NAME: Julie K. Song
TITLE/COMPANY: FL Business & Manufacturing Solutions, Inc.
MARRIED: Yes, to Si for 13 years
CHILDREN: Conner, 20
YEARS IN BREVARD: 15
On a typical day, what types of tasks and responsibilities do you tackle?
Every day is different; that’s the exciting thing – from my community involvement in different organizations, to my clients’ needs and marketing my company. I follow up with projects in the works to projects getting started and researching to meet the needs of my clients. Coordinating the delivery of the client training and the day-to-day operations of running the business are all things I thrive on.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
First and foremost, I enjoy learning every day; going into different manufacturing facilities and seeing the products being made here in Florida. There is such a huge diversity: medical, oil and gas, aviation and aerospace, defense, and simulation. There are so many different companies. I have also had clients send me to California, Texas, and the Midwest to their facilities to train their employees. I enjoy working on behalf of the small/medium size companies and working with the larger companies who want to help their small businesses succeed.
I have learned a lot about what different machines do, how they work, and what capabilities they have, so when I am speaking with a company that is looking for a service, machine, capability, I can send them to a source – either a company or an organization that can assist. Staying connected is crucial.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Most of my clients are small and medium sized companies and they struggle with limited resources both financially and in their workforce. I make it my responsibility to know and understand programs available to them, to assist either in grants to offset the training cost or programs that are available to pay for the training of a new or existing employee.
What is the end result that you ultimately hope to achieve for your clients?
My aim is to keep their trust in me; I am here to help their company succeed. Sometimes my company is not the answer and I don’t offer the service, but I will find a source. The needs of my clients change from day to day, minute to minute. I have owners who run their business and also run the machine. My goal is to continue to be the manufacturing source a company calls first when it’s looking at future growth.
What makes FL Business & Manufacturing Solutions unique?
We customize the training to meet the client’s needs. We aren’t always the solution, but I will find the solution and work with the expert who can meet their needs. I write and submit grants that offset the cost of the training for the clients. I also provide full support through the term of the grant from submission to final report out; this makes it much easier on the company owners or personnel as they have their jobs to do. This is my job to do for them.
Why did you choose your profession?
I enjoy doing different things and meeting new people. I could never be that person that does the same thing every day. Before I started my company in October 2013, I was the regional manager in Central Florida for another manufacturing-focused organization. Prior to that, I was the director of business retention & expansion for the EDC of Florida’s Space Coast where I worked with manufacturing and high tech companies in Brevard who were looking to expand in county. This position was where I was really introduced to manufacturing and the diversity of what is here in Florida and on the coast. I enjoy being the “go-to manufacturing guru” in my area. I have never had to make a “cold call”and have referrals from clients and contacts in my network. My community involvement has profited me the trust from others to recommend me, and my clients trust that I will deliver what I say I will with the quality they expect.
Personally, what do you hope to accomplish this year?
I hope to continue to be successful in my own business and to continue to contribute to the community. I believe in giving back, and I have been fortunate to be able to do that.
Where do you see your business going in the future?
I hope to continue to add to my client base and my resources of subject experts and offerings. I also plan to continue to grow as my clients’ businesses grow, and eventually expand into larger office space.
What would you say are those most important factors in nurturing the manufacturing sector today?
It’s important to train the workforce and get kids and young adults to realize that manufacturing is a great career. I think parents need to understand that manufacturing isn’t what it was 50 years ago; people who have entered into manufacturing on the ground floor have worked their way up the ladder to running the operation. Not every kid is cut out to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, and working in manufacturing is a great job with many opportunities for career advancement.
What are growing trends that you see emerging in the industry?
“Reshoring” seems to be happening more – we all remember the off-shore of manufacturing. Rising labor costs overseas, shipping, and quality, are all playing a part in companies bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. and the challenge of the skilled workforce is going to hinder this. As the older worker retires, we just don’t have the pipeline of skilled workforce to replace them. I see more companies putting efforts into partnering with organizations to train existing employees that they identify as up-and-coming to increase their skills, as well as looking to get that entry-level skilled worker in the door.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given?
The best piece of advice I’ve been given is to network. If you aren’t out there, being active in your community, in organizations that support business and community, your competition is. I talk to my small business owners and I know they are stretched running their businesses, but if no one knows they are in existence and their capabilities, then how will the company looking for what they can provide find them? There are so many organizations that offer free assistance and programs to help identify opportunities. I encourage people to take the time to ask and look around and seek out help. Ask the question – you just never know there may be something available that can solve your problem.