34 Years, Same Company: The Lori Story

SOLIDWORKS debuted way back in 1995. The songs topping the Billboard Hot 100 that year belonged to artists like Coolio, TLC, Seal, and Boyz II Men. The discovery of 51 Pegasus b was announced as the first exoplanet found around a sun-like star. In some ways, it is hard to believe 1995 was almost 25 years ago; in other ways, 1995 feels like ‘forever’-ago!

Of course, life and industry existed well-before 1995. And while I was probably busy practicing different methods of counting (in 2s, 5s, 10s), I understand some of you were busy working full-time jobs. And some of you were working full-time jobs at the same employer then as you are today!

On this note, meet Lori Rollins.

34 years ago, Lori came on board to Morrison Textile Machinery. Today, she is their IT Manager and a Certified SOLIDWORKS PDM Administrator. When she joined the company 34 years ago, she started out as a switchboard operator. In ever-present ways, our world has changed quite a bit over these time spans, and so have Lori’s horizons and professional career.

A copy of Lori’s Certified PDM Administrator certificate, a symbol of all the advances Lori has put into place at Morrison!

Over the years, Lori has taken on many roles in getting to where she is today. But it’s given her a rather holistic view of how Morrison operates, which has made her invaluable to the company today.

Lori quipped: “I’m not the ‘Jack of All Trades’; I’m the ‘Jewel of All Trades!”

When I spoke to Tanner Knight, a Regional Director over at Morrison’s VAR, Converge (more on these guys later), he exclaimed: “Lori’s the person you go to if you want to get something done!”

At the very beginning of her career at Morrison, that meant switchboard operation. And gradually, that grew to handling things like implementing the company’s ERP system.

Like many of us, Lori has had a keen desire to advance her own career over the years. As time went on, she made the time to pursue such advancements by going back to school for IT – even if doing this wasn’t anything resembling ‘easy.’

“We have a USC Lancaster extension here,” Lori began to explain. “It’d been so many years since I’d been out of high school. While in school, I worked full-time at Morrison, and went to school part-time. I also had two kids in between that time.”

Balancing a full-time job with school and parenthood wasn’t easy, but Lori did it – as evidenced by this photo of her degree.

Surely, this was challenging. Really challenging. To help, Lori had the support of her employer, as well as years of practical, relevant field work experience to lean on, which helped her move things along in her degree program.

“With many of my classes, I exempted out of them because of all the stuff I’d picked up experience-wise at Morrison.”

Naturally, as Lori came closer to the IT side, she increased her ability to help Morrison organize their data and processes. This was something, Lori says, that was super impactful for the company.

“Once I got a degree from USC Lancaster, I got the position as Network Administrator.”

Having years of background knowledge in Morrison’s practices and hard-earned educational knowledge in computer science and network administration, Lori gradually positioned herself to be in an ideal position to help Morrison become more organized and efficient as a company as their PDM Administrator.

“Some people would have the same drawing in 10 different places. This could lead to the wrong part getting built. Now, we have all of this fixed. Everyone’s working in the vault.”

Of course, like many SOLIDWORKS customers, Lori and Morrison were aided heavily by their local VAR, Converge. In talking about the help she’s been able to get from Converge over the years, Lori lauded the bonds she’s been able to build with the team there, namely including Tanner.

Lori attributes a great deal of the success she’s had with SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD and SOLIDWORKS PDM to her tight bond with the team at Converge, her local VAR.

“We had meetings to set up how the folder structure needed to be,” Lori recounted. “The way it used to be, was everyone had their own personal folders. We decided: we weren’t going to do that anymore. We were going to use a system of drawing numbers.”

Tanner and the team at Converge helped a great deal with the data migration for Morrison into the vault, as well as training and ongoing support. This is something Lori values tremendously.

“Over the years, these guys have become like my adopted family,” Lori gushed. “They’ve made it so easy to work with SOLIDWORKS and PDM. Any time I have a problem, I know any one of them will help me.”

This is only part of a 300 foot dye machine of Morrison’s that, in Lori’s words, “makes your jeans blue!”

As I spoke to Lori, I really wanted to get deeper into what it was about Morrison that’s made her want to remain a member of the team there for over three decades. What were some of the intrinsic characteristics of the business – all the way up to ownership – that’s made it a rewarding place to work for all of these years?

“This is a family-owned company. It’s been here since 1959. They always try to work with you. If you need to be off for some reason, they work with you. For example, when my kids were born, they were flexible so I could pick up my kids so they didn’t have to ride the bus,” Lori explained.

“You just know that they care.”

How about you? Do you have a story about how long you or someone you know has stayed with the same employer? We’d love to hear it! Feel free to participate with your own mini-story in the comments of this post.

Sean O'Neill
I'm a Community and User Advocacy Manager here at SOLIDWORKS. As a longtime SOLIDWORKS user myself, I love meeting with users and hearing about all the interesting things they're doing in the SOLIDWORKS community!