For Eric Taylor, Georgia Tech’s Professional Master’s in Manufacturing Leadership (PMML) program elevated his professional value and opened his eyes to a new take on management -- part of what he sees as a continual journey.
Taylor grew up in Southern Mississippi. While he wasn’t the first member of his family to attend college, he would prove the first to graduate -- following a period of adjustment.
“I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do after high school,” Taylor said. “I was looking at just going to work, but I did well on the ACT, so I was given a full ride to the University of Mississippi. I spent a couple of years there. I had some issues and lost that scholarship, so I went to work.”
When Taylor returned to college, it was at the University of West Alabama, and on his own dime. He worked two jobs to pay his way through school and earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science. An internship with the chemical company, ECC International, led to a full-time job after graduation.
“I spent the next roughly 20 years in the pulp and paper industry, initially with chemical companies and eventually working for paper companies," Taylor said. "And you know, I guess I grew to a point in my life that I started to realize that a life of learning is important, and that it’s the only way to grow and develop.”
With this mindset, Taylor learned as much as he could about the paper industry. While working for the corrugated packaging company, WestRock, he also began to explore leadership and personal development opportunities. When a WestRock regional vice president suggested Georgia Tech’s PMML program, it opened an entirely new chapter in his life and career.