City beat - Business life of Kathy Brown, P&G plant manager

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

By Emily Viers ~

Kathy Brown knows about diapers, paper towels, toothpaste and soap.

She knows about managing this area's largest company too.

At Procter and Gamble, she directs 1,500 employees in the manufacture of these products every day.

The manager of the Cape Girardeau plant is also a hard-working wife and mother.

Mrs. Brown has worked for Procter & Gamble for more than 24 years. She has been plant manager here for more than five years. She has traveled all over the world for her job, from Cincinnati to South America, and even Poland. She has lived in some interesting places.

"I started out in Augusta, Ga., went to Winterhaven, Fla., and then came to Cape Girardeau." she said. She and her family have lived in Cape for 10 years and love it here.

Does she like her job?

"Very much so. I'm proud of it and think it's full of great people," she said.

Procter & Gamble is a maker of consumer products. As plant manager, Mrs. Brown has to oversee the operation of the company here in Cape Girardeau. She looks over rates of income, talks to the employees and makes sure that everything is up, running and safe.

The local plant makes everything from Pampers diapers, paper towels and Crest toothpaste to Oil of Olay, peanut butter and soap. P&G has been in Cape Girardeau for more than 30 years as a successful business. In Cape Girardeau alone, there are 1,500 employees and 10,000 worldwide.

Mrs. Brown said, "Cape is a good place for P&G because it has a good work ethic, good employees, good attitudes and is in a good location for businesses."

She said Cape Girardeau is a supportive community.

"In my opinion, the best thing about running a business is working with people, watching the company grow, learn and contribute," she commented.

Luckily, she has never been faced with any discrimination as a business woman in her company.

The only problem she has had is sometimes being underestimated for being a woman. Whenever she works directly with anyone, they realize she knows what she's doing and is capable of getting the job done.

Her biggest challenge on a daily basis is getting everything done that she'd like to accomplish. The biggest challenge overall is making the right decisions for the business to grow over time.

"P&G got lucky when it came to the Sept. 11 incident," Mrs. Brown said. "We were only hurt in short-term ways.

"At first, the borders were shut down, so shipments couldn't be made. But they were soon reopened. One of the biggest problems though was that with people losing their jobs, they didn't have as much money to spend on the luxury items from P&G, and there wasn't as much stock," the plant manager said.

Mrs. Brown loves her family very much. Her husband, Rick, teaches science and math at Deer Creek Academy. They have two daughters: one is in college at Notre Dame, and the other is in school at Cape Girardeau Junior High.

Her family is proud of her position in the business and is very patient about how much time she has to spend at the office, which is usually around 45 to 50 hour a week. "They are very understanding and helpful by doing chores around the house," she said.

Some people may wonder: isn't it hard to be a mother, wife and business woman all at once? "It's a matter of setting priorities. Even when I am kept very busy, my family always comes first."

Viers is a student at Schultz School. This article was written as a class assignment.

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