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Fostering an Atmosphere of Trust: AmSty’s Christina Guice

Christina-3

Christina Guice was drawn to AmSty because of its values. As a chemical engineer who spent 12 years in various industries, she was offered the role of production engineer at the company's plant in Joliet, Illinois, in 2016 and knew AmSty was the right fit.

"They genuinely care about people. I had an opportunity to meet people here and they were proud to work for AmSty – they were excited and happy, and you could tell they were close to one another," said Guice, who worked as a production engineer for two years at the facility, which produces high-impact polystyrene plastic. It's the material you'll find in the interior lining of refrigerators, disposable party cups and various food and medical packaging.

[Click here for a virtual plant tour with Guice.]

In 2018, she was promoted to operations manager, a newly created role to give engineers the opportunity to be frontline supervisors while continuing their engineering responsibilities, and one that gave her the opportunity to manage 15 direct reports. Fast-forward to January of 2022, when the plant manager retired, and Guice was offered the top spot. She said she'd "give it a shot."

Building Trust Through Transparency

Guice admits she gets bored easily, but that's not something she experiences day-to-day as she oversees the plant, its 32 employees and one contractor.

"I make it my business to know everything that's going on – loading and unloading operations, what products are being produced, maintenance and customer matters," she said. "I make an effort to talk to every person, every day."

Guice also makes it her business to make sure everyone feels comfortable enough to open up to her, whether it's about work or a personal matter that may be affecting their work. She can tell when someone is in a good or bad mood.

"I know when something's bothering them and make an effort to address it," said Guice, "because when people aren't focused, they make mistakes."

Her ultimate goal is to build trust through transparency.

"If you tell someone 'I want you to be honest and tell me things,' you can't get upset when they give you bad news. I have to walk the talk and behave in a manner that makes them feel comfortable doing that," she said.

Guice has 12 direct reports and schedules biweekly unstructured, one-on-one meetings with each of them.

"Our agenda is 'you talk, I talk,'" she said. "It could be work-related or we may just talk about family or home projects."

Teamwork

Guice appreciates every member of her team.

"I'm a firm believer that no one person has a more important role than another," she said. "Everyone provides value, especially when you're a company as small as AmSty."

She credits employees for having an incredible amount of drive, initiative and motivation in an environment where – while she makes herself visible and accessible is not a micro-manager.

"I like to give people the opportunity to figure out how they can be successful in their roles," said Guice. "If they don't know, I'm more than happy to provide guidance. But this group is very vocal and passionate about what they do. They want our site and the company to do well and inspire each other to succeed." 

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