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issue: October 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

People
James Cika of Rheem Water Heaters


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James Cika began working at Rheem Manufacturing Company as a marketing manager in December 2004 after serving as an engineering manager for 4 years at Rinnai America Corporation. Currently, his most pressing individual challenge is to successfully make the transition from engineering manager to marketing manager. Cika hopes to position his business unit to meet future growth expectations.
His responsibilities at the Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.-based company include the development, management and profitable growth of the business activities classified under the Specialty Products category. Such products include water heater parts, solar water heating and instantaneous (tankless) water heaters.
“This position is responsible for the establishment of overall business objectives and strategies for this category,” says Cika. “In addition, the position is responsible for all marketing components, including marketing strategies, product requirements, pricing strategies and marketing communications pertaining to specialty products.”
Maintaining open communication with employees is central to his management style. He respects the ideas and views of his employees and supports the decisions they make. This helps generate a teamwork atmosphere.
Cika enjoys working on a team at an international level. “The ability to work with a diverse team of individuals from other countries and cultures—working through our differences to successfully achieve our project goals—is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job,” he says.
Participating in the United Way Loaned Executive Program, Cika learned a valuable lesson and reached a turning point in his career. It was through this experience that he realized the value of public speaking to convey personal experiences and ideas to others. It motivated him to overcome his fear of public speaking, which had previously prevented him from progressing further in both his personal life and career. He was responsible for running the United Way Campaign for 40 to 50 companies and made approximately 100 speaking appearances for groups ranging from 10 to 150 people. He says, “The coaching I received throughout the process, along with the teamwork and camaraderie from the other Loaned Executives in the program, helped me to overcome my fears and feel comfortable in front of the crowds.”
Cika received a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. He then began his career as an HVAC design engineer for Tolson, Simpson and Associates in Norcross, Georgia, U.S. He moved on to hold several positions at Atlanta Gas Light Company ranging from engineer, level 1 for the R&D Laboratory to senior liaison for DOT Highway Liaison Department. Cika worked for Rinnai, in Peachtree City, Georgia, U.S., as the engineering services manager from July 2000 to December 2004.
Throughout his career, an ongoing challenge has been balancing faith and family with his and his wife’s career goals. He and his wife overcame this challenge by placing their faith first, followed by family and then their careers.
When Cika is not hard at work, he enjoys relaxing at home by the pool, vacationing with family and going to the movies. His hobbies include computers, golf and fixing broken household appliances.

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