- On November 4, 2020
John Killam – MassMEP Employee Highlights
MassMEP is led by President and CEO John Killam. John describes his work in the two roles. “As President, I lead the organization to accomplish NIST objectives and goals, as well as meeting the state’s objectives of supporting manufacturing in MA. The CEO role is more for the board and board meetings. I present to the board 4 to 5 times a year and lead that event as well. A job like this can’t be done by yourself. You can’t do anything. People who are leaders have to rely on our people. We provide direction, guidance, and support and we ask our people to help us accomplish our objectives. If we have great people as we do now, then the job is not that difficult.”
John shares his career background. “I’ve spent over 30 years in manufacturing and leading manufacturing facilities. I was at Snap-On Tools, a world-wide international company, and a great company that I really enjoyed working for. Back when 2008 was around the corner, we knew there was a downturn coming because we could see what it was doing to our customers. The decision was made that the plant that I managed in Natick, MA was to be moved to Murphy, NC. I made a decision at that point. I had worked at Snap-On for over 30 years and I had grown up with many of these people, and so I wasn’t going to be the guy to close the plant. So I left and found MassMEP. I thought that this would be a great place for me to get exposure to the manufacturing community and I could see what kind of opportunities were out there. I was thinking that it would be great if I could find a really good job that meets my family requirements and my requirements. That was in 2007.
John continues a little tongue in cheek, saying, “And I haven’t found a job that meets my family and my requirements so I have stayed at MEP. I started in 2007 as a project manager. I was introduced to the field with a half-day of training and then was sent out into the field. We are definitely better today but that is the nature of this business. Back then MassMEP was a new company – only about 10 years old. In 2007 we had less than 15 people in 2007, we weren’t getting much state funding, it was about $300,000. NIST funding was sporadic at best. NIST was holding our money – they wanted more information regarding some of our reports. We’ve come a long way in this organization with the people that we have. It’s been a fast 13 years for me, unbelievably fast. But it’s been great!”
“It was the work that has made the time go so quickly. I really enjoyed meeting with and helping manufacturing companies. I loved seeing the appreciation that they had when we had success. That passion kept me here at MassMEP. As we began to grow, we needed to become a more formal and more organized structure. That was around 2011. That’s really when I came out of the field and began leading rather than doing actual implementation.”
What does John like the most about his job? With a quick grin he says, “The thing I like about work, the thing that keeps me going, is the drive to succeed and see others succeed. It really makes the day and makes me feel we’ve accomplished something when we set out to do something, we work together to plan it, to do it, and to celebrate it. I love to see the accomplishments of a team and see the organization do well. That’s really my passion. I do like the business and financial side of it, that’s really interesting. But for the most part, it’s the people that I meet in the industry, at the statehouse, and people in the administration. It’s fantastic to be able to articulate something to these folks that is very normal to us that we live every day and have it be an epiphany to them. Part of that is that we have more knowledge than we think we have, and I get a kick out of that.”
Outside of the office, John says that his grandchildren have reignited a fire in him and his wife. They have brought out the youth in them again. They enjoy spending time with their kids, especially when they bring the grandkids. On an individual level, John loves to fish. He’s been fishing a long time, mostly for largemouth bass, and finds it very therapeutic and really enjoys it.
How well do you know John? Two of these statements are true and one is not. Can you guess which one?
1) I am a champion dart player.
2) I lived in China.
3) I was named after a priest.