Sylvie Hyman, Account Application Engineer, Wurth
Engineering Degree: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, University: University of Florida
I am originally from South Florida and attended the University of Florida from 2013 to 2017. I majored in mechanical engineering and was involved in various organizations such as UF’s Machine Intelligence Lab and Team Florida Cycling. After graduating, I relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota to work for Cummins as a design engineer. My main function was to be the primary contact for engineering related issues on the manufacturing line for generators with engine displacements of 50 to 95 liters. After a year and a half, I got to do a six-month rotation in plant quality. The main difference between this role and my design engineer role was that I had to deal with all manufacturing issues, not just engineering issues. I really enjoyed the faster pace of work and high level of trust from my superiors that I had as a quality engineer and sorely missed these aspects when my six months were up. Once I returned to design engineering, I tried for some time to make things work, but eventually made the difficult decision to seek opportunities outside of Cummins. This worked out very well since it allowed me to relocate to join my fiancé in Cleveland, OH where we will soon move into a new (to us) house with our rambunctious pit bull and one-eyed cat. I am very excited to be supporting Würth as an account application engineer and look forward to bringing value to both Würth and the MTD account.
Talk about the culture of your company. What makes it inclusive or supportive of women in engineering and automation?
Since I’ve only been with Würth for three weeks now, it is not possible that I fully understand the company culture here, especially with social distancing, but so far everyone has been very friendly and welcoming. It really seems like everyone is friends despite our being a team that stretches across over half of the country. I haven’t had a chance to meet many other women at Würth yet, but I am very pleased that many of the new hires on my team are women. I look forward to meeting them once it is safe to do so.
Describe a recent company project (in which you were involved) that went particularly well. How did you and your team go about ensuring success?
One of the last projects I had before leaving my last company was to implement a reusable racking system for the production and transportation of very large tubes since the previous “system” resulted in high risk of injury for the supplier and frequently damaged parts being received by our plant. The project required cross-functional engagement as well as supplier cooperation to develop a solution that was acceptable for everyone. The key to success was clearly defining requirements, making sure that each participant understood what was being asked from them, and holding everyone accountable for their tasks. Having a good plan in the beginning made the whole project less stressful, especially when we started hitting roadblocks in the home stretch.
What first drew you to engineering and this industry?
Growing up I always excelled in math and science. Like most people I preferred doing things, I was good at. Before college, my family always pushed me towards the medical field, but once I got to school I realized that my mind works better for understanding concepts over facts and I gravitated toward the engineering coursework and extracurricular activities over the pre-med ones.
Describe your biggest career challenge. How did you solve it — or what was the outcome or lesson learned?
So far, the biggest challenge in my career was realizing that it was time for a change and then making that change. When I first started at my previous company I thought that I would work there for the rest of my career. For the first 2 years I was learning a lot and struggling to keep up with the work being asked of me. I am someone who works best under pressure so for me, this was ideal. After a while though, I started to find myself stuck in a routine and not really being challenged. I tried for a while to seek out opportunities where I would be challenged, but still able to bring value to the company, and kept falling short. By the time I realized it was time to move on from that company, there was a global pandemic that made finding a new place to work much more challenging. I also had the guilt of millions of people being laid off while I still had a steady income working remotely. After months of job searching and many rejections, ghostings, and being told that positions were no longer being offered due to the pandemic, I finally landed an offer with Würth and decided to accept. So far, I am very happy with the decision. It is cool to see that my mentors with 30+ years in the industry are still learning new things almost every day.
What career advice would you give to your younger self?
If I could tell anything to my younger self, I would tell her how valuable she is despite her inexperience. I’ve always pushed myself to be the best at everything and thought I had to have vast knowledge or experience in a subject to bring any value. I now realize that all experience is built upon and you can never be 100% prepared for situations in life, but it’s rare for life to throw you anything that you can’t handle.