When friends and family ask Haley Ferer what she does for a living, she jokingly says “I put sinks into boxes.” While that’s technically true, her impact is much greater.
As a project packaging engineer, Ferer develops, tests, and implements packaging solutions for new and existing products. She is also the sustainability champion for Kohler Co.’s Kitchen & Bath packaging department, where she works with other functions to look holistically at product-packaging systems to make decisions which will have the lowest environmental impact.
“Sustainability is embedded in our role as packaging engineers,” explains Ferer, who has worked at Kohler for three years. “We design packaging systems to minimize negative environmental impacts and ensure the product is delivered to the customer free of damage the first time.”
Getting products to the customer in perfect condition the first time eliminates the need to manufacture and ship replacement products—ultimately reducing greenhouse gas, water, waste, and toxicity impacts.
She is also very interested in the tiny house movement and would like to explore more about that lifestyle and how Kohler can be a leader in providing solutions for tiny homes.
Ferer’s interest in sustainable manufacturing is what brought her to Kohler.
“Kohler’s commitment to sustainability impressed me,” she says. “I minored in environmental and sustainability studies, so I was excited to build on that and have the opportunity to make a positive impact in my career.”
And what an impact she is making. She was recently part of an engineering team that collaborated to add quality metrics to their sustainability impact analysis for new product development projects. This change helps the team to anticipate and make good decisions early in the development process as they relate to sustainability and the total cost to the business.
So, what’s next for Ferer?
“I’d like to help inspire people to make behavioral changes that can lower their environmental footprint. I’m far from perfect, but I really do think about my decisions every day and how they impact the planet.”