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Gen Z Wants More Responsibility, Sense of Purpose

Davis Latham, a 24-year-old VP of operations, says he moved up because his superiors gave him the chance to show his abilities.

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Eric Sorensen

Davis Latham, a 24-year-old vice president of operations at CADmore, joined the latest episode of the Gen Z in Manufacturing podcast to discuss his journey in the design and engineering field.

"Gen Z in Manufacturing" explores the perspectives of young professionals in the manufacturing industry and delves into their experiences, career growth and what attracts them to their respective companies.

After graduating college, Latham was not specifically looking to work in the design and engineering field. However, he ended up working for nearly three years at ZVerse, a developer of software applications that enable digital manufacturing, and served as special projects coordinator, senior manager of operations, and director of business development.

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Latham became vice president of operations at CADmore after it acquired and rebranded the ZVerse design business. He currently oversees all the business' day-to-day operations, including about 30 designers and a three-person project management team. He also acts as an intermediary between the design team, the project managers and the customers.

As employers look to bridge a generational gap in their workforce, Latham stressed that the best thing employers can do for young workers is to give them more responsibility.

"That's something that allowed me to get to the position I am in," Latham said. "I started as a coordinator and was able to move up. Each step along the way was only because I was able to demonstrate because someone above me trusted me to handle something. Otherwise, I would still be in that position."

Latham added that the most significant impact employers can have on the younger generation is articulating how their work contributes to the company.

"The biggest [critique] I hear is that people don't feel connected to the mission or the vision of wherever they're working," Latham said. "They feel a little bit like a cog in the machine. That's another thing that could be done by the older generation: a sense of purpose. 'How is what I'm doing impacting the mission and vision of the company?'"

If you are a member of Gen Z and would like to discuss your experience in the manufacturing industry, please contact Nolan Beilstein at [email protected].

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