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Kendra Slis

Kendra Slis

Inside Sales Engineer, MECCO Marking and Traceability

What was your first job? Nonprofit Youth Program Manager

What do you do in your current role?

In my role as an Inside Sales Engineer with MECCO I manage active opportunities with hundreds of companies in the manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, electronics, fabrication, medical, oil, and gas industries by assisting them in finding the best solution for their part marking and traceability needs. I work directly with the customers where I help to uncover ways in which they can improve upon their current systems as well as implement new systems and methods for projects still in research and development phases, all while ensuring that the final solution is built to fit their wants and needs through personalized support and technical knowledge and expertise. Additionally, I work to uncover new trends in the industries through active research, recruiting, and networking with current and existing companies within our database so that our team can work together to identify gaps and research ways in which we can help them to improve upon and execute on a plan for growth and success.

How/why did you begin your career in manufacturing?

I was first drawn to manufacturing by the excitement of working in a fast paced, challenging, and ever evolving industry. Perhaps even more exciting to me was knowing that the future of manufacturing is still largely unwritten and that I could play an active role in developing that future and what manufacturing looks like for the next generation. I was specifically drawn to a career with MECCO because my current role allows me to work on different projects in multiple different industries all within one given workday. On any given day I could start off my morning assisting a client to perfect their laser mark that is going to provide valuable information on lifesaving medical equipment and by the afternoon I could shift to helping a client optimize their tracking and tracing system on their thousand-pound tractor that goes out in the field to harvest grains for people across the country.

What is your educational background?

I have a master’s degree in Engineering Management and a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering with a certificate in Nonprofit Leadership both from Robert Morris University. I am also a graduate of Greater Johnstown High School.

 

What do you like most about your current position and work you are doing in manufacturing? I love that in my current position each day is a new and exciting challenge where I can work with a wide variety of industries ranging from aerospace and electronics to medical and automotive. Nothing beats the feeling of knowing that the work I am doing each day is helping to contribute towards new and innovative projects that will help people and ultimately shape our future. Many of the companies that I interact with manufacture things that people use every day of their lives and I love that I can play a part in the process of delivering these products to the end user who could be anyone from my next-door neighbor to someone living halfway across the globe.

What is the biggest thing that surprised you about manufacturing when you started working in the industry?

When I started working in manufacturing one of the biggest things that surprised me about the industry was the fact that so many aspects of the manufacturing process largely go unnoticed by the public but without them, many parts of our daily lives would be near impossible. There is also a misconception that manufacturing is a dated industry that has not really changed much since it was first introduced. However, manufacturing has been at the forefront of emerging technologies such as 3D printing, robotics, lasers, and artificial intelligence since long before these things were part of our daily lives. Manufacturing also offers opportunities for travel throughout the United States and abroad as the needs the industry fills are universal.

What is your #1 piece of advice for young people to prepare for a successful future?

Take advantage of all opportunities in which you can network with people working in a field that you are considering pursuing. You will learn so much more about an industry or career by listening to someone else’s firsthand experiences than you will by just reading a third-party account or by simply just going off your preconceived notions of what a particular career might entail. You might discover a passion for an industry that you had never considered before or you might learn that a career path that you thought was right for you, may not be the best fit. Do not be afraid to ask questions and remember that the process of expanding your network never ends, so continue to seek out mentorship and networking opportunities throughout the entirety of your professional career and listen to people’s stories. And finally, remember that it is okay if the path you initially had planned out for yourself changes. After graduating with my degree in engineering, I expected to go directly into my chosen field of work; however, when an opportunity to give back to my community was presented to me, I had to say yes even though I knew it would be veering from the path I had planned for myself. Looking back, I know that it was the right decision as that experience allowed me to gain new perspectives and understandings that have positively impacted the way in which I am able to do my job today in the manufacturing industry.

Why should someone consider a career in manufacturing?

Someone should consider a career in manufacturing if they are interested in an exciting profession on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. If you want to play a direct role in changing and shaping the future for years to come, manufacturing is the industry for you!

What is something you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work I enjoy traveling to explore new cities, working out and staying active, volunteering, visiting theme parks, attending sporting events and concerts, listening to podcasts, and spending time with family and friends.

 

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