April Johnson, Taking a Career Accident and Transforming it into an Opportunity
For April, coming into the maintenance industry was an accident that eventually turned into an opportunity.
Fifteen years ago, April used to work in finance and procurement, where she predominantly dealt with maintenance managers. However, her entire department was outsourced to India, which led to a huge layoff of employees, including herself. In the midst of such trying circumstances, April was offered a position as a Safety and Compliance Coordinator by the maintenance managers she used to work with while being in finance.
At the time, April’s husband was also being laid off, and they were experiencing the effects of the housing crisis. April thought to herself, “Both of us can’t be unemployed.” So, she decided to take the position, and has been in the maintenance industry ever since.
On the Shift from Finance to Maintenance
“If someone needed a part, I made them show me where it was on the machine and explain why they needed it. I asked a lot of questions and embraced the growing pains of joining a completely new industry.”
Going from finance into an incredibly different role in maintenance, April had to learn a completely new skillset. She did a ton of training and constantly sought after ways to gain hands-on experience. Beyond learning new skills, April had to build trust and relationships with the mechanics so that they can communicate with her at a beginner’s level.
Thriving as an Industry Expert
Since then, she has done it all. From being a Coordinator, to a Planner, to a Supervisor, to a Maintenance Manager, to now a Maintenance, Repair, Operations (MRO) support for an entire region!
But, it did not just stop at maintenance. April also wanted to know more about the reliability side by reading, studying, as well as taking and passing both the Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP) and Certified Reliability Leader (CRL) exams.
Becoming an expert in both maintenance and reliability instilled in April a passion to continuously develop and improve the workflow process between planners and parts. Amazingly, this is exactly what April is pursuing now at PepsiCo.
“As a woman in this industry, there’s not a whole lot of us here. But, I believe that this is a really good career space! If someone is thinking about it and they’re hesitant, I would say give it a try and be open-minded.”
From thinking that working in maintenance would be a temporary phase, to now flourishing as a maintenance and reliability expert, April is revolutionizing the industry.