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Finding Your Way to Good Works
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By Latanyua Taylor Robinson
Latanyua Taylor Robinson describes herself as a minister for manufacturing. In 2010, she started Latrobe LLC, a manufacturing and engineering services company. Latrobe’s mission: to create jobs in industrial manufacturing, specifically in low to ...
Purposed Work
Latanyua Taylor Robinson describes herself as a minister for manufacturing. In 2010, she started Latrobe LLC, a manufacturing and engineering services company. Latrobe’s mission: to create jobs in industrial manufacturing, specifically in low to moderate income communities. Latanyua’s educational credentials include a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Arkansas and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University. She developed a passion for manufacturing while in college. Throughout her career, Latanyua has held a variety of increasing responsibilities in operations, engineering, quality and marketing management. These assignments created opportunities to travel domestically and around the world, including various countries throughout Europe, China, India, Israel and Mexico. At such companies as Cargill, Sony and Kennametal, Latanyua met the challenges that come with being the “first” and the “only” as an opportunity to demonstrate that with proper training, women can succeed in jobs and industries traditionally reserved for men. Latrobe began as a contract manufacturing company. Today the portfolio has expanded to include process engineering, strategic marketing and construction tools and services. In May 2011, Latanyua was selected and honored as a Finalist at the Greater Washington D.C.’s Annual Women in Technology Leadership Awards in the category of Entrepreneur. In September 2011, she opened a second office in Port Arthur, Texas, to support job creation in manufacturing in southeast Texas and along the Sabine River into Louisiana. Additionally in October 2011 and 2012, Latanyua was a featured panel speaker at the Women in Manufacturing Symposiums held in Cleveland, Ohio and Milwaukee, Wisc. In April 2013, Latanyua will become an inducted member of the Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineers. Her next goal is to launch a non-profit organization focused toward getting more girls and women involved in manufacturing and technology. Girls Engaged in Manufacturing Studies (GEMS) mission and goals are to increase the numbers of females entering high tech, engineering and STEM related professions that are critical to our nation’s future growth and competitive edge in the global marketplace. Latanyua is married to James Robinson and they have a son named Quincy. The family currently resides in the Beaumont, Texas metro area. In her spare time, Latanyua shares her thoughts on economic diversity and the importance of manufacturing in sustaining the middle class economy in a blog titled, Purposed Work.
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Feb. 25, 2015 5:20 p.m.
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Feb. 11, 2015 5:20 p.m.
April 6, 2013 11:30 a.m.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart…and He shall direct your path
(Proverbs 3:5-6)<>

When I asked my potential client for a physical address for our meeting location, I received the following response: The use of GPS is not permitted when travelling to our sites. I knew then that I was in for an adventure. I got directions to an undisclosed location and a promise for a host to meet me at an intersection, where I would park my car and travel with a group to a series of drilling sites, located on rural routes that I could not get to again if my life depended on it. My adventure on this trip was exploring applications for green technology for primary and secondary containment on drilling platforms. Environmentally-friendly, cost-effective solutions for petroleum…my nerd-radar was on a 10!!!<>

Adventures in Arkansas: With today’s technology, I take “selfies” to chart my location in unknown territories…you know, just in case. But that option was not always available. My first job out of college required me to spend time in northwest Arkansas traveling in rural areas that supported the turkey production supply chain. So I rode in pickup trucks with virtual strangers to turkey farms, hatcheries, feed mills, etc. Years later, after I started Latrobe, I found myself in a similar situation, riding in a pickup truck with someone who appeared uncomfortable taking me to visit upstart drilling platforms supporting the Fayetteville shale play. So how did I find a way to break the ice? I initiated a conversation about Razorback sports, rice farming, and duck hunting. I remember talking with my host so much that we almost got stuck somewhere in Faulkner county during the 2011 Storm of the Century. <> 

Adventures in Asia: My most memorable adventure was my first visit to China. I was visiting a supplier that we were developing to provide raw materials for steel products. It was 2003 and in the early infrastructure development. Although I flew into Shanghai, the worksite was in Dongtai, an agriculture community in its infancy for industrial production. When I say infancy, I mean that along the two hour journey, many of the roads and basic necessities did not exist. When we got to the work site, I remember asking my host about the facilities and was directed toward a trough, hidden behind a makeshift aluminum wall. What to do with my new London Fog trench coat was the least of my concerns!!!<> 

Adventures in Assimilating into non-traditional work environments: Throughout my career, I have developed a list of survival tactics to make it easier on my hosts and me when travelling to rugged work sites:<>
·        Wear a jacket or a vest with pockets (there’s usually no place to keep a purse)<>

·        Keep a small container of hand sanitizer & baby wipes on you (use your imagination)<>

·        Know the outcome to last night’s game or local event (good conversation starter)<>

·        Develop tough skin for political/religious/social issues (awkward conversation ender)<>

·        Glamorize/personalize where appropriate (i.e., my chartreuse safety hat)<>

·        Be yourself (you do not have to act like a man to work in a man’s environment)<>


As a little girl, I was always told to pay attention when I went anywhere, so that if I got lost, I could always find my way home. As an adult, I have been blessed to go on adventures where that was not always an option in the natural. By faith, I know that I have a supernatural power directing my path to find my way home safely. Now, if I could just find my way to owning a rock quarry and a dump truck. After this week’s adventure, my entrepreneurial radar saw a potentially new opportunity for good works.<>

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