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Ron Jasperson graduated from UW-Superior in 1973 with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. Combining his college degree with knowledge of Business and a determination to get things done the right way,Jasperson was hired full-time at Andersen Windows upon his college commencement, where he eventually began his work as a Methods Supervisor in Bayport, MN.
Jasperson began his work with Andersen Windows long before becoming a full-time employee with them. During his years of college at UW-Superior, he spent four summers working a production job in the factory there. Fortunately for him, the company was having a great year for business the summer after his graduation, and the summer help was offered an extension to their work. Without having another job lined up yet, Jasperson made the decision to stay with the company, a choice that would later be greatly beneficial for him.
Though he was not seeking an office job at the time, one of the supervisors in the Methods department realized the value in Jasperson's college degree as well as his strong work ethic, and he was offered a job in the department. Comparing his work to the jobs today, the type of work he began carrying out would now be classified along the lines of Industrial Engineering.
Working his way up through the company, Jasperson eventually became a Methods Supervisor. As part of his job, he was responsible for organizing his team to keep track of the way that the 3 million square feet of the Bayport plant was being put to use. The main goal in doing this was to increase the efficiency of the plant. Jasperson greatly enjoyed this aspect of the job, since he was able to contribute first-hand to the overall success of the company.
Unfortunately this job often became a stressful challenge in order to make sure that the amount of machinery on the floor matched the amount of work orders. As Jasperson explains, floor space itself was very costly to the company as well as the machinery. It was important to get the right balance of each to ensure that there was not wasted money on stagnant machinery taking up floor space, or that there was not a shortage of machinery to complete the required orders.
About half of Jasperson's typical work day was spent in his office working with statistics to address capacity issues, while the other half of his day he spent assessing any present concerns on the production floor.With this job of high importance, there were often extra hours that had to be added to his normal work week. Jasperson recalls, "Sometimes, when working with outside consultants, my hours would be up to 80 hours a week. I remember going to work at 2:00 am and not leaving until 7:00 or 8:00 p.m."
One of the best pieces of advice that Jasperson ever received was from his mother, who stressed the importance of always being honest. This cherished piece of advice was carried over into Jasperson's professional career, and he held onto the principle even when others around him were not always doing the same. It was a frustrating thing for him to see people being dishonest, but he never had to be concerned about the consequences of a lie. He reflects, "When I came home at night and looked into the mirror I knew that I did things to the best of my ability. I could sleep well at night and not have to worry whether or not a little white lie might get to the wrong person."
Some advice that Jasperson would give to others looking to go into the field of Industrial Engineering would be to "jump in with both feet." There is a lot of competition for jobs, and it is important to know how to market yourself to a potential employer. Jasperson also points out that working with others means a lot of give and take. He explains, "You will not be the best in every aspect of a job description, but be willing to learn and work with others. Someone will help you where you come up a little short, but be ready to help someone else out when you have the expertise. It is not a competition between employees, but rather a working family for all to try to help make the bottom line better."
Addressing the claim that a master's degree is now required to get recognition as a potential employee, Jasperson believes that it really depends on what job you are interested in. He realizes the need for people in all levels of education, and that it really depends on where you set your career goals. There are plenty of jobs that do not require higher education, and he feels that "our country needs to be a blend of different levels of education but we all need a high degree of motivation."
After working at Andersen Windows for a dedicated 33 years, Jasperson was able to retire when he turned 55. Though he finished his full-time job, his drive to continue working led him to a new part-time job writing sports articles for his hometown newspaper, The Sun. His plan is to fully retire within the next few years and enjoy where his hard work has brought him.
Though there is no saying exactly where life will take him, Jasperson is ready for whatever happens. "I will probably be taking each day as it unfolds and trying to make good decisions in my life based on what is presented to me." With three children, he also hopes to remain a big part in their lives as much as they allow him to be. He is living proof that good things will come to those who work for it.
Ron Jasperson was interviewed as a part of the CareerServices Day in the Life project. His full interview andthose of other UW-Superior alumni can be found on the Day in the Life website,http://www.uwsuper.edu/career/students/a-day-in-the-life.cfm.
Interview conducted by Tashina Martinson on February 17,2012. Article written by Kristen Jasperson.
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