30 Under 30: Afton Hollertz
Allmand Bros. Inc.
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It has taken Afton Hollertz just a little more than a year and a half working at Allmand Brothers Inc. in her hometown of Holdrege, Nebraska, to prove just how creative a thinker and passionate about her job she is.
Allmand is a third generation family-owned manufacturer of light-duty construction equipment that celebrated its 75th anniversary this year. Its portable light towers are used to meet worksite requirements in the mining and oil and gas industries and traffic control applications. Its solar arrow boards safely route traffic through road work sites, and its mobile heat trailers provide on-site warmth. Allmand does all of its fabrication processes, including CNC laser and punching, welding, painting and assembly.
Afton knew in high school that she was interested in design, whether architectural, drawing, or mechanical. She completed her Associate’s of Applied Science degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology at Southeast Community College Millford (Nebraska). When the engineering program at University of Nebraska at Omaha was discontinued, she went to work and gained invaluable experience doing factory audits in Asia, South America, and Europe before she was 24. “I really connected with the production side of manufacturing through that experience,” said Afton.
Returning to her hometown of Holdrege to raise her young son, Kypton, she joined Allmand Brothers as a manufacturing engineer where, in the words of Director of Operations, Joe Lawrence, “Afton has proven herself, in a short period, to be a positive influence on our company. She has raised the bar within Allmand with her ability to think outside the box and her drive to understand and improve our processes and products. She is not afraid to dig and understand how things work and create organized plans to implement or improve projects and processes she is working on to higher levels of excellence. She is very thorough in her thinking and implementation of change. Afton has also demonstrated the ability to teach, coach and involve her co-workers in process or product changes, which creates unity and higher success level for her work. She is never afraid to research to understand best practices for our industry.”
As Continuous Improvement Manager, Afton has overseen the 40,000 square foot addition to the Allmand facility, streamlined material flow through the manufacturing process, and is in the process of gathering data that will lead to better understanding of operational efficiency.
“Afton was instrumental in the completion of a manufacturing flow process that reduced manufactured component shortages and eliminated inefficiencies within production. She was able to organize and implement this process with all of our production teams very successfully, enabling our production leaders to recognize their true manufacturing capabilities through studies of our equipment and measuring individual equipment performance and efficiency. Afton was the driving force behind the addition to our factory, which included moving our entire fabrication and welding operations and newly purchased equipment into the new addition without shutting down our production lines. She has been a strong mind in creating an efficiency layout which reduced waste in our fabrication and welding operations,” Lawrence said. ME