of absence to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps, spent his entire working life of 47 years – employed by a national-level, family-owned manufacturing company that makes semi-truck trailers.
Bob began his career with Utility attaching wooden flooring to trailers, working a second shift while attending college and starting a family. During his earliest days, he mastered numerous assembly and welding positions. After graduation, Bob was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps where he led a 50-man Communications Platoon.
Returning to Utility Trailer in 1976, Mr. Maki quickly picked up where he’d left off – receiving promotions to area foreman positions and eventually rising to second-shift Superintendent where he supervised 150 production employees at the company’s Utah-based production facility.
In 1981, the company relocated Bob to Utility’s primary manufacturing plant in Southern California, where he eventually took over as Plant Manager for a 400-person, unionized facility. Here, he gained substantive labor-relations experience – with the unions and in contract administration, binding arbitration, mediation, and contract negotiations, as well as exposure to California OSHA, the Southern California Air Quality Management District, and the EPA.
As the company continued to grow, Mr. Maki grew with it, moving to Virginia to help build, staff, and manage a “green-field”, 365,000 square foot facility. This plant, located in Marion, Virginia and still operating today, grew from zero to 1,200 manufacturing professionals producing over 50 trailers/day. He remained in this position for 14 years before being called again by the company to return to California in 2002 as its newest Director of Manufacturing. Bob subsequently led Utility’s five manufacturing plants, leading over 4,000 employees and producing over 200 trailers/day.
It was in this role that he partnered with the corporate Human Resource Director to initiate the first formal leadership development effort in the
company’s then 100-year history. From 2013 until his retirement, Bob rekindled his own leadership thinking, attending hundreds of hours of leadership development work with the company’s more than 250 supervisory personnel across the five production facilities.
He retired from that role in 2017 but is routinely called upon to continue supporting the company’s growth in a consulting role. Bob resides in Southern California with his wife Christine. He is the proud father of three and dotes on his three granddaughters as often as is possible.