Can you imagine being the president of a twenty person manufacturing company–without  math?  Meet Kathy Keel, president of BSF, Inc. and let me tell you, she has to know her math.  In her position, she must keep an eye on profitability, for her own benefit and the benefit of her employees.  But for Kathy, the math goes even deeper. Let’s take a look.

Can you explain what you do for a living?

I am the president and co-owner of a manufacturing company that makes a custom part for the hydraulic industry, called a pump-motor adaptor. My main duties on a daily basis involve managing all of the office employees, designing custom fit pump motor adaptors, editing all drawings done by other designers, costing the part, and processing orders. I also do a lot of customer service as well as troubleshooting problems, processing payroll, and managing human resource duties.

When do you use basic math in your job?

I use basic math while designing the parts to figure dimensions and angles needed for design features. We have to research the dimensions of each component being attached to the adaptor (pump, motor, and coupling usually). Then, we have to design the adaptor to fit those components. This requires fractions and decimals to figure adaptor dimensions and tolerances. I also use math during costing/pricing activities in order to determine what our cost is for manufacturing the part and what our selling price should be on the final part. This involves working with money, percentages, and markups. In addition, I use math when processing payroll.

Do you use any technology (like calculators or computers) to help with this math?

I use a calculator, Microsoft Excel, and design programs such as Solidworks.

How do you think math helps you do your job better?

I could not properly design an adaptor to fit the components without math, and I could not cost and price parts without math. Overall, I couldn’t run a company without math. I use it in almost every facet of my business to make sure that we are profitable.

How comfortable with math do you feel?

I am somewhat comfortable with basic math only. I’m not comfortable at all with more complex math.

What kind of math did you take in high school?

One year of Algebra as a freshman.

Did you have to learn new skills in order to do the math you use in your job?

I had to learn to translate metric to English measurements and to equate fractions to decimals.

Have questions about Kathy’s company, their products, or her use of math skills at work?  Let me know and I’ll be happy to check in with her.

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