Rubber & Plastics News' Executive of the Year Tom Pitstick literally is known the world over—at least within the global Gates Corp. community—for his leadership during this difficult and chaotic past year.
From China to Singapore, to the plains of Kansas and the foothills of the Rockies where Pitstick is based in Denver, the senior vice president of strategic planning and chief marketing officer for the manufacturer of power transmission belts and fluid power products made his mark when the stakes were highest.
"With Tom's strong leadership and guidance, Gates Greater China is the first country back to 'normal' from COVID-19," said Janey Zhang, human resources director for Gates Great China, based in Suzhou. "Tom demonstrates excellent change management leadership corresponding to facing an uncertain environment, communicating to address concerns from employees and stakeholders, and putting preventive procedures and measures in place to help Gates protect our employees and continue to serve our customers."
Teng Seng Khoo, president of Gates East Asia and India based in Singapore, congratulated Pitstick on his "well-deserved award."
"Tom's leadership in keeping our global leaders connected and informed has made a marked difference in helping us manage through this pandemic," Khoo said.
Pitstick said he keeps clear and honest communication—what he calls "overcommunication"—with all levels of Gates employees at the forefront of his management style. The past year, he noted, proved challenging in juggling the changing and dizzying regulatory missives that different cities, counties, states and countries implemented throughout the pandemic.
He cited the Greater Denver region as an example of why "reading the regulatory fine print" is crucial, as there are different regulations between counties there—counties that are only 20 minutes from each other.
"Tom has done an outstanding job of reinforcing the importance of continued communications for the Gates Corp.," said Teri Porter, human resource director for the Gates facility in Iola, Kan. "During these pandemic times, Tom has taken the lead for Gates, which has allowed us all to remain informed as to the changing environment and to make the best decisions to support all our sites globally."
Another Gates worker with the technology development department in Denver said Pitstick continues to demonstrate "optimism, diplomacy and empathy," invaluable, measured virtues at a time when patience has worn thin and emotions are frayed for many.
"Tom is our front line for decisions and communication during the pandemic," said Carol Weber, director of the Gates Technology Center in Denver. "It's more than what he did to ensure we knew the business impacts, personnel support and global conditions; it is the way he continues to do it."
Another Gates employee who has known Pitstick since he began with the company in 2016 said his management of the global regulations and challenges, clear communications to the global Gates work force and ability to copy what has been successful in countries that are "ahead of the game" in their pandemic response, has translated to a positive bottom line for Gates.
"Tom has been a key leader in the Gates COVID Task Team in the last 10 months," said Mary O'Neill, senior vice president of lean manufacturing at Gates. "He has been diligent in keeping all the global challenges that we have been faced with in the forefront of the organization. His leadership in the development of the protocols to deal with the COVID virus has allowed our manufacturing sites, distribution centers and offices to continue to operate safely and provide products and services to our customers."