This is another installment in our Industry Insights series. Today, our 2014-2015 PSWE vice president is here to share her tips in the workforce.
“Hi PSWE! I’m Ashlee Janczak and I graduated from Purdue in May 2016 from Biomedical Engineering. Since then, I have been working for Norwood Medical as a Quality Engineer. Norwood Medical is a contract manufacturer for the medical device industry. We focus on process design, manufacturing, assembly, and packaging of orthopedic and minimally invasive surgical devices. I loved being a part of PSWE while I was at Purdue and want to share with you why I chose to work for a small private company.
There are many pros and cons for working for a small or large company but I just want to focus on three areas that were important to me when I was looking at both sized companies.
I would consider Norwood Medical a large, small company. We have around 1,000 employees and I know just about everyone thanks to a great orientation program (which I will touch more on in the next section). Norwood started out as a small, family run business and still maintains that culture today. Everyone in the company has been super friendly and will answer any one of my questions. But one of the most outstanding things is how much people care. I was in a small fender-bender at the beginning of the year over our lunch break and I can’t tell you how many people reached out and asked if I was okay and if there was anything they could do. People were willing to go out of their way to help and not just in this case. If there’s a document I need or something I can’t find someone will go out of their way to help me. Culture is so important. In my opinion it’s one of the biggest factors in whether or not you will enjoy your job. So it’s definitely something I considered when looking at different companies.
Training is one of those things I feel like it is always overlooked. It doesn’t appear to be as essential as it really is. Training can come in many different ways whether it’s through internal training, certificates, mentoring, or education programs. It doesn’t have to be a formal program; anything counts as long as you are learning. So make sure to ask about it when you’re interviewing. The first training I received at Norwood was their three month orientation program. I spent just over a week in every building working on the floor, in the labs, in the assembly rooms, with the IT department, and so on. I really got to see what made Norwood tick. It was such a neat experience to spend that time to meet everyone and get to know to company before starting my job as a quality engineer. And every day since that orientation program, I have relied on something that I learned during that training.
When I graduated, I wanted to make sure I had the opportunity to continue to learn. So when I was researching companies for full-time employment, I focused on companies with a variety of products and/or technologies. At Norwood, there are eight buildings and we are expanding. Each building has different capabilities and focuses including but not limited to CNC milling and turning, injection molding, laser making, etc. So every day I am learning more and more. It’s a lot of fun! So make sure to do a thorough job of researching companies, whether that’s through the internet, meeting recruiters at job fairs, getting to know an employee, or going an on-site tour.
These were just a few things that were important to me when I was job hunting. So remember, keep your options open. You never know where you’ll end up! Best of luck with your upcoming exams and finals PSWE!”