Howard Treadaway is a manufacturing consultant who brings more than twenty-five years of experience to the Adams Hub mentoring team. Howard helps entrepreneurs and growing companies bring their inventions and prototypes into production, and enables existing small businesses make the transition into larger-scale manufacturing. With a deep understanding of cost engineering, lean manufacturing and total quality management, Howard helps companies prevent the chaos that can come with fast growth, ensuring that they have the management structure, systems and processes necessary for efficient, profitable operations. Howard has brought his expertise to companies in sectors as diverse as medical devices, consumer products, food, beverage and pharmaceuticals. He serves on mentor teams for Adams Hub incubator companies as well as Entrepreneurs Assembly.
Are there specific aspects of your background and experience that led you to Mentorship? If so, what are they?
I thought that my background in industrial engineering and manufacturing could play an important role in the manufacturing growth in Carson City, specifically, but in Northern Nevada as well. Not necessarily from a big “Tesla-Effect” way, but by enabling small to mid-sized companies to grow “smarter.” Young companies often go through a lot of turmoil as they grow, frequently because they’re learning-by-doing. If a manufacturer can start off right and deploy best practices from the beginning, their path to growth will be much smoother. Startups always face risks, but I can help companies reduce those by avoiding mistakes. I saw the opportunity to mentor at Adams Hub as a way to assist companies in that manner.
What part of mentoring do you enjoy most?
I enjoy helping people succeed. It is genuinely gratifying to receive an email from a mentee that says, “Thank you for following up” or “Thank you for helping with this question,” or to give a startup their first $1 in sales! In another instance, I’ve been working on an Adams Hub mentor team that’s assisting a cutting-edge technology company. Personally, I find the manufacturing, product-costing and general managerial aspects exciting, as I’m able to offer my 25+ years of experience in a small, startup environment.
You’ve been one of our “core” EA mentors. What do you like about that particular mentor experience?
The EA meetings bring together a diverse group of people on a monthly basis. Some are experienced entrepreneurs, others are just starting a new venture or in the ideation stage. To hear the ideas that folks have (and can bring to fruition) in Carson City or Nevada is amazing. I like the diversity of the businesses here. And I’m excited that, of the scores of ideas presented, I may be able to share skills or knowledge that can help someone succeed. At EA, this is refreshed monthly.
How does a business owner know if they’ll benefit from being mentored at EA?
If they’re willing to take two hours out of their month to participate, I believe they will walk out of EA with direction, clarification and connections to folks that will help them succeed. They just have to be willing to take that 0.83% time investment.
Did you have an influential mentor in your career?
Dr. William (Bill) A. Smith, Jr. was my Industrial Engineering professor at North Carolina State University. I was his undergraduate teaching assistant, mentoring students in Plan Perfect and Word Perfect (precursors to Word and PowerPoint), answering Industrial Engineering class questions and teaching the class. Through my two and a half years on campus and the subsequent 20 years’ friendship we enjoyed, he taught me razor-sharp focus on industrial engineering aspects, early 6 sigma, Total Quality Management and continuous improvement. There isn’t a day that I don’t think of him at some point or in some context. I genuinely miss him.