As we wrap up our month-long celebration of Manufacturing, our final blog comes from Jim Gifford, who is the Plant Leader at our Marion Operations, in Ohio. He shares why manufacturing has been a great career choice for him, and why it is important to our company as well as our communities and consumers.

I was immersed in manufacturing right out of college when I joined a Manufacturing Leadership Development program. This experience in materials, product supervision, process engineering and quality management built the foundation for my passion in manufacturing.

What really caught my eye was the environment, the fast pace and teamwork necessary to make things happen. It was contagious!

What sparked my interest at such a young age has turned into a 38-year career. During this time I have worked in 10 manufacturing facilities. One of the many highlights was having the opportunity to open the Whirlpool factory in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was exciting being on the ground floor of a plant start up and launching a new product line, but the best part was helping build a winning culture focused on our customers.


Taking care of our consumers is what it’s all about; setting a strategy of supply to meet their needs through product design, innovation and the dedication of our employees. Manufacturing is where the product and design and craftsmanship come together to deliver on our promises to the consumer. Whirlpool Corporation’s integration of the World Class Manufacturing methodology will lead us into the future by listening to the voice of the consumer, integrating technology, helping us create smart products and enhancing productivity along our manufacturing value chain.

My favorite part of the job is developing people and teams; seeing our employees come together and promoting growth, both in our employees and our business. The sense of accomplishment you feel in the team when we exceed our targets is great because you know that translates to more than just beating the competition. When we win the customer wins, the company wins, our shareholders win and our community wins.


Manufacturing is woven throughout the very fabric of our country’s foundation. It is important on many levels. It has a tremendous impact on the economy within our communities. The jobs it provides for families may be the most obvious, but it goes much further than that. Impact is made through volunteerism and donations to key agencies such as United Way, Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club and Habitat for Humanity just to name a few.

There are challenges for manufacturing in the coming years. The biggest one is developing the next generation of leaders. People who not only embrace change, but drive the speed of change. In order to stay relevant, it’s important to excel in the latest technologies by recruiting the best and brightest. The revitalization of manufacturing by utilizing new technologies that accelerate our productivity and transform our products are game changers. It’s what makes it exciting and draws the next generation into manufacturing.


There are endless opportunities in manufacturing that you can’t get elsewhere. There is a diversity of roles such as process and project engineering, quality, materials management, controls & automation, safety and environmental engineering, shop floor leadership and many others. Manufacturing provides many avenues for individuals to have an impact and make a difference.

I am excited to work for a company that has such a positive impact. I’m proud that Whirlpool has great core values that are displayed in caring for our customers, our shareholders and our communities. I love what our brands stand for and what they represent. I am proud to represent the 105 plus year Whirlpool legacy. Here in Marion, Ohio, we have a 63 year history of taking care of our consumers and community with our dedicated, multi-generational workforce. Our workforce, our products and our brands are an unstoppable combination. We don’t rest on our history, but we strive to understand the consumer and move forward through the efforts of our great employees.


I’m proud that we are the only remaining true U.S. major home appliance manufacturer, assembling appliances in the very heart of our market. This is important and resonates with our consumers. Because when all is said and done, manufacturing matters to our families, to our communities and to our country!