Thomas W. Schmidt | Books of My Life

Thomas W. Schmidt is a manufacturing veteran with many years of leadership in numerous local plants, including Barbco, Inc.; Harrison Paint; Heinemann Saw Co., and Georgia Pacific. At Barbco, he is the operations manager. While at Georgia Pacific, he led two ISO 9001 certifications, both resulting in “On The Spot” certifications, which occurs less than 2% of the time.

Thomas W. Schmidt is a manufacturing veteran with many years of leadership in numerous local plants, including Barbco, Inc.; Harrison Paint; Heinemann Saw Co., and Georgia Pacific. At Barbco, he is the operations manager. While at Georgia Pacific, he led two ISO 9001 certifications, both resulting in “On The Spot” certifications, which occurs less than 2% of the time. At the Heinemann Saw Co., he led four consecutive record-setting quarters and capital improvement projects in excess of $250,000. While at Harrison Paint, he saved the company from permanent bankruptcy enforced closure, returning 50 people to their well-paying manufacturing positions and maintaining the legacy of the company.

Schmidt is a long-time Canton resident with a B.A. from Kent State University (Summa Cum Laude), an MBA from the University of Akron (Cum Laude), holds APICS certification and is a Leadership Stark County graduate. He also is a passionate local business advocate and dedicated community volunteer.

While his community service and awards would be too exhaustive to list in their entirety, he has served two terms on both the Jackson Belden (board president) and Canton Regional Chambers of Commerce Boards of Directors. He is the past president and current treasurer of the National Sales and Marketing Executives of Akron Canton’s Board of Directors. Recent awards include the 2016 United Way of Greater Stark County Volunteer of the Year, the 2017 Canal Fulton Chamber Commerce Volunteer of the Year and the 2019 United Way of Greater Stark County Collaboration of the Year for his creation and leadership of Progress4TheCure, which has raised nearly $50,000 to equally benefit the breast cancer departments of Aultman Hospital and Mercy Medical Center.

Last fall, Schmidt was “knighted” as a Squire of Hope by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, recognizing his long history in raising both awareness and money in the fight against childhood cancer. Lastly, by mayoral proclamation, May 10th is officially “Tom Schmidt Day” in Massillon, in recognition of his decades of community service and charitable activities to make his community a great place to live, work and play.

What is the last book you read?
“Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin (351 pages, 2015). Powerful lessons and leadership tips from the battlefield and from America’s elite fighting men.

What is your guilty pleasure book?
Anything by Lilian Jackson Braun. Her “Cat Who…” series of light mystery novels is the epitome of guilty pleasure and reading purely for pleasure.

What book got you interested in your career?
“The Goal” by Eliyahu Goldratt (321 pages, 1984). By far, this is the most influential business book that I have ever read. The first time I read it, it was in one sitting. It is a business novel, which has been hugely impactful on my manufacturing operations career. Moreover, I have read it at least 25 times and learn something each and every time. In fact, I have trained my staffs at two different plants by reading this book and studying it. Lastly, I have given more than 80 copies away.

What is the last book that made you cry?
Actually, “The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star” by Nikki Sixx (540 pages, 2007). I read it over the Christmas holiday, and it is a powerfully intense and oftentimes very difficult read by a rock icon who bares his soul and inner demons.

Who is your favorite author and why?
In fiction, it is Rex Stout, the creator of the Nero Wolfe mystery series. His 74 stories stand the test of time and are definitely re-readable. Sometimes, I just settle into my easy chair and visit again with my friends: Nero Wolfe, the eccentric detective; Archie Goodwin, his quintessential man of action; Fritz Brenner, the major domo of the bastion at West 35th St; and, their NYC police foils, Lt. Cramer and Sgt. Stebbins. In nonfiction, it is of course Eli Goldratt and his entire series based upon the theory of constraints. It is a paradigm changer for anyone in operations.

What is next up on your reading list?
I plan to revisit both “Animal Farm” (112 pages, 1945) and “1984” by George Orwell (328 pages, 1949). I read these seminal books last in junior high, and I think they certainly merit a re-read.

What book have you read that you think the movie is better?
Because the casting of the movie is so spot on, I must say that the movie version of Tom Clancy’s “Hunt for Red October” (484 pages, 1984) is better than this truly outstanding book. Sean Connery is Captain Ramius! And to this day, I always have hanging in my office one of his famous quotes: “When he reached the New World, Cortez burned his ships. As a result, his men were well motivated …”

What book would you take to a deserted island?
“Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand (1395 pages, 1957). Although I have never actually read it, I guess I would have plenty of time on a deserted island to read and digest this hefty tome! I did buy a copy about six months ago; it presently sits on my shelf of “good intentions.” LOL

What book did you have the idea for, but somebody beat you to it?
In January, I finally got around to reading “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink (272 pages, 2009), which a dear friend had recommended that I read years ago. The whole time during the process of reading this book, I was highlighting, bookmarking and writing in the margins. This book captures in words how I manage, how I get things done and how I treat my teammates. Pink perfectly captures the game-changing paradigm “flow” as those exhilarating moments when we feel in control, full of purpose and in the zone.

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass