Employee Highlight – Nathan Woodruff
We are proud of our employees and the pride and care they take producing your orders and want to share their stories with you.
Each month we highlight one of our employees and the department they work in! You will get a look behind-the-scenes here at the lab, and get to know one of our own a little bit better.
Nathan Woodruff-Product Development
Our product development team keeps an eye on trends in the industry, new processes and equipment as well as special projects for our customers. They determine the best materials, processes and finished look for new products at H&H as well as pricing and integration with software. Nathan Woodruff is an amazing talent in figuring out how to make our vision a reality when it comes to new product offerings! We are so lucky to have him at H&H.
What is your job title/position?
Product Development and Process Engineer. I joined H+H in 2014 as a Customer Service Representative. Half of my current role is the design and testing of new products that our customers will trust to best display their work and last their clients for generations. The other half of my job is focused on constructing and refining the processes we use to make our products precisely and steadily.
How long have you worked for H&H?
This April marks 5 years at H+H.
How many people are in your department?
I am fortunate to have worked with almost everyone in the company during one project or another. The “team” I am on consists of 7 people.
What did you do prior to working for H&H? How do those skills help you with what you do now?
I ran production at a custom sign shop in Upstate New York right after college (BFA in sculpture). From there I managed the digital camera and printing lab at an art school in Maine. Both of those roles acted as the framework for what I do currently.
How has the company changed in the years since you first started working here?
I see the company in this constant state of change, growth and reimagining of how we make products and stay relevant in our industry. The core of the company is still the same.
How do you integrate lean principles into your job?
With a focus on making small improvements often. When documented these small improvements become grand accomplishments over time. I think it is also important to recognize and encourage an employee’s idea for an improvement or a solution to a problem. It is empowering to them, and they are seeing through a different lens than when the process was being set up.
What is it that you love about your job? Or how do you measure a job “well done” in a given day?
I look forward to every day, as the projects and challenges are always changing. Some days are easy. Other days require taking a risk, finding a new approach or working outside of your own comfort zone. I get the most reward out of “those” days.
What do you like to do in your spare time, hobbies, interests etc.
I don’t really have “spare time”. I make time for the things I am passionate about. Lately those things include riding bicycles and motorcycles, a motorcycle restoration project (WIP for 3 years and counting), a couple of ongoing photography and art projects, and seeing all 50 states (13 left).
Tell me a little bit about your personal life, family etc.
My family is in Western New York, where I grew up. I moved to Kansas City, Missouri on a whim about 5½ years ago. Currently, I live in Merriam, Kansas, with my lovely girlfriend and two Australian Cattle Dogs.
Tell me about a favorite trip you have taken!
I have been on a lot of trips – it is amazing how far you can go with little or no budget. My favorite trip is always the one being planned next.
What are some of your favorite movies?
I tend to gravitate toward the classics and smaller independent films. I prefer to see a movie in a theater instead of at home. I rarely turn on the TV at home. Enjoying a fire and a book in the garage is always a better option.
What is your favorite meal, to eat out?
Aside from the $1 IKEA ice cream cone. I enjoy trying new (to me) places in different areas, for example; Tacos on Wheels, Kitty’s Café, Holy Land, Olive Café, Italian Delight, etc.
What kind of music do you like?
It changes daily. As for today? William Onyeabor’s “Body and Soul”.