2018 Young Professional Network Mentor Award Winner – Q+A Session

By Laurie Walker, MHI Senior Membership Coordinator

Each year, MHI member companies have the opportunity to submit their employees for the MHI Outstanding Young Professional of the Year Award and the MHI Mentor Award.

We were proud to announce at MODEX 2018 the winner of the MHI Mentor Award is Jim Radous from UniCarriers.

We were recently able to catch up with Jim to learn more about him.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Chicago and attended Northern Illinois University, and later earned my MBA from Roosevelt University. I’ve been married to my wife, Donna, for over 35 years and I’m the proud father of two grown sons. I’ve spent much of my professional life focusing on sales and marketing, but among the work I’ve found most satisfying of late is my involvement with National Forklift Safety Day and helping to promote the importance of our industry to the public at large. On a personal note, I am proud to support several local civic groups like Make-A-Wish and The Boy Scouts. Above all, I’ve been privileged to work as a mentor with young people from my alma mater and within our organization.

What position do you currently hold at Unicarriers?

I am currently President of UniCarriers Americas, a unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. I am also an Executive Officer and on the Mitsubishi Logisnext Board of Directors.

When you were first beginning your career, did you have a leader or mentor that helped to guide you through the start of your career? What type of impact did they have on you?

I have been very fortunate in my life to have many mentors. As I built my career and advanced from post to post, there were individuals always ready to share their knowledge, their insights, and provide guidance as I moved forward. Their support was essential at the beginning of my career, helping to give me direction and I am indebted to their generosity in both knowledge and spirit.

The lessons are almost too numerous to mention. Not only did they teach me how to work in business, but they also showed me what not to do. I learned to take a “bird on a wire” approach – to really observe those with experience, seeing how they dealt with different business situations and settings. There was, of course, “hands on” learning, but with their support I was able to take a little bit from each of them to create my own management and leadership style. Those who mentored me taught me the importance of honing your skills and being yourself. Don’t try to be someone or something you’re not. To thine own self be true, as Shakespeare noted. Once I learned that lesson, I developed – as others have done – my own unique style. There is also one lesson they each taught me: No one is the sole author of his or her success. That’s why I try to be a mentor to others today.

What is the best advice that you can offer to a young professional starting a career in supply chain and material handling?

We live and work in an era of constant change, but there are certain shared lessons every young person should learn. First, embrace technology – our industry, like most others, is being driven by innovation, and those who can master these innovations and bring them to the marketplace will lead the future. The next generation of material handling leaders will be working with products and solutions so advanced that continuous education is mandatory. On the personal side, always be ethical (this is a big one for me), develop your own style, and always be cognizant of your core competencies. Learn your strengths and weaknesses. Never “fake it to make it.” Growth is essential as is developing your own unique selling proposition, your USP. And, do be unique. How boring would it be if everyone were the same? Never be afraid to ask questions. And, if you ever think you’re the smartest person in the room, you need to find a different room.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Thanks to the support of so many people, there are several accomplishments of which I am very proud. But, what I am most proud of are the times when I’ve had the opportunity to come into a very difficult situation, where a great deal was at stake, and where odds of success were between slim and none, and not only help turn the situation around, but create an opportunity for our organization to flourish. For example, two years ago, we integrated a new ERP system into our business. I entered the process, as President, just as it came time to launch. The process I inherited was flawed, to say the least. The business was severely impacted and people lost hope in our ability to find our way back out. But we were able to rally our team, set a course and strategy and ultimately win the day. To see the look of the people you work with, who were once non-believers, now see themselves as part of the solution, as true catalysts for positive change – that’s my proudest professional accomplishment. I’m also proud to add that we have had our two largest years in revenue since I took the leadership role at UniCarriers Americas. I look at the growth of our company, our brand, and the personal growth of our team, and I view all of these as the true measure of my success.

Submissions for the Outstanding Young Professional Award and Mentor Award are accepted at the start of each year, with the winners being announced at ProMat and MODEX.

The Outstanding Young Professional Award is given to an MHI member under the age of 40 who has displayed professional accomplishments, effective leadership skills and contributions to their company and industry innovation.

The Mentor Award is awarded to an MHI member who offers professional guidance, is a positive and inspiring role model, instills and nurtures talent, advocates for employees and supports their professional development.

If you know of someone that would be a candidate for either award, be on the lookout for submission forms in December 2018 or check back on the MHI Young Professionals Network webpage. For questions, please contact the MHI membership team at membership@mhi.org.