Meet Jeremiah Smedra, FieldCore’s Value Stream Leader for Projecs.
- Jeremiah, tell us a bit about your background.
I grew up all over the US – my mom’s family are wheat & cattle farmers in Oklahoma, so I spent a number of summers working on farms. After high school in Denver, Colorado, I attended the US Merchant Marine Academy in New York and received my degree in power plant systems. I joined GE in 1999 when Jack Welch was still the CEO and spent roughly 10 years in commercial roles and 12 years in operations roles: commercial operations, sales, quality, and marketing. I earned my MBA from Penn State in 2005. Basically, I grew up in GE. Most of the roles were in the US West sub-region.
- Can you describe your current role as the Value Stream Leader for Projects? What does a typical day look like?
As the VS Projects Leader, I lead the overall Live Outage effort. Live Outage is all about looking across tooling, material handling, craft standard work and finding a way to deliver our outages with less waste. We start with a given technology and scope of work, take it apart, find the significant waste, and put it back together again. We are also building and rolling out the software, connectivity, and systems to deliver standard work on every outage. A typical day is pretty call heavy … software platform work, a lot of people tasks (hiring, coaching, et.al.), and working with our cross-functional teams to solve problems that will enable us to succeed.
- What do you like about this new role? What’s challenging about it?
The thing I like most is the opportunity to make meaningful change … and the fact that we are really pioneering value stream thinking for outage improvement. There is nothing we can’t touch or improve … everything is on the table! The most challenging part is managing expectations across lots of enthusiastic stakeholders.
- More broadly, what have you liked about working in FieldCore? How is it unique/different?
I really enjoy the opportunity to focus on execution. I also have enjoyed being a part of something new. We have had many opportunities to rethink things and change. And we are still doing that every day!
- What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career?
That’s a tough question. I think there are a lot of things to take into consideration when talking about career; it’s so multidimensional. And we could probably have a good long coffee shop/bookstore chat about it and still not get to important parts. That said, here are a couple of things. Maybe 25 years ago, a mentor of mine condensed evaluating people down to four things: attitude, communication, experience, and judgement. While that doesn’t cover it all, it really does still feel so relevant today. Also: stay humble, read more, stay on your toes (not back on your heels), surround yourself with solid performers, and strive for excellence.
- When you’re not working, where can you be found? What do you like to do?
I’ve been married 25 years this year! We have three kids. The two older boys do Brazilian jui jitsu and I do it with them several times a week. I enjoy anything outdoors, but also love to read … and argue about politics and religion! There’s really not enough time to do all the things I would like to do!