Q&A: Nicholas Brown, Rebecca Woods

Inside MHI

qa logoThe people who work at MHI and its WERC division are the gears that keep the association rolling. They ensure MHI continues to be a valuable association and resource for people involved in the industry, and do so with wit, competence and a smile on their face. The goal of this column in MHI Solutions magazine is to give readers a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes at MHI and “meet” the people who make it a successful hub for everyone involved in the material handling industry.

For this issue, Nicholas Brown and Rebecca Woods give us a peek into what they do, how they do it, what drives them and what makes them happy after a long, productive day at work.

Nicholas Brown
Sales Services Coordinator

nicholas brownWhat was your first impression of this industry, and has it changed since then?

My first impression of the industry was at MODEX 2022. Walking around and seeing all the massive displays and booths was overwhelming. It opened my eyes to the scope of the supply chain, and what it takes to bring products from factories to store shelves or our doorstep.

What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your position at MHI?

I love helping make other people’s dreams come true. Looking at our members, someone saw a need within the supply chain and have found ways to improve it. With my ability to see the end goal, I’ve able to use my administration and event planning skills to ensure that every detail is accounted. It’s a privilege to be able to serve our members and help them achieve their goals.

What gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment (professionally) at the end of the day?

The greatest sense of accomplishment I get is when I’m able to meet with our members. Being able to put a voice and face to an email brings a whole new meaning to the work we do behind the scenes.

Why were you attracted to MHI and to this industry as a career choice?

My first attraction to MHI was meeting the team. I appreciated the different personalities and skills each member had. I, also, saw the longevity in which employees stayed with MHI. It showed me how MHI treats their employees. Lastly, I wanted to be a part of the leading tradeshow for the supply chain, helping impact businesses and facilitating the exchange of ideas within the industry.

Do you have any unique skills or talents that most people don’t know about?

In college, I was the fiddle player in a bluegrass band. We played gigs from a 10,000-person conference to someone’s wedding reception. I’m not a naturally gifted musician, so it was great to challenge myself and be surrounded by individuals whose passion is music.

What is your favorite sports team?

I am a die-hard Notre Dame fan! My family is from South Bend, Indiana. Every Christmas we visit the family, while there we’d go to church at Notre Dame and walk around campus. As I got older, my grandfather would get tickets to games since he was an usher at the stadium for 55 years. Being his one grandson, he roped me in early and I’ve been a loyal fan ever since.

Which three character traits are most important in a friend?

Compassion, patience and balance. I look for friends who genuinely care for others. A true friend is someone with whom I can celebrate the ups and be supported during the downs. I add balance because I like friends who are willing to do anything, meaning they want to go for a hike and watch a movie, or eat healthy but will indulge in take out.

What event/excursion (in your life) would you consider adventurous or especially meaningful?

I never would have considered myself to be an adventurous person until a few years ago. Twice now, I have moved to a new city with no job or place to live. It has forced me to build a life, make friends and start over but was definitely worth the work to find a life worth living!

Rebecca Woods
Director of Talent and Professional Development

rebecca woodsWhy were you attracted to MHI and this industry as a career choice?

I enjoy answering this question. I have had the pleasure of working for several large corporations in a few different industries. When working for Learning & Development for a corporation, you have to focus specifically on what is important to the business. Working for an association allows you to focus on members and their organizations. There isn’t one set of guidelines—you need to look at the larger picture.

What was your first impression of this industry, and has it changed since then?

I had a limited understanding of supply chain, warehousing and distribution before joining MHI. It was more of a basic understanding. In the last few months, everyone (peers and our members) has taken the time to help me understand the depths and details of this industry. Learning about robotics, layout and design are a few areas I found interesting. I believe this industry is changing daily, and consistently growing to improve efficiency.

What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your position at MHI?

I am fortunate to have 20 years of experience working in Learning & Development. I have had the opportunity to build many training programs and teams. My best skills are focused on building teams and coaching team members, while building training programs and developing curricula. I also believe that I am successful in developing these skills from my learning agility in all aspects of life early on.

What’s a typical day like for you?

My typical day is filled with research and project planning. I am reaching out to subject-matter experts, L&D contacts, and members of the MHI team to discuss various topics to help me develop a new curriculum for our members and their organizations. My focus is on career development and bringing new learning technologies and methodologies to our members.

If you could transport back in time, what would you tell your 15-year-old self?

Do not compare your success or where you are in life to other people around you. Each person has their path and will achieve greatness at different times in life. This is your journey, enjoy it and try to be patient.

What’s a goal you have for yourself that you want to accomplish in your role at MHI in the next year?

When I started with MHI I was asked to continue building the Fundamentals of Warehousing eLearning curriculum. I enjoy building curriculum and credentialing programs. I understand the importance of building a knowledgeable, versatile training program that will help others establish credibility within their career. This is important to me. I am continuing to develop this program and looking forward to launching modules two, three and four in 2023!

What is the last book you read?

I am a bit learning obsessed. I just finished reading Designing & Leading Life-Changing Workshops by authors Ken Nelson, David Ronka and Lesli Lang. The book focuses on transformation conditions and how to help create change through training and retreats. I try to read two books a month, one for fun and one for my career.

What are you happiest doing when you’re not working?

I am happiest supporting my daughters in their activities of marching band and volleyball, doing yoga or hanging out with my family and our dog, River.

What is your favorite sports team?

The one and only Buffalo Bills! I was raised in Buffalo, NY, and love football and hockey. I have been a fan through all the good, bad and ugly with my teams.