We’re featuring monthly interviews with IR employees across the globe that demonstrate Ingersoll Rand’s values at work. This month, we spoke with Erika Surrat, who has recently been promoted to training coordinator at IR’s Charlotte, North Carolina, distribution center (DLC). Erika spoke to us about the series of roles that have successfully advanced her to current position.
Q. Tell us about your career path; how did you arrive in this role?
A. When I started at the DLC, I was on the second shift working on the small pack line. After about a month I became a bin picker and then a rack picker. A year later, and three interviews for other positions, I finally made it to first shift as a barcode picker. From there, I became part of the flex team (employees who work across departments on an as-needed basis)—and now I’m a training coordinator, responsible for training new hires and cross-training existing employees.
Initially, I decided I wouldn’t pursue the role. But a few nudges from employees and leadership changed my mind. Now, I see I couldn't have made a better decision. My knowledge of production practices will be an asset as I introduce new methods of instruction and training to our employees. It took a lot of preparation, but it was worth it in the end.
Q. How has your time at Ingersoll Rand helped you grow, personally or professionally?
A. On a personal level, my time here at IR has made me a more confident person. I had several jobs before coming to IR, but this is the only company where I’ve felt my work was noticed and rewarded. During my time here, I’ve established personal relationships with some amazing people who make work a breeze.
Professionally, Ingersoll Rand has really supported my career development, such as helping with my interview skills, cleaning up my resume, and becoming an all-around better employee. I have also participated in wonderful classes and training sessions that have made me a better trainer and problem-solver.
Q. What are your career goals?
I’ve learned so many things in the manufacturing environment—from how to drive a forklift, to maintaining software databases. I haven’t made a decision as to where I want to go after this position. Right now I’m focused on making this training program the best there is. I want to learn all I can and continue to grow professionally. I also look forward to having a hand in developing new hires and continuing to mentor my peers.
In the future, though, I might look toward a role in operations or management. I’m very interested in learning more about the business side of Ingersoll Rand and how what happens on the shop floor affects it.
Q. What piece of advice would you give to others?
A. Don’t give up. Perseverance pays off! That is a piece of advice I have given and continue to give. I have had interviews for several different positions here, and did not always get offered the roles I applied for. At times, I wanted to give up, but I continued to work on my professional skills—and soon, all news was good news!
We loved hearing about Erika’s significant growth within the company. It’s clear that her ownership mentality—especially in terms of professional development—has brought benefit to both Erika’s own career and to Ingersoll Rand as a whole.