Combining leadership development with technical know-how is how this materials planning leader at Whirlpool is defining her career
Amy Doroff, material planning lead at Whirlpool Corp.’s Findlay, Ohio, dishwasher plant, started her manufacturing career in 2015 through the appliance manufacturer’s internship program, where she began as an assembly engineer.
“I've always been someone who likes hands-on things, and I thought manufacturing was a good fit,” she says. “You could see the value being created: You could literally walk down the assembly line and see the product of what we were all trying to achieve.”
As an assembly engineer, Doroff was out on the floor every day, adjusting processes to help make the product more efficient or increase the quality as it went down the line. Soon after, she entered Whirlpool’s full-time leadership development program. With different roles in five of the company’s nine factories around the country, she’s learned there are many manufacturing careers she never considered in college.
“There are so many different facets of the company,” she says. “You can work in manufacturing if you want to be an engineer, if you want to work on the line every day or if you want to be in an office setting, working on the data analytics side of it.”
Today, she manages a team responsible for all the different materials Whirlpool uses to make dishwashers—to get them to the factory at the right times from its domestic and overseas suppliers. Doroff found that combining the technical aspect of engineering with the leadership aspect of managing people is rewarding for her. “I'm learning to follow the opportunities rather than a stricter idea of what I was going to do,” she notes.
Part of Whirlpool’s career-development program involves mentorship—pairing those further along in their careers with those just starting out. For Doroff, it helped her bridge her career ideals to the actual opportunities available to her.
“Whirlpool has given me several phenomenal mentors for career development,” she explains. “Coming in as a 23-year-old engineering grad, one of my mentors was one of our plant leads. As we worked together, I was able to see what opportunities were there and to route my path toward the ones that interest me the most. You get a chance early in your career to make these strong relationships with some high-level leaders in Whirlpool.”
Whirlpool offers leadership development in manufacturing and supply chain management. It also offers apprenticeships for employees who want to enter the skilled trades, as well as tuition reimbursement for those who want to go to college. The latter is a perk Doroff is assessing.
“I'm working right now with one of my mentors to figure out what those next steps look like, what graduate program makes the most sense, knowing that I want to stay a technical people leader,” she says.
“I believe many people find the leadership development program at Whirlpool to be extremely attractive as an opportunity,” she adds, “because not only do you get a chance to be in big roles with big projects that affect a very large company, and the leadership has the trust in you, but it's the company investing in you, too.”