Nick Khuri, Continuous Improvement Manager at AquaPhoenix, discusses team projects and getting outside of your comfort zone.
Q: What is your role at APS?
As Continuous Improvement Manager, my job overall is to try and make sure things run as smoothly as possible here at AquaPhoenix. In continuous improvement, our goal is to find waste and eliminate it. That's one of the things that AquaPhoenix prides itself on is our continuous improvement and I think that's one of the things that makes us a real competitor. I'm very happy to be part of that team.
Q: What has been your favorite project?
I like any project that involved a really big team of people. Especially when those projects are done successfully. Because being able to see so many different hands on deck from so many different departments work together to make an improvement to a department that is not even theirs, is a really cool thing to see.
Q: What has been your most memorable/embarrassing moment at APS?
I am just the worst fork lift driver that may have ever been born. It got to a point where I revoked my own fork lift license because I was like this is not safe for anybody. I think I broke a rack, I backed into another rack, I knocked over a skid that was on the top rack.
Q: What advice would you give to a new hire?
Don't get into a comfort zone. Whatever you're doing, we're going to try and target that at some point and try and find a better way of doing it. You have to understand that working at AquaPhoenix, the one thing that we're going to do is push you outside of your comfort zone. That is one of the things we do to make sure that we keep improving but it's also one of the hardest things to accept; myself included. No one likes it, that is why it's called the comfort zone.
Q: If you could learn something new, what would it be?
I think the cliché answer is learn new languages. I really would like to. I tried to learn Spanish I can say a few things, ¿
Q: Which AquaPhoenix Core Value Stands out to you?
It's between the Continuous Improvement and Do the Right Thing. I think I've got to choose do the right thing because continuous improvement from the continuous improvement manager would be too cliché. Do the right thing. I think we really do live by that. We'll have discussions about making changes to how we're doing a product and it really always just comes down to it. The other core values go into it too, like quality and customer satisfaction. We'll make really difficult decisions from a cost, labor or just like a project standpoint because we know it's the right thing to do. I like having that kind of as a part of your DNA at a company. You can have faith that everyone else is going to do the right thing around you. That's really nice.
Q: What is your favorite food?
Favorite food is just a big steak with I'll take literally an entire onion and an entire pack of mushrooms and sauté them up and that's all I need. And a bourbon.
Q: Any favorite line from a movie?
Hoosiers is a great movie and this is probably one of my favorite lines. In the championship game, when the coach is kind of drawing up the last play, that picket fence, and he's going through it and the last thing he says to the team is, "Now boys, don't get caught watching the paint dry." They go out and they score and they win. Gene Hackman in that is primo.