Room to grow

Brandon Castaneda
Age: 36
Company: National 
Marker Co.
Job title: Production 
planning manager
Education: High school, 
some college / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO


Brandon Castaneda | Age: 36 | Company: National Marker Co. | Job title: Production planning manager | Education: High school, some college


Brandon Castaneda, production planning manager at National Marker Co., might be typical of the kind of talented but initially unfocused young people that Rhode Island manufacturers are trying to lasso. Now 36, he left the military at age 21 in 2003 and grabbed an entry job as a picker and packer at NMC just to score a little income while he pondered college or other options; he had no intention of staying with the company.

But as the months passed, Castaneda found that supervisors were noticing his diligence and giving him opportunities to move around the company, learn and advance.

‘I found there was a world of opportunity for me as I continued to learn and train.’

Speaking of the CEO of the company, he said, “One of Mike [Black’s] passions is to improve people. Whether we work here six months or six years, he wants us to be the best we can be here, or elsewhere.”

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Over time, Castaneda was promoted to screen printer, group leader, production manager assistant, and then to his present job, where he supervises 35 people. During that time, Castaneda’s education continued and included leadership training at Bryant University.

“More than other industries, there is a lot of room for growth” in manufacturing, Castaneda said. “Suddenly, there is a kind of boom happening in manufacturing again. There is a lot of opportunity to learn new skills.”

Mary Lhowe is a PBN contributing writer.