An interview with engineer and project manager, John Gizowski of La Grange, IL has earned recognition and respect among his colleagues for his hands-on approach to meeting or exceeding goals, timely implementation, and return on investment in all of his projects. Beyond the office, he serves as an academic advisor to his alma mater and is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers.
John Gizowski, How did you get started in this career?
Incredibly, I went to trade school for auto mechanics after high school. After working at Martin Muffler and then a Ford dealer, both in Chicago, I had to leave for health reasons. Eventually, I found an incredible engineering design technician position with Midas Muffler Corp. of America.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time that you doubted this career path?
No, not really. After working in a hands-on design engineering technician position within the automotive industry for a few months, and working for an incredible leader, Thomas Pajula, I knew, at age 23, this is what I wanted, so went back to school starting with basic math.
How did you get your first job?
I applied at Midas Muffler Corp for a maintenance mechanic position posted out in front of the plant as a drove my little brother to school. The application was immediately forwarded to design engineering, and I was hired on the spot.
What is the toughest decision that you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Assessment of a company’s marketplace morals and their values of the professional people – the decision that this is NOT where I belong. It was very hard knowing the distinct and far-reaching improvements I could implement that would lift competencies and moral, therefore profits in this workplace.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
My passion for engineering and bringing successful new products to market with cross-functional teams. There is nothing more professionally exhilarating, after all the extreme effort and the process frustrations the team must endure during the creative and logistical launch process.
What has been the most satisfying moment in your career?
Primary inventor on global utility patents that were launched into production and, of course, achieving a BSME from one of the arguably toughest engineering schools in America with Honors (Illinois Institute of Technology) and being accepted to a Master’s of Engineering Management program achieved by my mentors at Northwestern University. All three are very humbling.
What does the future hold for you?
I believe the best is yet to come in the form of creative development (products and people including myself) and business achievements for a team orientated company.
What are you most excited about?
Considering where I came from as a mechanic, probably everything in this great 2019 economy and potential for all engineers to vividly contribute to a company’s success.
What books have inspired you?
From Values to Action – Harry Kraemer
Becoming the Best – Harry Kraemer
The People Factor – Van Moody
What is the best $100 you’ve spent recently?
I bought dinner with a long-time manager and mentor. Even after an extended amount of time since we worked together, it was still a mutually fascinating conversation about what we have experienced professionally and personally. We agree that the discipline and diversity of technical knowledge, and people knowledge while in engineering, was the only path for us.
Leave us with one point that few individuals know about you.
Incredibly, in distinct contrast to my professional experience, I am fiercely loyal to peers, colleagues, and employers.