“To know him is to love him,” a phrase used casually nowadays, hardly moving an emotional muscle of the person being told: “No really… he’s a very special person. He is devoted. He is loving. He is honest. He is consistent.”
Berlie McDonald. Berlie is not the subject of this quarter’s Employee Spotlight. His Grandson, Michael McDonald is. However, if you want to see what makes Mike McDonald tick, get him talking about his Grandfather – Berlie McDonald. It seems that all the same words you could use to describe Mike’s Grandfather are in Mike’s DNA too, nurtured into his upbringing by one tight family unit, starting with Berlie, who passed away less than a year ago.
Michael McDonald is the Co-Plant Manager for Taber’s Russellville, Arkansas location. A Russellville native, he worked as a contractor and carpenter up until 2004. Almost 13 years ago, Mike applied to Taber as a temp, and was hired on full time within a few months. Mike spent time in shipping, inventory, and production for over seven years before he moved into account management and sales, working closely to connect production to sales staff and clients. He now oversees raw material, purchasing, extrusion, finishing, and shipping on the extrusion side of the business, and manages the fabrication department.
The “McDonald Family Bond” – which is the foundation that Mike draws from – is in everything he does. As a young boy, he observed Grandpa Berlie watching episodes of “Gunsmoke” thoughout the day – so no wonder this is something that brings back sweet memories for Mike. Today, Mike’s children share episodes of “Gunsmoke” alongside Dad. McDonald has 5 children – 4 sons ages 26, 25, 15, 14, and a daughter of 12. He and wife Brandi are celebrating their 15thwedding anniversary on February 1st, 2017. An Alaskan cruise is the dream vacation, but this year they will settle for a quiet dinner, so on their 20th anniversary, the kids will be more independent and they can sail into the sunset without the slightest worry in the world. Not that there’s anything to worry about. When asked how raising a daughter was different from raising sons, he responded, “She’s neat and orderly, responsible, and dependable.” Looks like the McDonald ladies are as organized as can be! (Amen says the choir!) Grandpa Berlie is smiling down on this family unit, indeed.
Mike truly believes in Taber’s ability to bring cutting edge extrusion innovation and progress to the world. He dedicates his career to making the ‘impossible’ — possible. He knows that the people that comprise Taber are what ultimately makes the company successful. “We have a very unique group of people here. That’s what sets Taber apart from competitors. We are all dedicated in making Taber the best in the industry.” Mike knows that balance is the key to being a great leader. “The future for Taber isn’t written yet, but I see a very long and prosperous one. Taber has had a very big impact on the industry in its 44 years. We are continuing in our research of new technology and the possibilities of applying that technology or technique to our unique capabilities, so I think as long as we continue with what has made us successful, and continue to improve those areas, the sky is the limit for Taber Extrusions.”
On his days off, you can find Mike spending time with his family – watching his kids play sports or a motorcycle ride with Brandi… or perhaps fitting in some hunting, fishing, or camping. Nearby fishing & camping advice? “Lake Dardanelle. Anything around Lake Dardanelle is going to be good. The Annual Bass Masters Tournament is there.” Can’t argue with that. Thank you Berlie, for charting the course for your grandson Mike McDonald. Thank you for being a great role model so he can pass on those same attributes to his children, loved ones, and work associates. Your generation lives proudly in those that came after you. We are honored to have Michael McDonald at Taber Extrusions. To know him is to love him.