Rachel Landon ’19
Degree: B.S. textile engineering
Current position/employer: plant continuous improvement leader at American and Efird
Dean’s page: January 2016 – May 2019
Tell us about your current role:
I was promoted to my current job this past June, in the middle of COVID-19. I had been assisting the continuous improvement team since January, and when COVID-19 hit, I was transferred to the team full time at a different site to assist with their initiatives. On any given day I update and report out on the status of current cost savings projects that the site is running, coach the management team on tools like FMEA, 5S, PDCA, A3, DMAIC, and Kaizen. I also manage the Key performance metrics Board, along with the actions plans for each area to drive accountability. Things that I enjoy the most about my job include getting to know the management team and the associates on the floor, and implementing the improvements that the project teams come up with. Seeing how the team comes together and grows, and then tracking the savings that the projects generate is very gratifying to me. More often than not an employee will come into the project thinking that it is a waste of time and that they can’t possibly make a difference. But seeing how they react at the end when we show them how much of a difference it made is worth every bit of work that goes into a project for me.
Other NC State/Wilson College activities: I was a dean’s page throughout college, a sister of Alpha Omega Epsilon sorority, and an active member in Campus Crusades for Christ ministry.
Looking back, what was it like being a dean’s page?
I was interested in being a page my freshman year because it was a new program, and I thought it would be a great way to be get involved with the college. My favorite parts of the job included helping freshman at the beginning of each semester find their classes during the first week. The room numbering system in the college can be confusing, so I tried to keep an eye out for anybody who looked lost to point them in the right direction. I also enjoyed helping with the career fair because it was a great way to see what happens behind the scenes and network with company reps that I might not have been able to otherwise. I also enjoyed talking to the graduate students before they went in to defend their thesis. They would be nervous, and even though I had not been in their shoes, I was able to encourage them and help them unwind for a bit before they went before the faculty.
What did you take away from the Dean’s Page Program that helped you in your current position?
The dean’s page position helped me with multi-tasking and prioritizing what I was doing. It also helped me build my own professional image, and learn to project that confidence. When I started as a page I was very quiet, but by graduation I had built up my confidence when speaking to anyone that walked in the office, regardless of their position. It also helped me put together my business wardrobe. As a first year student, I had one business casual outfit, but over time and by getting ideas from the senior/junior pages, I built up a capsule wardrobe that I used both in my internship, and in my current position.
What advice do you have for those who are new dean’s pages or interested in becoming one?
Being a dean’s page is unlike any other typical job on campus. You need to be on your professional A game at all times, and feel comfortable with people asking you questions. Never answer with “I don’t know”. If you don’t know something always respond “I’m not sure, let me find that out for you”. Also, always have the college directory up, it is impossible to remember everyone in the college’s extension, so become very efficient at using the search directory. I kept a Google Doc with a list of frequently used numbers as an aid. Also, always ask if there is something or a project you can help with. 90% of the time there is, and no task you are given is too menial to do, they all help you grow in different ways.
What is the funniest time or most interesting experience you had as a dean’s page?
The most interesting time I had as a dean’s page is a toss up between preparing for the Chancellor’s visit, which to this date is to most hectic I have ever seen the college, and the aftermath of the renaming the college to the Wilson College. I had not realized just how many documents and digital media included the College of Textiles name or logo!