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Story Contributors: Jessie Barnes

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY AT NORTH SAILS

Introducing Jessie Barnes, Building One Supervisor

In celebration of International Women’s Day, North Sails is proud to introduce Jessie Barnes. Barnes stands out in the Minden manufacturing facility for her passion for creating something unique not found anywhere else in the world, and role as a leader.

Jessie Barnes joined the Minden, NV team right out of high school. She heard about a job as North Sails films operator through friends and relatives and was intrigued about the idea of building sails in the desert, so she decided to give it a shot. Nineteen years later, she’s at the epicenter of Building One, where 3Di sails are molded and shipped out across the world. As the Building One Supervisor, Barnes is responsible for keeping three shifts on schedule and meeting shipping dates.

Barnes’s role has evolved throughout the years, because of innovations that moved production from 3DL to 3Di. She gets to be involved in all parts of production but works closest with the gantry and molding team. Each day is different, and even when working through the occasional production or employee challenge, she never hesitates to lend her employees an extra hand.

“Jessie runs a tight ship with the least amount of employee turnover of any department. We are trying to find out her management secret.” – Per Andersson, 3D General Manager, Minden, NV

“The Minden facility is great for long term employees because their knowledge and experience is essential to our process,” Jessie adds. “New employees have tons of opportunity for growth. In Minden, women fill many leadership roles and positions. I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many great people across the world in my time here.”


In her role, Barnes manages 25 people over three shifts and the daily production schedule, finalized each Thursday. When Jessie arrives at work, she oversees an in-depth debrief with the graveyard shift before rolling into a morning brief with the new shift. At this time, she reviews company-related briefings on safety or other topics, as well as a prioritized list of the Building One tasks to complete that day.

Making the molding to shipping process seamless is Barnes’s goal, and her prioritizing and skills in efficiency play a considerable role in the operations in Building One. She often is tasked with temporarily reassigning operators to other departments and helps avoid back up during the steps of production. “Meeting production deadlines and throughput requirements is tough, but we make it work,” she says. “Communication must be 110% because it’s a ripple effect when something is missed—it’s not just one shift affected, it’s all three, which could be many, many sails.”

Minden is responsible for molding some of the largest and highest performance sails in the world. Sometimes the sails are too large to move by hand and must be transported by a crane with 10,000 lbs load capacity. “When a sail comes off the mold and has all the hardware added, they are just massive.”

“North Sails is proof that a company’s greatest asset is the people it keeps.”

Jessie’s team is diverse, and she says everyone brings their own set of skills to the table. “I feel that each team member is focused on building quality sails, and they enjoy working together.”
Juggling individual personalities is the hardest, but also the best part of her job. “Communication is key. Everyone needs a clear understanding, so we can all collaborate and work together effectively.”

“I get to work with so many people throughout three shifts each day;” she says, “And we are all working towards one common goal –to build the best sails in the world.”

Jessie has plenty of great memories from her history with North Sails. One that sticks out the most is the implementation of 3D production in Sri Lanka. “Training and working alongside that team and having the opportunity to experience an entirely different culture and workplace is something I will never forget. The Sri Lanka team came to Minden first, and then I got to go there a few years later—an awesome experience.”

“North Sails technology has come so far from the older technology [3DL string sails] we use to build,” she says. “Our company is all about continuously improving to advance and stay competitive. Each day we are working to improve our sail building processes, testing the highest quality materials with the latest technology to ensure we provide our clients with the most premier product on the market.”

“I took this job because the company is unique, and the work is true craftsmanship. To me, the coolest part of this job is that we build incredible sails in a very small city here in the desert, and we can ship them all over the world.”