Some might say that Greg is a Smile Engineer. Some might say that he is a Maintenance Engineer for Smile Direct Club. Either way, Greg is changing lives. He began his career in the Air Force, and thought the last place he’ll end up working is in maintenance. Shortly after leaving the Air Force, Greg got his associate degree in instrumentation and electronics and began working to create parts for automobiles. Now, he works for Smile Direct Club, overseeing all maintenance in the manufacturing of their invisible braces product.
Greg says, “My job allows us to continuously manufacture our product in the most efficient and cost effective manner. I no longer help create parts for automobiles, I help create confidence for individuals.”
Greg Mecomber, thank you for everything you do. Your prioritization of efficiency and progress creates a meaningful, long-lasting impact on your customers.
How did you get started in maintenance?
I grew up near the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Right after finishing high school, I joined the Air Force. I spent five years as an Air Force civil engineer – two of those years were spent in the 819th Red Horse Squadron in Montana. Upon leaving the military, I relocated to Nashville, Tennessee in 2007. Unsure of my interests and talents, I began attending university. I majored in everything from Neuroscience to Political Science to Philosophy. The one thing I knew was that I had no interest in anything related to construction or maintenance.
After some time in Nashville, I relocated back to Mississippi and enrolled, ironically, in the Instrumentation, Electronics, and Bio-Medical Equipment Repair Associate Degree program at Pearl River Community College. I finished my degree and returned to Nashville to be close to my son and wife-to-be. It was very difficult to find a job – it seemed that all the entry-level positions wanted five years of experience. I was finally able to start my career as a temporary employee wiring panels and switch gears for Schneider Electric. From there, and over the next five years, I was able to springboard into two multi-craft maintenance positions and one controls technician position before being hired by Smile Direct Club as a Maintenance Engineer.
I have always enjoyed sudoku and cryptogram type puzzles. As a civil engineer, I appreciated that I’m able to see the progress in the work my team does. I can look back at what we have accomplished after completing a job and feel a sense of pride. I know there will always be a challenge – either in solving an obscure issue that arises or finding an opportunity to improve an asset or process that is already “good enough.” In my role, I have the pleasure of collaborating with many other departments. Many companies unfortunately do not benefit from this idea of collaboration, but my current employer fully embraces and promotes departments to work together from the top down. This makes my job very rewarding.
What is one of your proudest achievements?
I have received my Six Sigma Green Belt Certification and am currently studying for the CAPM and CMRP certification exams. As part of my duties as Maintenance Engineer, I get to work with some of our maintenance technicians that are very new to the field and mentor them on best practices, precision methods, predictive and proactive maintenance, etc. Since our facility is so new and unique, I am constantly involved with developing and improving maintenance standards and procedures as well as passing knowledge along to new members of the team.
What is one thing you wish people knew about your job?
I love that I was lucky enough to start my current role at a time when the company was still practically being built. This gave me the unique opportunity to, from the beginning, apply all the lessons I’ve learned from my previous roles. I want to ensure that we avoid common mistakes and protect our future by planning for reliability and maintainability, rather than reactivity.