Navigating the world of international business, holding a responsible position in a Japanese-owned company and keeping up with a teenage son isn’t exactly a piece of cake for Annette Edgington. . . but she does make it look easy.
Edgington ’93, M’03, was a guest speaker in Dr. Maria Gamba’s International Trade and Economics class on April 14. Her topic, “Managing in a Global Environment,” pretty much describes her role at GSW, a Japanese-owned company in Findlay. As senior manager of business planning, Edgington likes the variety of her job, which has included selecting a site for a branch in Mexico, and overseeing the renovation of Japan West, a restaurant in downtown Findlay.
“Working and traveling when you have a child isn’t easy, but it’s do-able,” Edgington added. “Of course, it helps when you have a spouse who steps in. Women should think about that when deciding whom to marry,” she laughed.
Edgington travelled almost continuously for eight months when her son was 13. She feels that her job and travel have contributed to making him an independent, soon-to-be college student.
Married young, Edgington and her husband moved to Findlay from Maine while he was still in the Navy. They returned to Ohio to be closer to family and for more job opportunities.
“I worked as a manager at McDonald’s and started on a bachelor’s degree in accounting at UF part time,” she recalled.
After graduation, she took a position as a cost accountant at W.C. Woods. It was around that time that she heard from a former professor.
“Professor Doug Asbury contacted me and said that GSW was looking for an accounting supervisor. They were using an accounting firm and wanted someone in-house,” Edgington remembered.
GSW, located in Findlay’s Industrial Park, hired her and she became the company’s first female manager. (GSW manufactures and distributes wire harnesses for the automotive industry.) She remembers working the floor for her first week, learning everything she could about the business. She was also willing to take on just about any task her managers suggested.
“I credit GSW with letting me explore whatever my interests are,” she added. “You can’t manage only in your own backyard. Sometimes you have to see and try new things.”
A UF Education – Worth It!
Realizing the importance of an advanced degree, Edgington returned to UF to pursue a Master of Science in Business Administration (MBA). Eight months pregnant when she began the program, she laughs that she used to read her marketing textbook to her infant son.
She feels that she received a good foundation in accounting and finance “basics” in her undergraduate classes. Earning her MBA made her feel more well rounded and polished. Her graduate classes gave her a much deeper knowledge of business law and international business.
“You really learn just about every corporate function in the MBA program at Findlay,” she emphasized. “I am so thankful for this education every day, since I need to work in areas like engineering, IT, and international accounting.”
As a senior manager, Edgington continues to work long hours, but now feels like she has some flexibility in her schedule. She even thinks about earning another degree. Is there a doctorate in her future?
“I don’t know,” she smiled. “Maybe someday.”