I first learned about Yaskawa many years ago when my father sold for one of the company’s brand labelling partners. I was pretty young, but meeting sales and engineering associates then got me excited. I grew up thinking that a sales career was a natural path for me.
After deciding to pursue an ME degree from Auburn University, my next course of action was to enter a co-op program. The companies that I found seemed like they would assign me to one project that I didn’t feel would impact the company any longer than I was there. When I found out about the Yaskawa co-op program I was presented with people that expressed a genuine interest in tailoring the program to fit my needs as well as their own.
I could see Yaskawa would give me the tools to make a lasting impact on the company. That was the icing on the cake that confirmed this was the co-op for me. Through this experience I wanted to learn as much as possible about what it means to be a Yaskawa associate by working under a variety of groups in the Drives Division.
With the ultimate goal of sales in mind, my first semester of the co-op experience (Summer 2018) was with our Applications Engineering Department. While there I had the opportunity to work with incredibly knowledgeable engineers. They were more than willing to mentor and help me understand how our drives are implemented in various applications all over the world.
Not only did I learn about problems our customers were having and how our drives could solve them, but I was also allowed to interact with customers on my own. I learned firsthand how they viewed Yaskawa and why they chose our drive over other brands.
In addition to working the phones and talking to our customers about their applications, I was given the opportunity to work in our labs alongside our engineering team to test the capabilities of our newest drive, the GA800 series. Both experiences gave me a comfort level with our drives that will serve me well in the field, should I make it that far.
In my second (Fall 2019) and now third and final (Winter 2019) co-op semesters, I’ve been fortunate to work with our very talented Product Management team in helping with the launch of the GA800. And, with the pending introductions of two more drive families, I have been able to get “up close and personal” in understanding all the time, effort and work that goes on behind the scenes to launch a new product line. I have spent most of my time while in Product Management helping to develop the demo cases that our field sales team (including channel partners) use to promote our drives to Yaskawa’s customers and prospects.
My first full year in the co-op program has absolutely flown by. I’ve learned so much about drive technology and what it takes to both support existing drives AND launch new products. I’ve also gained insight as to how to function as a team player in the corporate environment and to interact with people on a professional level. By participating as a co-op student with Yaskawa I’ve jumpstarted my post-college work life in a way that most college graduates must learn once they are well into their first job experience.
Through all my interactions with the varied departments and people within Yaskawa, I now think of many of them as friends rather than just co-workers. I feel very lucky to have worked with all the incredible associates and friends who have shared their time and talents in allowing me the opportunity to participate in this program – I would recommend this path to any college student who asks about my experience.
Good Luck, Ethan!
We’re going to miss you when you leave next month. You’ll always be part of the Yaskawa Family.