Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Empowering Leadership: Brad Bolin’s Approach to Team Success at Georgia-Pacific


Empowering Leadership: Brad Bolin’s Approach to Team Success at Georgia-Pacific
Brad Bolin, the operations director at the Georgia-Pacific corrugated facility in Waxahachie, Texas, may not officially be a coach, but his leadership style certainly reflects that of one. A devoted fan of college baseball, Brad often uses sports metaphors and emphasizes the importance of fostering the right kind of environment. He has even adopted a motto from the Arkansas Razorbacks baseball team, “Win as one team,” which is prominently displayed above the facility’s entrance.

This principle is central to Brad’s leadership approach. It’s not just about collaboration, but about shared victories and a unified vision to deliver exceptional value through the unique principles that define GP. As Brad puts it, “You can play as a team but still lose. So how do we keep improving together so that we can go farther and win as a team?”

Brad’s belief is that it all begins with humility, especially from him as a leader. This includes acknowledging when he lacks knowledge, as was the case when he first arrived in Waxahachie two years ago. His prior experience at GP was in consumer products, not packaging. He openly admits, “I don’t know how to make a box,” but sees this as an opportunity rather than a hindrance, as it allows him to lean on the expertise of others, like Terry Hill.

Terry, a 34-year veteran of the Waxahachie facility, has held numerous positions at the plant, including clamp driver, stacker operator, control room operator, maintenance coordinator, corrugator superintendent, and scheduler. His extensive experience and deep understanding of the facility have proven invaluable to Brad and the team.

Currently, Terry’s role as scheduler involves a lot of office work, liaising with customers, and ensuring their orders are accurately and promptly fulfilled. However, when there’s a problem with a piece of equipment on the floor, Brad knows he can rely on Terry for assistance.

Brad’s dedication to humility and encouraging respectful challenge also means that Terry and other employees are free to question decisions or offer alternative solutions to problems.

“Brad will let you challenge the process when you don’t agree,” said Terry. “Sometimes the conversations can get a little heated, but they’re always respectful, and the results are positive.”

Brad Bolin, the operations director at the Georgia-Pacific corrugated facility in Waxahachie, Texas, values the input of his team members as it helps him identify who has the necessary knowledge and unique advantage to help improve the plant in specific areas. For example, Terry’s extensive knowledge of all the machinery has enabled him to work on solutions to minimize waste. This approach results in a team where everyone contributes and collectively owns the solutions.

Brad aims for his team members to achieve self-actualization, which involves realizing their potential by contributing in a way that is meaningful to them and beneficial to the company. Upon his arrival in Waxahachie, he made an effort to understand what each person excelled at and enjoyed doing. He then, where appropriate, reassigned people to roles that better suited their skills and interests, thereby strengthening the team.

According to Brad, self-actualization also extends beyond the workplace. He encourages his employees to maintain a work-life balance that allows them to pursue their hobbies and interests outside of work, so they return to work motivated and energized.

For Terry, his passion lies in vintage Chevrolet C10 trucks. He owns a 1987 Chevy Silverado and organizes an annual truck show in Waxahachie called C10s in the Park. What started in 2015 as a small local event showcasing 60 trucks has grown into a national attraction featured on MAVTV and the MotorTrend+ series Shorty’s Dream Shop.

The 2023 show is expected to feature over 1,200 trucks from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, attracting an estimated 10,000 attendees. The event benefits local businesses and earned Terry and his wife, Becky, the 2022 Mabel Frame Award from the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes individuals who have positively impacted Waxahachie tourism.

By creating an environment where employees feel personally valued and are encouraged to pursue their passions, Brad has built a team that is continually improving and attracting and retaining top talent in Waxahachie and the surrounding area.
“The population of Ellis County is 212,000, but I don’t need 212,000 people,” Brad said. “I need 125 good employees with the right values and virtues and beliefs to be successful. And that’s our goal, to be the best place of employment in Ellis County.”