GLE Controller Jim BriggsAshley
Meet Jim Briggs
GLE controller Jim Briggs is one of the most friendly and easygoing guys you’ll meet, according to his coworkers. But he’s also alert, keeping an eye on conditions and making hard decisions when he must.
“As the business manager, what Jim does for me is irreplaceable,” general manager Clint Bucholz says. “He’s the guy who brings all the numbers together. He’s kind of the right-hand man because of the data and the integrity of the data. Business is driven by data. Yeah, there might be some gut. But Jim brings the actual data to those situations. He’s very data-driven, so he’s kind of the voice of reason in conversations whether it be buying equipment or looking at an acquisition.”
Talent and experience aside, what really stands out about Jim, though, is his easygoing personality.
“You never find a frown on Jim’s face,” production supervisor Steve Tagget says. “He’s a happy-go-lucky guy. He’s smiling from the time he comes in here to the time he goes home, he’s smiling. I don’t know if Jim knows how to get mad. I don’t think he even knows how. He’s always upbeat, and he knows his job well.”
Clint laughs when he hears how Steve describes Jim (who says he’s a really good listener and someone people feel comfortable talking to). It’s all true, he says. It’s not in Jim’s DNA to get mad at anyone.
“He’s one of those guys that everybody loves,” Clint says. “He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body, so people just kind of gravitate toward him. Sometimes there are those difficult jobs and he just does it in a very caring way.”
The Bean Counter
Jim actually thought he might be an engineer himself when he first went to college but it wasn’t quite the right fit. He ended up in accounting where he flourished and, of course, came to believe that Excel is the greatest program ever. Jim worked first for a bank, then 20 years with a coffee production company as — what else — the head bean counter. He came to Bridgeport to be the GLE Controller a few years ago, looking to do something different that was more of a challenge.
“Coming here was a big-time difference from the coffee industry,” Jim says. “Here we practice 5S and we have a lot of quality standards that we follow, which entails a lot of recordkeeping and documenting how you’re doing things. And we’re more of a job shop. Every job can be different, so it’s not like a standardized part that you’re making every time. It’s small runs.”
On the accounting side of work like that, Jim has to look harder at variances and projections for the cost of goods vs. a set cost that comes with a more standardized product like coffee.
Jim prepares that critical financial information well ahead of time and does whatever it takes to make sure the resources the leadership team needs are accurate, Clint says.
In Love with the Numbers
A true accountant, Jim loves analyzing data, seeing the best sales of the month, making big deposits, and doing month-end.
“I try to get the financial statements finalized in two days, so I enjoy that process,” Jim says. “Also, I have a goal where I try to get the financial part of the board presentation done within the first five days. That’s kind of the highlight of my week here for sure.”
Jim’s expertise was also instrumental in working on a major project to figure out GLE’s average number of parts per hour. That data can help employees better estimate routing, schedule jobs, and give the customer an accurate delivery date.
“Our quality is our most important thing,” Jim says. “We do a lot of really hard stuff, so if it’s not right, we’ll make it right but we want to make it right the first time. I think our No. 1 thing here is we have this can-do attitude. We get all these super tough projects that we — the guys in the shop — have to think about. Those guys out there, they won’t give up. That’s kind of what sets us apart: We’ll do the tough stuff that nobody else will do.”
When he isn’t crunching numbers, Jim enjoys camping, hunting, spending time with his family (his wife, two daughters, a son-in-law, grandson, and a black cat named Spooky). He’s also recently gotten into kayak fishing.
“I’ve had a blast,” Jim says. “It’s quite fun fishing in the kayak because you’re right on the water.”