Larry Smith has used his strong leadership and technical skills to rise steadily throughout his career, which has encompassed a series of increasingly responsible supervisory/management functions. He worked for SMC Corporation of America from 1987 through 2002, beginning as cylinder production supervisor, then product specialist, design engineering manager, supply chain manager, and finally factory manager.
As plant manager for MicroMetl Corporation since August 2002, Smith is responsible for the Indianapolis manufacturing facility, which consists of machining, assembly, purchasing, and production control, with personnel responsibilities for four managers and 150+ associates.
He utilizes continuous improvement techniques such as 5S, Kaizen, and lean manufacturing principles to increase productivity and delivery, and has established production scheduling and reporting within recently implemented ERP systems. Smith has improved overall delivery from 50% to over 90%, and has rationalized the production area layout, saving floor space and improving product flow.
Smith credits a loving and caring environment while growing up as a basis for a good work habits. Says Smith, "We were all taught a good work ethic through doing chores, home projects, and employment.... All of these activities fostered an interest in how things worked and a satisfaction in working with my hands."
He also was impressed by the "hands-on approach" offered by the School of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Purdue. After graduation, it was through his interests in fluid power programs at Purdue that he accepted that first position with SMC Corporation. Adds Smith, "Through hiring additional people, serving on the Industrial Advisory Committee for the School of Technology, and other activities, I have stayed in contact with the School throughout the years." As an Industrial Advisory Committee member (1995-2001), he has reviewed and discussed curriculum and resources to ensure that the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) requirements were met.
Married to wife Jana (Bailey), a Lafayette native and Ball State grad, for 16+ years now, they have two daughters, Sadie and Olivia. Says Smith, My wife and I both feel family is very important, so Jana chose to be a stay-at-home mom." They all enjoy doing activities together - travel, camping, movies, sports, board games, church, and more; they took their dream vacation last year. As Smith so aptly puts it, "We have been blessed as a family."
This was originally written for the Distinguished Technology Alumni Awards in 2003.