R&D, LED, CAD, PCB, SAP – these would make great lyrics for a rap song. But they actually pretty much sum up what Alice Chang’s job is all about. She is a CAD Services Engineering Manager at Osram Sylvania in Wilmington, MA. CAD stands for computer-aided design, and her team belongs to the R&D department under Digital Systems, a business dedicated to solid-state lighting products. She and her team help colleagues in all the R&D groups to do their job more efficiently.
Alice heads a team of twelve people. The team is a mix of mechanical engineers, PCB (printed circuit board) layout designers and process analysts. Half of her team is located in the US, the other half in Mexico. “My team is very diverse,” Alice explains. “I have both men and women on my team. People come from different countries such as Russia, the Philippines and Mexico. They have different educational and professional backgrounds.”
Engineers and analysts
The PCB layout designers support electrical engineers by reviewing their schematic designs and then lay out components according to the OSRAM guidelines to ensure consistency and manufacturability. Then there are the mechanical engineers who design and develop things from driver enclosures to light engine housings. “My team also includes process analysts. As they are experts when it comes to SAP and business processes, they ensure everyone maintains a good documentation structure by offering training and assistance.”
Consistency is key
Documentation is an important task in a company like OSRAM Sylvania. There are many brains in numerous departments involved in the life cycle of any product. One of Alice's most important jobs is to make sure that they all use SAP for documentation purposes and that everybody does it in a consistent and correct way. She and her team see to it that R&D, production and marketing are all producing documentation that can be found and understood by everyone else in the company. “It's quite a challenge in a company with such a broad portfolio.”
Communicator and mediator
Engineering principles and communication skills are what Alice needs most in her job. ”Since we support various departments and groups, I find myself involved in a lot of cross-functional discussions,” she says. Diplomacy also comes in handy. ”I try to maintain an open conversation and encourage people to share their perspectives. Rarely do we encounter a situation where a solution is perfectly clear-cut. In almost every case we need to focus on pros and cons of various alternatives and in the end, everyone has to agree on a balanced solution as a team. Sometimes the discussion can become difficult and very complicated. But it's also extremely rewarding when an agreement is reached.”
“Work is like a second home to me.”
A love of Italian food and arts
There are many sides to Alice in her private life. “I have a very wide range of interests, like playing the violin and the piano. I have a penchant for math, physics, Star Wars and video games. But I also enjoy being outdoors, playing volleyball or going on bike rides with my husband and our two boys who are five and nine.” She likes to travel, too. Italy is one of her favorite countries: “I love their food, the architecture and the arts.” Japan is another favorite of hers. “There're many wonderful countries around the world but every time I visited Japan, I just felt right at home.”
“Work is like a second home to me,” says Taiwan-born Alice. “I am committed to my team and I want the company to succeed. I work really hard, but I don't mind that because there is a lot coming back. I get very positive feedback from my team and my colleagues. Everybody has been wonderful to me and I value the trust and recognition they have given me. I couldn't imagine a better place to work.”
Light is my challenge.
This is where courage meets sincerity.
That's how we advance technology.