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Michael Forte

What was your background before joining Chartwell?

I studied Chemical Engineering at Tufts University (Massachusetts) and joined Chartwell in 2019 after graduating.

During college, I explored a wide variety of different activities. Some of these were closely related to my degree, such as performing academic research and serving as the president of the engineering honors society. Many others were completely unrelated. I played on the club tennis team, tried my hand at rock climbing, and took several courses in Latin poetry. I even went on a month-long archaeological dig in the jungle with one of my professors.

This ability to take on new challenges has allowed me to gain many new skills beyond my technical background, which has served me well at Chartwell.

What have been the biggest factors for your professional development since joining Chartwell?

Before starting at Chartwell, I would not have been confident giving a spontaneous project update to a production manager or training a group of experienced operators on a new changeover procedure. Now, I am comfortable working with people at all levels in the client organization and I have vastly improved my communication skills. This has led to better relationships with the client team, and more rapid results.

Whether it’s a technical glitch with the data capture system, or a persistently jammed machine on the production floor, unexpected problems occur all the time. In just my first six months, I became a more efficient problem solver, and can now quickly synthesize large amounts of new information at once and develop specific action plans to resolve complicated issues. It’s really rewarding when someone says you were able to fix a problem that had been bugging them for weeks!

What is a typical week for an Associate Consultant?

Monday morning begins with a short flight. In the car on the way to the plant, I review with my line manager what we accomplished the previous week and the status of our workstreams.

Each day when we get to site, we hold a morning meeting with the client team to assess our current performance and review our list of action items. I use the output of these meetings to plan my day and prioritize the tasks I need to complete to push forward my workstream. The rest of the day is quite variable. I might plan a set of trials or develop a new excel tool. Often, I will spend a large portion of the day on the production floor with the operators or performing a study on a troublesome piece of equipment. During my first project, which was at a textile plant, this occasionally left me (and the seat of the rental car) covered in a thin layer of lint.

Evenings often involve a quick meal with the other Chartwell members who are onsite, which gives us a chance to discuss problems we’ve been having or just enjoy a nice meal. After I get back to the hotel, I might go to the gym followed by some excel work or a relaxed evening spent watching TV.

On Thursday afternoon, I fly back to Boston. The agenda on Fridays includes training sessions, project update presentations, or just some miscellaneous work. Regardless of the schedule though, Fridays in the office are also a great time to catch up with coworkers and learn about what everyone else has been up to.