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Winning Voices: Timothy Chatlos, Senior Manager of Public Affairs & Communication at Georgia-Pacific LLC

Winning Voices: Timothy Chatlos, Senior Manager of Public Affairs & Communication at Georgia-Pacific LLC

Each week, JWMI profiles students and alumni in its new featured series “Winning Voices.” Learn about our diverse community and what sets our program apart from those who have experienced it. For more great “Winning Voices” content, click here.

Timothy Chatlos
Senior Manager – Public Affairs and Communications, Building Products Division
Georgia-Pacific LLC

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES.

I oversee the communication and public affairs for Georgia-Pacific’s Building Products division. This division represents 9,500 employees making up our Building Products Group as a leading producer of building products with diversified business manufacturing plywood, Oriented Strand Board, engineered wood products, lumber, gypsum, and chemicals. In this role, I’m responsible for building an understanding of and engagement with the business vision among internal and external audiences for the building products division. I advise and work with key business and trade media to promote the division to the crucial customer and consumer audiences.

I am responsible for developing a communication strategy that encompasses areas such as safety, labor, and community engagement to advance the company’s reputation. I provide thought leadership and executive-level communications to the board and division leaders to ensure compliance with intellectual property, antitrust, and regulatory and legislative concerns. I also monitor public sector issues, collaborating with cross-functional teams to coordinate communications efforts.

WHY WERE YOU LOOKING TO GET AN MBA?

I am responsible for developing a communication strategy that encompasses areas such as safety, labor, and community engagement to advance the company’s reputation. I provide thought leadership and executive-level communications to the board and division leaders to ensure compliance with intellectual property, antitrust, and regulatory and legislative concerns. I also monitor public sector issues, collaborating with cross-functional teams to coordinate communications efforts.

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HOW HAS THE JWMI CURRICULUM HELPED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?

I left active duty in the U.S. Army three and a half years ago to pursue public affairs opportunities in the civilian world. When I started this program, I was working at one of our smaller mills in Choctaw County, Alabama. While pursuing my MBA from JWMI, I received two promotions. My company moved me to Virginia where I oversaw public affairs, communications and advised mill leadership on community and government relations for mills in Virginia and West Virginia. I later moved to our headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia to start a position as the Director of Communications and Public Affairs for Georgia-Pacific’s Building Products Division.

Going from one small southern mill to leading communications and public affairs for a division of 9,500 employees and more than 65 manufacturing facilities across the globe is a huge win. I attribute much of that success to the concepts and leadership practices I learned at JWMI.

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AS A VETERAN, WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS IN THE MILITARY LOOKING TO TRANSITION OUT TO CIVILIAN LIFE?

Many companies are devoting resources to hiring newly separated military, but you must do something to set yourself apart from the crowd. It is not enough to have years of military training on your resume; you need to show companies that you have institutional knowledge along with your practical knowledge. I am a member of a newly formed human resources team at my company to recruit, coach and mentor new military veterans who are transitioning to civilian life and the workforce. I encourage all separating military to reach out to these mentor programs as an essential tool for transitioning into a civilian career.

DID YOU FIND THE CURRICULUM WAS IMMEDIATELY APPLICABLE?

For members of our military, online collegiate programs are a vital tool in the pursuit of higher education. I received my Bachelors, Masters, and MBA all online from global institutions. I am grateful that we live in a time where one can receive a quality education online resulting in a respected degree. I often tell people who are debating whether an online program carries the same weight as a degree on campus, that it was online education which allowed me to achieve my associate degree from a respected public university while deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Many people don’t realize this, but distance education has been used by military members to receive collegiate education dating back to World War II.

My experience with the online program at JWMI was fantastic. This is easily the best program in which I have attended. From the accessibility of professors to the online sessions with Jack Welch, no other MBA program sets their students up for success as much as JWMI. Regardless of whether you attend class on campus or online, you will not see the level of access to top executives from the world of business as you do in the Jack Welch Management Institute program.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE IN THE PROGRAM?

One of the most rewarding experiences from this program was getting the opportunity to use the Six-Sigma principles and practices I learned during the Operations Management class. I was able to take one of the papers I wrote on finding efficiencies in the storing and loading of goods on rail cars and bring my idea to leadership who used portions of my plan. This collaborative effort cut back the rail charges adding money back to our bottom line.

HOW DID YOU NAVIGATE JOB, FAMILY, AND WORK? WHAT STRATEGIES DID YOU IMPLEMENT TO GET IT DONE?

Navigating the balance between work, school, and family requires a great amount of effort. The best way to be successful is to set aside fixed times every week dedicated to school and devoted to family. This schedule will allow you to set aside an expectation for yourself and your family that you are committed to giving your full attention to each.

PLEASE SHARE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW STUDENTS EMBARKING ON THE MBA JOURNEY.

You will get as much or as little out of this program as you give. There will be times when you feel overwhelmed, and you want to take a step back from your pursuit, but if you persevere, you will be rewarded. Those that push when times are toughest will not only gain an MBA but also the realization that there is nothing they can’t accomplish if they work hard enough.

Connect with Timothy Chatlos on Linkedin

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