Associate Spotlight: Kris Rothe
Project Manager, Kris Rothe
Kris Rothe, TICF Project Manager, is a fantastic example of someone who has developed his career by recognizing and acting on opportunities. With a degree in technology management, he eagerly joined the workforce as a technical support coordinator. In 2008, on his very first day on the job, the stock market crashed.
With his employer in crisis mode, Kris saw that there were more ways to apply his knowledge and skills. He applied for and was hired into a project management position at the same company only six months later. He quickly discovered the benefits of this type of role, which has allowed him to apply his skillsets to diverse companies and a range of corporate cultures. Over the past 13 years he has worked in various fields such as higher education, health care, and telecom—and now in captive finance at Toyota Industries Commercial Finance (TICF).
In 2017, Kris was recruited by Jim Jordan, a former colleague who became the senior manager of the Project Management Office at TICF. While Kris hadn’t been looking for a change, he knew—when Jim invited him for an interview—the value of exploring an open door, and became intrigued by what he heard about the position and TICF. However, he walked away unsure about the offer because it was a contract position, not full employment. Another interviewer noticed Kris’s hesitation. “She assured me that the role was a blank canvas, and I had the freedom to build something,” Kris recalls. That cemented the deal. “After all,” he says, “how often would I have the chance to do that anywhere, much less at a company with the stature of Toyota?”
As someone who embraces structure and routine, Kris appreciates the emphasis Toyota puts on planning and process. He also finds that the company’s core values contribute to the positive environment. Two values that particularly resonate with him are Be Practical, “I manage a lot of budgets and treat them like they’re my own,” he says, and Be Faithful to Your Duties, “That’s central to my character. I think of myself as a hard worker, a value that was instilled in me at home and at young age.”
Kris also appreciates the fact that his coworkers embody these values in their daily activity. “I’ve worked in places where you have to micromanage and follow up, but at TICF it’s apparent that associates are devoted to their jobs and demonstrate it day in, day out.” It’s a workplace he is proud to describe to potential candidates who frequently ask what’s great about working here. He can say with certainty that everyone here is all-in. “Sometimes I have to rein people in with their enthusiasm,” he says with a chuckle.
At TICF it’s apparent that associates are devoted to their jobs and demonstrate it day in, day out.”
This shared dedication is key to success; as Kris likes to say, “Project management is a team sport.” His group reviews colleagues’ ideas and strategically decides which ones to pursue. “We then transform them into workable solutions as instruments of change to drive results,” he explains.
We then transform them into workable solutions as instruments of change to drive results.”