Since then, she has moved around a few times within Nefab and is currently a Senior Engineering Project Manager for Nefab Americas at the regional headquarters in Dallas, US.
Ashely is from Wuhan, China and started with us at our Shanghai office in 2006.
Can you tell us about your current situation and day-to-day work?
Every day presents new challenges as an Engineering Project Manager. I work on various projects, designing unique solutions for many products from a wide variety of customers.
Most of time, the projects are not straightforward, so there is a need for coordination and communication with multiple functions/teams to move projects forward, control the progress and troubleshoot complications.
I have daily communication with the global teams for some of our biggest customers. I am also constantly working with the local team in Dallas and provide support with designing solutions for new customer products, as well as solving customers’ existing packaging issues.
What skills do you find as needed to be a good Engineering Project Manager at Nefab?
Most importantly, I find that good communicative skills are a must. The job requires you to interact a lot with people in various departments and from different parts of the world. I interact both with colleagues and external parties, like customers and suppliers.
Obviously, you need to have project management skills, such as ability facilitate meetings, trainings and coordinate various tasks at the same time. Also, you need to be strong technically and have a great understanding for different materials, test standards, and many more.
As with all positions in the company, you believe in the products we offer, enjoy the company’s culture and share the its values.
What motivates you the most in your work?
The diversity and challenges that keep me learning new things all the time! There is a constant need for self-development to match changed needs or new requirements. You must be on your toes and you are never bored, as Nefab is constantly growing, expanding its customer base and bringing in new team members to teach and learn from!
What characterizes Nefab?
I have worked in 3 different locations in Nefab and I have visited several offices around the world; each place has its own atmosphere of course, but there are some common things. My general feeling is that Nefab is flexible, challenging and fast-paced but also very supportive. The work is done with professionalism and humility. The vibe is very energetic and dynamic, and I truly enjoy this.
Can you tell us about your journey at Nefab?
Back in 2006, I graduated from university and was searching for companies in the packaging industry. approach to packaging was a welcome surprise, as they were one of few companies that focused on complete packaging solutions. Also, the company culture stood out from the others I had contact with. I am glad I decided to accept offer back then!
So, after some years working in China I decided to move to San Jose in the US. I spent some years there before I moved to Nefab Americas headquarters in Dallas. This required me to restart my life, find new friends and get to know the city. I got great support from my colleagues in Dallas, so the relocation wasn’t too hard in the end. I am very grateful for both the opportunity to move and the support I was given!
So, you must have friends all around the world now?
Well, not from all around the world, but many different places. It is great that through work, I experience the beauty of diversity in language, food and culture from around the world!
Do you have an example of a cultural clash?
The biggest clash I have experienced is related to language and differences in how we communicate. In China, when we request something, you can be quite straightforward without the need to ask for something in the form of a question. In the US, it is more important to be polite and use words such as “please, help, thank you,” and ask questions.
Another difference is how working hard can be perceived differently. In China, it is considered as admirable that you isolate yourself to completely focus, and not work as a team or spend time chit-chatting. In the US, you are still expected to spend time interacting with your colleagues even though the workload is high. I have learned to balance this now!
What are your thoughts about the future?
As for right now, I am excited about my current position, it allows me to understand the local market, culture and ways of working here in the US. For the next coming years, I see myself taking on more managerial responsibilities and developing further as a leader. I am also excited about the continued business expansion and growth as I am sure this will bring on more interesting challenges in the future!