How long have you been at DENSO?
What do you do?
As the Director of Product Design Engineering, I lead three teams including Manufacturing Product Design, Supplier Engineering, and Mold Design Engineering responsible for both HVAC and ECM Products. One of the unique aspects of this role is that these three groups support all TAC facilities and work closely with each other to support the development of TAC Products.
Manufacturing Product Design issues product designs from DNJP, supports ECI implementation, and is responsible for the development of Design For Manufacturing (DFM).
Supplier Engineering supports the development of new manufacturing processes at suppliers, localization of products, and the Design For Manufacturing.
Mold Design Engineering is responsible for the development and procurement of injection molds used to make our larger HVAC and ECM components. Injection molding is a process used to make plastic parts that many of us use every day, even things such as Lego’s. Injection molded parts in DMMI’s products include HVAC cases, radiator tanks, and cooling fans.
What’s the most interesting part of your job?
We get to see vehicles in their infancy and then watch them grow up. From the very earliest stages of design, we see cars develop through concept, quotation, prototyping – all the way to the troubleshooting mass production issues and potentially warranty improvements.
Our PDE Team was reorganized in 2017 to focus on Design For Manufacturing which is also very interesting. In product design, kaizen—continuous improvement by many small changes—can be too late. We need foresight during the design and development process to implement changes before the product is manufactured. Our biggest challenge is in making the product easier to manufacture and doing it during the design phase. It’s a big change for DENSO that we’re working on across North America.
What important lesson(s) have you learned in your career at DENSO?
I think the biggest thing is reflecting on what they do and don’t teach you in school. I pursued a really good education—a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from University of Cincinnati, an MBA from Western Michigan University—but what they don’t teach you in school is that people are your most important asset. Company A and Company B can have same facilities, same technology, but it’s the people that make it happen. The company that focuses on people is the company that will succeed.
My management philosophy is servant leadership. I believe that I’m here to help the individuals on our team that are doing the work. I’m not here to manage them, I’m here to help lead them to be successful. If I do my job well, they won’t need me anymore.
What advice would you give to an associate who wants to advance their career—either through a management path or as an individual contributor?
Take ownership for your future. Every job in this company is important. You need to find the one that will provide you with the motivation to succeed. When you find the right job, success will follow. What drives you to succeed is what you enjoy. No one will hand that to you. You have to find it.
What is your fantasy job?
Tell us something that people may not know about you.
I’m actually at my best when my feet are not on the ground. My passion for the last 20 years has been flying, both hot air balloons and single engine aircraft. I’m also certified to inspect and repair Lighter-Than-Air aircraft.