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Rising Stars Awards

Meet the 2020 Rising Stars Awards Winner: David Kent

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David Kent

David Kent
Vice President, Signet Marketing, Winchester, VA

signetmktg.com

1. What brought you from the Marine Corps to the screen printing industry?

I have deep entrepreneur roots. I grew up going to work with my parents, who owned an automotive repair company when I was a child. I loved everything about business and knew after I completed college and my military service I would be back working alongside them. The greatest allure was helping to develop people and the team I work with.

2. You have implemented lean management at Signet Marketing to increase efficiency, reduce overhead, and increase profits. Discuss your decision to do this and how it impacted the business.

A business neighbor of Signet’s was training their staff on lean manufacturing. Fortunately, I was able to attend the training and I was instantly hooked, wanting to incorporate this same model in our company’s day-to-day operations. And the dividends realized because of this paradigm shift continue to pay dividends to this day. We begin each morning meeting by reading lean manufacturing books, discussing preselected aspects of a chapter, and then discussing how the information applies to our company. We always conclude each meeting – because we sincerely believe employees really don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care – by asking each employee to take a few minutes and write down 10 things they are grateful for that day.

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3. Your nomination form, from David Kent, president at Signet, states “Each and every morning, all 28 employees meet to discuss things that went well, as well as errors from the day before. They are analyzed in a constructive environment dedicated to problem solving to ensure it is not repeated. Great emphasis is placed on the team finding the solution, not management. Also, each team member is challenged to ‘come up with’ a two-second improvement each morning and share it with the rest of the team.” Why is team involvement important to you and the success of your company? How has this morning meeting affected company culture and employee retention?

It is important because only through collaboration can a team solution be achieved, and this teamwork approach means the team takes ownership in the results, positive or negative.

4. What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

In one word, empathy. Because we sincerely believe employees really do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. This may sound like a cliché to some, but it’s a principle I personally believe and our company practices it daily.

Adrienne Palmer is the editor-in-chief of Screen Printing and Big Picture.

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