A Life's Mission for Manufacturing

Mar 06, 2020

It’s International Women’s Day this weekend. While West Fraser has work to do to achieve our goals for a diverse workforce, we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight a woman working in an interesting role at West Fraser. Tracy Breeding is the mill manager at West Fraser’s Lake Butler Mill in Florida.

Tracy Breeding is relatively new to West Fraser, but she’s no stranger to being dedicated to the manufacturing business.

“I don’t shy away from hard work. Even though manufacturing is a very male dominated industry, the world’s evolving and there’s an important place for women in these roles. If you’re all about the business and you love what you do, people sense that.”

Tracy joined the Company as a manager at Lake Butler last summer, after decades working at industrial plants such as Daimler Chrysler, Johnson Controls, and Adient. She cut her teeth at an early age in the manufacturing world. Her dad was a millwright and she comes from a blue-collar family. When she was in college, her aunt worked as a receptionist at a local plant. Tracy was brought in on a short contract that turned into a full-time job.

“The minute I walked in there, I knew I needed to be there, and that I wanted to run the place. It just felt right.”

And did end running parts of that plant—and went on to be the supervisor and manager at others, too. She loves that when she goes into work, she has a set number of tasks to do.

“It’s like there’s a scorecard—like in sports—you have to keep score. Even better, you get the chance to redo it and improve, every day.”

Tracy also loves to develop her employees. The last four of her superintendents went on to be plant managers, and she enjoys seeing people reach their potential. Of all the people she’s supported with promotions over the years, she’s particularly proud of a woman who was a supervisor and now is plant manager.

At Lake Butler, Tracy is now digging into making her own mark on the mill and her employees. First, she wants to build on the company culture.

“We’re in the midde of a culture change, in particular with safety. We want to change the plant to a place people aspire to be and into thinking of the mill as a lifelong career.”

For Tracy, this business has meant a lot of hard work and having a strong support system at home.

“Some people say you can’t have it all—that you can’t have family and child and a career like me—and I’m proof that you can if you have a good support system and you’re willing to put in the hard work. A company like West Fraser allows that work-life balance, so, well, I think it is possible to have it all.”