This week meet my colleague and friend Emma Reiter, Production Manager at Furnace Record Pressing. I know it may seem odd to not have had someone from Furnace featured already, but with Emma on board the time was right. She manages our customer service team, schedules manufacturing, and handles most of our vendor relationships.
My main focus is ensuring that jobs move smoothly and quickly every step of the way.
When Emma isn’t at work she spends time hanging with her husband and two huskies who are also office dogs at Furnace; and all the rest of the time training and competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. “I am lucky enough to belong to an amazing gym (Fifty/50 Martial Arts Academy) with the very best coaches and teammates. It’s definitely my home away from home.”
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
I spent about five years working for an office-space leasing company. After climbing several rungs of the corporate ladder there wasn’t a lot more room for me to grow so I started looking for work more in line with my interests. I actually interviewed with Furnace about a year and a half before I started – at that moment timing wasn’t quite right but once Furnace expanded their pressing operations to the US they decided to bring me on. Making a career change to Furnace was one of the best decisions ever. I love being a part of this team.
What is a day in the life like?
I usually start the day corresponding with our European partners, and checking emails. I review the schedule for the day and meet with our line managers every morning to discuss job status and priorities for the day/week. I manage an awesome team of Production Coordinators and work very closely with them to keep jobs moving as quickly as possible. We meet frequently to review any outstanding items (art, download card audio, test pressing approval – lots of moving parts!). I spend a lot of time communicating with our partners and vendors to ensure we can keep jobs moving along quickly. At the end of the day I am essentially the liaison between our Sales and Production teams and Manufacturing.
What has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
As a DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area native who grew up going to punk shows, I love working on anything Dischord. A lot of those albums are really meaningful to me, and getting to press them here is just really special.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
I am extremely lucky that Ali, our VP has been able to mentor me through any difficult parts. She spent many years doing Production Management and I have loved learning from her and seeing how her brain works through a problem.
Trying to meet tight deadlines can be challenging, as its really hard to rush such an imperfect medium like vinyl. Vinyl can be tricky and despite all best efforts, occasionally things get behind. I hate letting customers down and my team down so its always a bummer when projects get delayed due to an unexpected manufacturing issue.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
The thing about this industry is that all of the knowledge is pretty contained within. You can’t exactly go take a course or get certified as a “Vinyl Production Manager”.
…so you have to really roll up your sleeves and take the initiative in learning as much as you can from your colleagues, vendors / partners, the internet, and fellow friendly pressing plants.
Furnace’s website has a great FAQ resource as well!
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
I am! However, I consider myself a casual collector. My husband and I have a pretty large collection, and I kind of rely on him to curate it mostly, haha. He actively seeks specific records, whereas I just buy punk records whenever we go record shopping.
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.
At the Making Vinyl Conference in LA I got to see a demo of some of Pheenix Alpha’s presses that are really rad. I am excited about some of the cool hand-pressed effect vinyl we’ve been doing at Furnace; and lastly, I am a big fan of the effects that Wax Mage Records is putting out.
Finally, tell me what you’re listening to right now that you’re loving:
I have been revisiting a lot of Joe Strummer’s solo stuff. I got the “Joe Strummer 001” box set for Christmas and I am pretty psyched about it.
Furnace Record Pressing: @furnacemfg