joined the Air Force, where I spent 12 years, first as a test engineer and then as a pilot. As a pilot and aircraft commander, I learned to delegate responsibilities at the right time to the right person. In my current role, I need both engineering and sales skills. I work with engineers and designers to understand how a product works and then explain the product to a customer. I understand what our customers need and what Donaldson can provide.
Q. What do you enjoy most about Donaldson?
Jeff: I enjoy the people. We are a close knit group. People are generally upbeat and happy to be here. The company is well run, the leadership is solid, and it is a stable place to work. I believe Donaldson is headed in a good direction. I also appreciate that the culture is collaborative. I routinely work with employees outside of my group, and no one has ever turned down my request for help. People here want to do what’s best for the company and the customer.