Katie Babineau’s love of learning helps maintain high quality at Seaman Paper Co.
Katie Babineau, 36
Assistant production manager at Seaman Paper Co., Gardner
What team do you play for? She plays dek hockey in a tournament league and recreational league.
Katie Babineau, paper
Sometimes, when you interview at a company and you don’t get the job, but they say will keep your resume on file, they actually do – and call you a few months later.
That’s what happened with Katie Babineau of Gardner’s Seaman Paper Company, which makes decorative tissue papers. (They make the tissue paper served with Dunkin Donuts’ doughnuts, for example, in Victoria’s Secret lingerie boxes and bags, and the airborne confetti raining down at concerts and Super Bowl games.)
Beyond those cool tissue-paper uses, it’s a love of learning and curiosity about new things that has led Babineau to manufacturing and keeps her there.
Retail ultimately led her to quality control and manufacturing.
While working at a shoe store part time in high school, Babineau was asked to be an assistant manager of the shop. She worked her way up to manager, and went to college at night earn her associate’s degree. One day Babineau interacted with a quality manager for Reebok, who told her she had an eagle eye when it came to product quality. She was given some new responsibilities.
“I got to test shoes before went they went to customers,” she said, “running on a treadmill, on pavement, testing them on women to see how they fit. It was a pretty cool job. I had a corporate credit card and got to buy shoes and compare them.”
Babineau eventually left that position, and after some time as a stay-at-home-mom, went looking again for work, landing the role at Seaman.
So with her associate’s degree in business administration from Gardner’s Mount Wachusett Community College under her belt, Babineau started at Seaman in customer service five-and-a-half years ago. She honed on learning as much as she could in every department of the paper company and eventually moved over to the production side.
“I’m the type of person who just can’t settle; I always want to learn more,” she said. It was with little things at first, but she worked hard to retain more information as she went along. As it turned out, Babineau’s customer-service skills had set her up for success in production.
“It helped me tremendously … to know their needs and knowing who could wait and who couldn’t,” she said. “I learned firsthand how paper was made. I honestly love my job and look for what I can do to make things easier and quicker for everyone.”
And Babineau is seeing more women in the field. A year ago, the company hired a female human-resources director. Many machine supervisors are female now, said Babineau.
Though she still oversees some of the larger retail clients from a customer-service standpoint, her production role involves scheduling of machines and operators across locations, inventory management, trying to fit in rush orders and making sure products are made, produced and shipped on time.
Always up for a challenge, Babineau is even getting her forklift-operation license, too, believing that the more cross training, the better.
“They always laugh at me,” she said, “But I want to see how it’s done, how difficult it is! We want to make sure numbers are on point so we are producing quality and quantity, and there are a lot of different operators who are cross-trained.” ◾