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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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April 26, 2013 5:35 p.m.

put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways… <>
(Psalm 51:12-13)<>
One of my favorite movies opens with the question: So when did you first fall in love with hip-hop? It’s a brilliant question for a thinker that allows you to contemplate the cause and effect of so many of life’s events. For example, if I were to ponder when I first considered pursuing engineering, I can point to another movie that had an impact on my life: the original Cheaper by the Dozen. The old black and white was the story of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, their family, and their work in time and motion studies.<>
No one really explained to me what an industrial engineer (IE) did. The summer between my junior and senior year of high school, I attended an introduction to engineering session at the University of Arkansas. A group of us spent a week touring the campus and visiting with the various disciplines. During the IE session, someone identified Fredrick Taylor (my family name) as the father of scientific management and mentioned therblig (Gilbreth spelled backwards) as the basic unit of measure in time and motion studies, and I became intrigued to learn more. By the end of the week, I knew I would major in industrial engineering. I remember going back home, to work at Mr. B’s, telling my manager that I was going to be an IE. When he asked me what they did, my best example was still the Cheaper by the Dozen reference. He asked if I planned to become an efficiency expert. I told him not exactly, but that I would come up with a better use of our time in response to him constantly saying if you have time to lean, you have time to clean!
Today, if I had to explain what an industrial engineer does, I would say that we focus on improving productivity and quality in any work process. Although I have a passion for manufacturing processes, I have gained a lot of experience in non-manufacturing environments. Throughout the years, I have had assignments that ranged from getting the right dietary meals to patients in relatively large hospitals, to understanding how cash payments are processed and credited from retailers to banks, to performing job-cost analysis for material handling in warehouses, to developing a supply-chain study of components and assemblies required to operate wind turbine farms for renewable energy. I like to think of my work as the proper balance of processes and people that produces sustained profitability!<>
That’s my experience, based on the cause/effect/exposure in my life. For students entering the profession today, the global possibilities are endless. The Institute of Industrial Engineers recently released the following video to illustrate some of the career opportunities that may be attractive in the 21st century graduates:

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