Inside MHI Q&A

q and aThe people who work at MHI and its WERC division are the gears that keep the association moving. 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, Sam Dreckman and Valerie Gonzalez 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.

sam dreckmanSam Dreckman
Instructional Designer

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

The best skills I bring are my passion for developing myself and others, my ability to organize information in a way that is palatable and engaging, and my thirst for knowledge. To me, one of the greatest things about life is learning something every day and developing/honing our skills—in essence, “leveling up.” The passion I have to help others on their professional journeys keeps me incredibly motivated.

What’s a typical day like for you?

A typical day for me varies depending on where I am in my project work. As an instructional designer, I do a lot of research for the content of training courses, and once the research is done, that transfers into script writing and storyboarding to make the flow of learning engaging for our members and practitioners. There are also many opportunities to collaborate with my peers in the industry, so my day might include those meetings.

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

My big goal is to finish the modules of our Distribution Logistics Leader Certification Program! We’ve launched two courses so far and I am excited to bring the rest to life.

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

My greatest sense of accomplishment comes from the knowledge that my work will help others grow/develop as professionals. I’ve been in the Learning and Development field for most of my career and the impact that our work has on people drives me to keep advancing my knowledge and skills to share those with others.

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

I am a trained opera singer! I received my undergraduate degree in vocal performance and have continued to study the craft throughout the years. Music brings me immense joy and I continue to sing at every opportunity.

What is the last book you read?

I just finished reading “Unmasking Autism” by Devon Price, PhD. It was an eye-opening book about the lives of neurotypical individuals and provided insight into ways we can make our society a more inclusive place. Highly recommend!

Do you have a favorite holiday?

My favorite holiday is Halloween! I thoroughly enjoy the ‘spooky’ season, watching scary movies and enjoying autumn.

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

The most meaningful excursion in my life was when my family took a trip to Italy. Aside from it being a beautiful country (and getting to see one of my favorite operas for my birthday), my grandfather was born just outside of Sorrento, so visiting the town he grew up in was incredibly special to me.

valerie gonzalezValerie Gonzalez
Marketing Communications Coordinator

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

What drew me to MHI and this industry was the strong emphasis on knowledge and continuous learning that I noticed throughout the interview process. These were qualities I was actively seeking in my next role. Personally, I have a genuine passion for learning and asking questions, not only for professional growth but also out of genuine curiosity. What resonated with me was the openness and honesty of everyone I interacted with regarding the value placed on these traits within the MHI community. I can confidently say that this commitment to knowledge and learning has remained a consistent and cherished aspect of my experience at MHI thus far.

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

My first impression of the industry was that there are SO many moving parts! As someone who has primarily experienced the consumer side of the industry, I had never fully grasped the extent of the meticulous planning and execution required for everyday tasks, like the delivery of an Amazon package. Now, being on the other side, I’ve gained a massive appreciation for the saying, “It takes a village.” I really admire how everyone in the industry comes together, dedicated and willing to collaborate, to move the industry forward.

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

I am a certified multitasker! I possess strong multitasking capabilities, a valuable skillset for my role at MHI. As a marketing communications coordinator within MHI’s marketing team, my primary responsibility is to act as a liaison for MHI’s 18 Industry Groups. Managing a diverse array of projects concurrently is a key aspect of this role. Whether it’s managing tasks for the MHI team or responding to the ever-changing needs of the Industry Groups, my knack for multitasking is a key asset that helps me thrive in this position.

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

In my upcoming year at MHI, I’ve set my sights on a couple of things. Firstly, I’m eager to dive-deep into learning about the latest technologies driving our industry forward, especially AI. And secondly, I’m all about building meaningful connections with folks who’ve got a wealth of industry knowledge. What’s great is that events like ProMat, MODEX and others provide perfect opportunities to make these goals happen.

What is at the top of your bucket list?

At the very top of my bucket list, you’ll find a trip to Croatia and the thrill of going skydiving! Croatia has been on my travel wish list for quite some time, and I’ve always had a hankering to try skydiving. So, it’s like knocking down two dreams with one epic adventure!

Finish this sentence. On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me…

On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me strolling through the park, along a scenic trail, or exploring the streets of Charlotte with my fur baby, Kaia! We’re huge explorers, always on the lookout for new places to discover.

What is the last book you read?

The most recent book I read was “Lesson in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus. I tend to favor fiction, and I also tend to give away too much information when recommending books that I truly enjoyed. So, I’ll keep it simple this time—it was an outstanding read, and I highly recommend it!

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

During the summer before my senior year of college, I had the incredible privilege of being selected for a summer study abroad trip to Australia with fellow classmates. While we began the journey as mere classmates, as the trip unfolded, we had become as close as family. From that trip, I formed several deeply meaningful relationships that I still cherish today. Moreover, the experiences we had and the places we explored in Australia were nothing short of remarkable. We had the privilege of visiting iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House, dancing, singing and hearing stories with Aboriginals beneath the Outback stars, and even diving into the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef. Those unforgettable people and that incredible trip will forever hold a special place in my heart.