Mike Henderson learned the aluminum extrusion business from the ground up. Having held a variety of positions during his 29 years with Vitex, he has a deep understanding of how all the various processes integrate to make a finished product. As our Director of Materials & Planning, Mike ensures we have the right amount of materials on hand to meet our production requirements. He is also responsible for scheduling all of our customers’ orders throughout the extrusion process.
Q & A with Mike Henderson
Tell us about your history with Vitex and how you came to join the company?
I was interested in the manufacturing industry and applied to several manufacturers after graduating from High School. I accepted a position with Vitex because I felt it offered the best opportunity to build a future for myself and my family—which it has.
I started out as a saw helper, then moved to saw operator, then stretcher operator. I moved up to working on the extrusion press line as a helper, then promoted to Press Operator, and later Press Supervisor.
Running the press was pretty cool, but I knew I didn’t want to do it for the rest of my life so I went to night school for 3 years and volunteered in the front office a couple of hours a day to learn more about the business and prove myself to the company. My persistence paid off when I was offered the Scheduling Coordinator position, then later promoted to Extrusion Manager and then Director of Extrusion Operations.
What do you like best about your job?
Solving problems. Given how long I’ve been with the company, I’m often the “go to” person for help figuring out a problem, which I don’t mind. Usually, with a little research and detective work I can come up with a solution.
What valuable skills are needed for your job?
Organizational skills are critical. There are always so many things happening at the same time; if you aren’t organized you get overwhelmed very quickly. Computer skills and the ability to communicate well are also very important.
What have you learned while working at Vitex?
I’ve learned the importance of teamwork. It may sound like an overused buzzword, but it truly applies at Vitex. We either succeed as a team or we fail as a team, and failure isn’t an option. By working together we achieve our goals.
Tell us something you enjoy about working at Vitex.
The great people—they are one of the reasons I’ve stayed with the company as long as I have. Work can be challenging if you don’t like the people you work with.
Tell us about a favorite project you’ve worked on?
I was the Extrusion Manager when we installed the new press in 2011 and was very involved in the startup of the new line. There were many long days and sleepless nights trying to get productivity up as quickly as possible, but there was an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when we started to hit our targets.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
In the summer I do a lot of mountain biking, and in the winter, I do a lot of snowmobiling. I enjoy being in the woods away from everything.