From Intern to Plant Manager: Meet Dave Campbell, Wheatland Tube
When Dave Campbell started his manufacturing internship at Zekelman Industries’ Sharon Tube 22 years ago, he couldn’t have imagined that it would lead him on a decades-long career journey in the manufacturing industry.
“I was very fortunate to grow my career at Zekelman,” says Campbell, now a plant manager at Zekelman’s Wheatland Tube facility in Wheatland, Pennsylvania.
As a young college student, Campbell decided that interning for the steel tube manufacturer aligned well with his engineering school ambitions. He was particularly excited to work for a company that was motivated to compete with foreign markets, he says, as he’d recently lost his job due to foreign competition.
Campbell found that, and more, at Zekelman, where he advanced his career alongside his education. While working as an intern at Sharon Tube, he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, mastering his understanding of how steel pipe and tube were manufactured, a knowledge base that would help him excel in future roles with the company.
Just as important, Zekelman is an industry leader in domestic manufacturing — with 17 facilities in the United States and two in Canada. “Zekelman’s continued investment in domestic manufacturing is not just a commitment to the sustainability of Zekelman, but also of America,” Campbell says.
Succeeding as a Team
One of the most important lessons Campbell has learned — and promotes to his teammates at Zekelman — is the value of teamwork. To succeed in manufacturing, everyone must work together.
So, whenever a teammate has a concern or issue, Campbell takes time to listen and empathize to make sure they’re heard. Having feedback loops ensures that he and his peers can move forward as a team. “I like to lead by example, and I also like to show the teammates what’s in it for them,” he says. “Pointing them in the right direction is critical to that leadership style.”
That dedication to teamwork isn’t uncommon at Zekelman. “I would call the culture very passionate,” Campbell says. “People are always willing to go the extra mile, many of them when they’re not even asked to do so.”
Maintaining the positive culture is a key reason Zekelman focuses on promoting teammates from within the company, and Campbell is a prime example. “Just like myself, many of the plant managers started off as interns,” he says. “There are plenty of success stories.”
Generations of Impact
For Campbell, a career at Zekelman hasn’t only provided job security in an evolving industry, but it’s given him stability in family life. “My efforts have always been rewarded,” he says. “This career path has allowed me to provide for my family.”
Many others in the company — and in the greater Wheatland community — share that Zekelman pride.
“It means a lot to the local community knowing we’re here […] that there’s a good place to work,” Campbell says. “It resonates within the community. There are so many families that have said, ‘Hey, my grandfather worked there. My father worked there, uncles, aunts.’ It’s that kind of community aspect that lives on in this facility.”