A Team Leader
Since joining the in-plant at Portland General Electric, Wes Friesen has worked hard to strengthen its team atmosphere while adding equipment and services.
By Bob Neubauer
Wes Friesen has been a busy man for the past six years. Since taking over as manager of Billing & Remittance Services at Portland General Electric, which includes printing and automated mail, he has been hard at work revamping the 11-employee in-plant—upgrading equipment, adding services and building a team atmosphere. The operation's success is evident from the handful of recent awards it has won.
"I really have enjoyed both printing and the mail functions," Friesen says. "I find them very exciting."
But with a bachelors degree in business administration from George Fox University, an MBA from the University of Portland and a PhD from Columbia Pacific University, this life-long Oregon resident would seem more at home working in finance. And, in fact, that's where he worked for his first 18 years after graduation.
"I spent many years working in finance and accounting in both staff and supervisory roles," says Friesen, who has been at Portland General Electric for 24 years now. "But I always had an interest in leadership and management, and I started getting real interested in operational areas of the company."
So when an opportunity opened up to manage the in-plant in 1998, he jumped at the chance. He had his work cut out for him. The printing operation, then located about a mile from the mail facility, had been somewhat neglected. His first task was to consolidate print and mail under one roof. Then came the hard part: Integrating the two teams.
"It was a bit of a challenge," he
admits. But the idea of turning workers into a team, and helping them work together to achieve goals was what had attracted him to the position. Before long he was cross-training mail and print employees, leading team meetings, throwing pizza parties and even taking them to ball games and movies.