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Orchid Blog

An Employee's Hip Surgery: Tom Lockwood

Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017

Tom Lockwood is a Lean Site Leader at our Lansing, Michigan site. Tom grew up on a 10 acre farm next door to his grandparents’ 250 acre farm in Gregory, Michigan. “I enjoyed working on my grandparents’ farm and other farms in the community. My grandfather was a metallurgical scientist at the Ford Rouge Plant and taught me problem solving & machine repair on the farm.”

Unfortunately, at the age of 15, Tom started to feel a nagging pain in his hip. Little did he know that this pain would continue to drag out until he would hardly be able take a step without shooting pain. At this point, Tom was close to losing all mobility in his hips from pain. As Tom spoke about his diagnosis he said, “My hips were rubbing bone on bone, I also had a spur that was poking into the bone causing severe pain.” He recalled that after walking only 200 feet, he would need to sit down due to the pain. It was clear that something had to be done about the state Tom was in. Little did he know that he would have such a large part to play in his recovery.

Tom decided that is was time to do something about his hip, so he did his research and got connected with Dr. Creg Carpenter out of Chelsea, Michigan. During his visits Dr. Carpenter and Tom created a friendship over their common interests. It didn’t take the two long to find out that Tom makes the exact parts that Dr. Carpenter implants into his patients, specifically into Tom’s hip later that month. The tables had turned for Tom, he was no longer the one making the implants, but now he was on the operating table receiving the implant. 
Once the surgery was over, Tom remembers the hospital nurses helping him walk a full lap around the hospital floor. To Tom’s surprise, he could! Tom continued to improve and add steps to his new hip. Along with monitoring his physical activities, Tom is currently getting back to the activities that he had to put on hold from his hip pain. “I like to manufacture various wood working and welded items in my garage work shop. I also like to serve my community and church in leadership and equipping ministries.” Tom is also adding miles to his bike route and increasing his time back at work. Post-surgery, Tom has a changed outlook on his job, “Until I went through the experience I didn’t understand personally, the surgery helped me to gain enjoyment in coming to work”. 
Through this process, Tom was able to see just how valuable what he manufactured was. Today, Tom can ride his bike over 20 miles, walk all day without pain, and get back to the things he enjoys. Tom mentioned that he went to a concert a few months after surgery and discovered that now he has to mention that he’s a hip replacement or else he sets off the metal detector! 

Tom was able to see firsthand how important his role is at Orchid. Orchid’s purpose is to provide individuals the chance to live a better life, and because of people like Tom that is being achieved. When asked what Tom wanted other Orchid employees to take away from his story he said, “When you know that you’re impacting someone’s life and getting them back on their feet again it makes all the hard work worth it.”

View Tom's video interview! 

Tom Lockwood has been with Orchid for the past 5 years working at several different Orchid sites. Tom was nominated for “Newcomer of the Year” in 2009 as a part of the National Institute of Technologies. Tom’s strengths include strategic planning, process maximization, analytics, HR systems and layout for flow processing.