For two decades, Pete Goldsmith’s professional life has centered on engineering, specifically how to help improve factory operations, introduce new products into an assembly line or arrange to fit a new product into an established footprint.
“All of my focus has been on manufacturing operations and operations improvement,” he said.
Put simply, Pete solves problems. He solves supply chain issues, which usually manifest as very high inventory. He helps business leaders introduce a new product, which is a pretty obvious problem when you win a new contract and have to figure out how to fit the extra work into your current, full, factory. And he improves operations for people wondering how on earth they’re doing millions in revenue annually and yet barely breaking even.
“They know something’s not right, but they don’t know what,” he said.
Pete was born and raised in Southwest Ontario, Canada. His interest in things that move was obvious from an early age.
“I dismantled and rebuilt everything in my house,” said Pete. “I was always into tinkering around. I loved to help my dad work on projects around the house, I loved to help my mom cook. Anything I could work on with my hands was a fun project.”
In high school, Pete took advantage of anything related to engineering, then selected a college based on its robust engineering program. Students at the University of Waterloo participated in paid internships that provided a real-world introduction and hands-on experience in various applications.
“The engineering program is really structured,” he said. “There’s not a lot of choice. Once you pick a field — things that move, things that stand still, computers, dirt — once you pick a theme, all your courses are picked for you.”
Pete picked things that move, so his classes included things like race car design, aircraft design, machine design and a lot of theoretical training. His internships centered on high-volume manufacturing and heavy machinery design in different industries including auto, pharmaceuticals and heavy machinery. The experience was fun, but while most students took a full-time job with one of the companies they interned with, Pete decided to apply to a position in a land far, far away.
Pete applied to a job in the United States, then immigrated and headed to Austin, Texas to complete the interview process. It went well until the very last part of the hiring process, when they finally asked whether he was a U.S. citizen. It turned out this was a requirement for the job, because it involved a military project.
“I thought it was obvious at first,” said Pete, “since they had recruited me from a Canadian university, but that wasn’t so.”
So, Pete found himself unexpectedly unemployed 2,500 miles from home. He learned about a company in Seattle that needed someone to build heavy machines, so he headed to the Pacific Northwest. He soon discovered the company was actually in the business of building airplane factories, not heavy machines, but that interested him enough to stick around.
“I was in Seattle for four weeks before they moved me England,” he said.
The company’s intention had been to send Pete over just until they found the right full-time person for the job. After two months, they were so pleased with his work that they ceased the search and left him to it.
This job was a huge challenge.
“The job in England was something no new college grad should have been put in charge of, but I was. I ran a staff of 250 and managed a $100 million construction site, as well as suppliers around the world. It was a trial by fire.”
The final product was a half-mile-long, quarter-mile-wide, four-story-tall machine that turned sheets of aluminum into wings for the A380 aircraft.
“It’s the biggest machine I’ve ever built,” said Pete. “It was a lot of fun, and it was a great opportunity to travel around the United Kingdom.”
Over the next five years, Pete would design a factory, move to wherever it was going to be built in order to oversee the process to completion, then repeat the whole process again in a new location. He lived in a multitude of places, “none of them glamorous,”.
After about five years, the company asked him to start bouncing back and forth between Japan and Australia. Weary of the constant travel, Pete decided to settle down. He joined a series of different Seattle-based companies that each made parts or equipment for airplanes. Each new role, however, required still more travel. Every other week he was traveling, at one stage visiting 35 locations around the globe. Eventually, he reached a point where he needed to try something new.
“I joke with people that I’ve moved to Seattle five times, so I think I’m supposed to be here," said Pete.
Pete settled down in the Pacific Northwest and helped start a company manufacturing supersonic business jets. He had a hard time keeping the momentum necessary to raise the billions of dollars required before producing a single aircraft, so he turned his attention to creating carbon fiber materials. This was going well until a certain pandemic hit. COVID-19 shut down his partners, his customers and his fledgling business.
It was around this time that a friend told Pete about OneAccord and introduced him to John Kaminski.
“I reached out to John and had a great call, and that led to a call with Jeff, which led to calls with a couple other guys,” said Pete. “Everything I heard made me want to learn more.”
Pete joined the team as a Principal in August, pleased with the options and opportunities he had discovered.
“It really appealed to me, because people are coming to OneAccord for help. When they start going to me for help, it’ll be the stuff I like doing, and it’s the stuff I really get excited about — fixing factories and supply chains and making things run better.”
Putting Down Roots
Pete has been married since 2010, and he and his wife have three kids, ages 8, 6 and 4. While he still likes the idea of traveling, he’s content to stay put while his kids grow up.
In his spare time, Pete skis and camps with his family, and perfects multiple barbecue and open-flame cooking techniques.
“If it involves cooking something over a fire, I’m your guy,” he said.