Our People at Automotive
IF WE WEREN'T INVENTING IT HERE, WE'D BE INVENTING IT IN OUR GARAGE.
What does The GameChanger Award mean to you?
“The name would suggest it’s to make a difference in the company, so that’s what it means to me, to make a difference.” When you are nominated by 9 different individuals, I would say you’re making a very big difference indeed.
Josef Turlej, Senior Design Engineer,, began his career with Panasonic 7 years ago. He started working on the Chrysler switches projects roughly 3 years ago and has gone from quoting the projects all the way to production. Now he can say his designs are in steering wheel switches, ASBM/TSBM terrain switch modules and more. Josef has been going into the Peachtree City office most days since the shutdown began, and while he spends a lot of time in meetings, he enjoys engaging with those he’s working with in Engineering and other departments.
Josef moved toMassachusetts from Poland 30 years ago along with his wife, Bozena.After working as a design engineer on controls for diesel engines, he moved to Georgia to take a job with a startup in Peachtree City designing hybrid fuel systems. A few years later PASA got lucky and was able to snatch him up and bring him on board, along with his talent and drive.
Josef always wanted to be an engineer, even as a young child. “My parents wanted me to be a doctor, my older sister was a doctor. But I was adamant and went to engineering school. Whether I made a good choice, I don’t know, but that was my dream from the beginning”. A dream for Josef, but maybe not so much for his sister. “Electrical current fascinated me, I caused a lot of trouble when I was very young, experimenting with electricity, occasionally accidentally shocking my sister.” Well, at least he didn’t burn anything down, right? Wrong. “I burned down the Christmas Tree”. Oops Josef.
When Josef is not working, he and his wife enjoy working in their yard or traveling locally to Savannah or to the beach in Florida. Together they have 3 children; 2 boys who are living in Poland, one as a Doctor and the other a Software Engineer. And their daughter lives with them and is currently studying medicine. Once he retires, they would like to travel to Ancient Rome and Greece, as well as visit relatives in Europe.
“I’ve been working for many years at other companies, I think Panasonic is the best. I like the culture, there are a lot of good people around, people to learn from and to work with. I have always been drawn to electrical engineering. I love working on these new projects where you can design things, put your stamp on it. That gives me a lot of satisfaction, knowing my designs are going to be in thousands of cars all over the world. “
One thing Josef has NOT done, is sing karaoke. To his co-workers, you have some work to do. And we’ll need proof.
To Josef, who was nominated by more than 9 separate individuals to be our Game Changer, thank you for all you do. “I kept a low profile and did my work, I didn’t think it would be elevated to status of Game Changer award, so yes, I was definitely surprised.”
Keep it up Josef! You may keep a low profile, but people are noticing. And you ARE making a difference.
Mark Carroll, Sr. MCAD, became a PASA employee in January 2012 after working with Sanyo for 7 years. After just a 30-minute conversation, I learned we are very lucky to have him!
Mark was nominated for the Game Changer Award by several people for his passion, drive and ability to turn a months-long project around in just a few weeks. If Mark had not stepped in when he did, GM would not have been able to launch their vehicle on time. Yikes. After daily meetings with the Chief Engineer of GM Powertrain checking in on his progress, he was able to create, submit and be an integral part of the launching of a vehicle. I mean, no pressure, right?
“I’m MCAD, I’m supposed to sit in front of a computer all day and that’s about it.”
And yet, while he was with Sanyo, he was was in fact a PM who had already launched 2 vehicles, so obviously he was the perfect choice for this challenge.
Who is this Mark guy? I certainly did not know him until all this hoopla happened! So, I called to chat with him. Who is this elusive and mysterious person who can achieve such a stunt? Mark Carroll, that's who. “I do not do what I do for self-gratification. My goal has always been to have the company succeed so we can continue supporting our OEM’s.” Mark also believes “With company success comes personal success , and I truly mean it.”
As it turns out, he’s not that elusive and mysterious with a ton of killer quotes. He's just a very nice hard-working and committed guy who lives in Michigan with his wife of 34 years, Jodi, and their dog Kaline.
In high school, Mark took mechanical drawing classes and really enjoyed it. During his senior year he had the opportunity to work in a shop creating drawings and loved it. Fast forward a decade or so later and Mark is designing face plates, switches, cameras and many other fun things. “I’ve always called myself a jack of all trades. Quite frankly, I’m not really a car person. I enjoy when you see something that looks nice; I appreciate it and I like to be a part of that.”
ark and Jodi have 3 grown children. Their 27-year-old son lives in Memphis and is a professional soccer player who is getting married in August. He has 25-year-old twins, a son and daughter, who both live in Michigan. Mark enjoys golfing but doesn’t get out as much as he’d like to. Although when he does, he happens to beat his brother who plays in a league.
When I asked him how he’s been spending time during the pandemic, other than working, he paused for a moment then commented “Well, my lawn has never looked nicer.” Although he had planned on walking the dog every day, that didn’t happen. I think everyone can relate to that! They do plan on taking some time, long weekends, to travel and watch their son play soccer.
All in all, Mark is outgoing and fun to chat with. If you haven’t had the chance, reach out and congratulate him on a job well done! Let me wrap this up with another of his amazing quotes.
“When I found out I had been nominated, and then named the winner, I was more than surprised and a little emotional. People like me, Sr. MCAD’s, do not typically win awards like this. We are the grunts that sit in front of our computers every day designing 3D math models and creating 2D drawings.”
Mark – you are more than that to PASA.
YOU ARE A GAME CHANGER.
And we thank you for that.
As you know, our Asian employees are facing many racial issues and potentially hate crimes. Do you have any personal challenges you could speak about, and how you have overcome, or are working to overcome those challenges? Any experiences or insight you may have might help our other Asian employees and expats through this scary time.
When I came to the United States, I felt very welcomed and my impression was that this country was accepting of many cultures and people. I interacted with American students and students of different nationalities throughout my college years. I started noticing that some people judged me or other ethnic groups of students based on our appearance and for not speaking English fluently. I have been treated differently on several occasions in the last 20 years; however, until I recently, I never felt that my life was at risk. Last summer, a middle aged man started shouting at me and my daughter while we were driving a golf cart in Peachtree city. This year, when my family visited a state park in Newnan, an elderly woman started staring at me and my daughter in the parking lot as soon as we got out of the car. I greeted her but she gave me a very nasty look (like we were carrying germs) instead of responding “Hello”. Those two incidents were my most uncomfortable and unforgettable experiences. I never thought that people would show hostility towards me because I am Asian.
As you may know, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by nearly 150% in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some people truly believe that Asians brought Covid-19 to this country and social media has helped to spread anti-Asian sentiment. We have many anti-Asian cases all over the United States and many of the victims were elderly or female who are often less able to defend themselves. This is just bullying driven by anti-Asian bias. Everyone has unconscious biases about certain social groups which is human nature and not avoidable; however, this does not excuse scapegoating or violence. We really need to prevent this behavior now so that it will not affect our community and our children in the future.
I would encourage everyone to reach out to peers and provide emotional support as needed. If you are worried about anti-Asian harassment, I would recommend that you review Hollaback!’s strategies (https://www.ihollaback.org/bystander-resources/) so that you can respond to harassment if it happens. Your own safety is the #1 goal and if you are experiencing a threating situation, I would strongly recommend that you run from the situation and get help.
The United States has a long history of multiculturalism and has admitted refuges from more than 60 countries which means that many ethnic groups must coexist. Everyone should be proud of where they come from and we should not tolerate racism.
How to respond to anti-Asian hate Hollaback! , a nonprofit created to end harassment in all forms, offers online training sessions on how to exercise bystander intervention tactics in response to anti-Asian violence. https://www.ihollaback.org/harassmenttraining/
“The most amazing thing to me about Panasonic is they’ve managed to stay in business over 100 years, in technology! The breadth of different products they make is impressive. “
You know what else is impressive? Paul Joyce.
Paul and his wife of 30 years (this month!) Sue, moved to Georgia in 2015, albeit a very circuitous route. While working for Motorola in England, he became involved with a project in the USA, and was invited to Florida. While there, The Gulf War started. Literally. Paul was unable to travel home and ended up staying in Florida for 6 weeks and surprisingly enjoyed his time there. He casually mentioned to his boss that he wouldn’t mind working in Florida, and his boss took him up on it. In 1992 Paul and Sue moved to Florida and started their tour of the U.S. They went from Florida to Texas and eventually to New Hampshire where he worked with Bose from 2004-2015.
In 2015 he received a call from Panasonic and, as they say, the rest is history. He and his wife moved to balmy Georgia from the chilly North East and now live in Woolsey which is about 15 minutes from the Peachtree City office. A town of about 200.
Paul didn’t always want to work with electronics, he wanted to design cars. As a child he was always drawing different car designs, coming up with new concepts. But his father persuaded him to go into electronics, and Paul discovered audio is where his passion lay. “People driving in their vehicles really want to listen to good music, I like that I’m able to contribute to that experience”.
During these past few months, not only did Paul build a mini lab in his basement where he could continue to work, but he also was able to work on his other passions; cars and motorcycles. This self-professed Gear Head (his words not mine!) has a collection of 5 vintage motorcycles and 3 older cars he works on when he gets a chance. His dad was a mechanic and Paul can build a car from the ground up and knows all the ins and outs. He literally built a motorcycle from scratch!
When not in a pandemic, Paul and his wife really enjoy traveling and have been to Germany, Ireland, Wales, Mustique, Gran Canaria, Nova Scotia, Austria and Las Vegas. I know, it sounds funny lumping Las Vegas in with such exotic destinations, but he did meet Olivia Newton John and was able to hang out with her backstage after one of her concerts. (Pictures or it didn’t happen! He has pictures!) Did I mention they also stayed in the VonTrapps home and rode the same bicycle paths as they did in the film The Sound of Music? I mean come on Paul. Engineer by day, world traveler by night!
After speaking with Paul, it is clear why he won this quarter’s Game Changer Award. He is changing the game not only for PASA, but for his team as well. “I like being a mentor and helping my team through this hard time. We all need to be positive to get through this”.
Well said Paul, well said.
When she’s not hanging out with Pablo Escobar’s family, (true story, but we’ll get back to that-I want you to read every word) C’Chi Payne works in Advanced Engineering/Product Planning as a Project Lead.
Born in Tulsa, OK, C’Chi and her family moved to Montgomery, AL in the early 90’s where she attended Brewbaker Technology Magnet High. There she was asked by her Science teacher to go home one weekend and “figure out what my passions were, and what I wanted to be when I grew up.” But she already knew. She loved cars, and C’Chi wanted to be an Engineer. So she attended University of Alabama and graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. From there she interned at Faurceia, then worked at Honda for 4 years, and joined PASA in January of 2017. Starting out as a quality engineer for the Honda team, she was given the opportunity to work in Advanced engineering and is now a Project Lead.
What she loves most about Panasonic is “the culture and the diversity”. She went on to say “Panasonic is very flexible with promoting work life balance. Even if you are working on a hard task for example, it doesn’t feel overwhelming to where you can’t have a life outside of work. The opportunities to grow, where we can move to a different department, doesn’t have to be tied to our previous department. The opportunity to expand our skillsets, we can do that within PASA without having to go elsewhere.”
When she’s not busy being an engineer, C’Chi likes to travel, her favorite being Brazil and Paris. She was hoping to get out to Italy in April where some of her relatives live, but had to postpone due to the pandemic. C’Chi likes to read and is currently reading Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. She received this book as a gift from the speaker of a seminar she attended last year called “The Millionaire Mind Intensive” (I think I need to get some tips from C’Chi!) C’Chi does some acting on the side, takes acting classes, goes to commercial auditions, and is very involved in crypto currency and block chain technology. (I learned a LOT during this conversation).
C’Chi has been spending her time these last few months’ video chatting with her family, taking online courses, reading and exercising. When she’s not studying block chain technology, she does watch Netflix and is a huge fan of the John Wick series. Her Netflix faves are: The 100, Money Heist, Colony, and All American.
And now for what you’ve been waiting for... In April of 2018 C’Chi and her friend went to Colombia and learned their tour guide was a relative of Pablo Escobar. In seeing the fascination on C’Chi’s face, the tour guide made a call to Robert, Pablo’s brother. So naturally, Robert and some nieces and nephews came down and met C’Chi and her friend, and they hung out, as you would with Pablo’s fam. I can’t get into the rest for fear of divulging too much. (just kidding).
We ended our conversation with a couple of C’Chi’s favorite quotes. Being a huge Tony Robbins fan, “Life is not about surviving, life is about thriving” really resonates with her. And then Kobe Bryant: “Everything that happens to us that we see as negative, for instance pressure or challenges, all of that is an opportunity for us to rise higher”
Well C’Chi, I would say you are doing exactly that. And what happens in Colombia, stays in Colombia.
I spoke with Donna Scott to ask her what it was like going to the office everyday while the majority of us work from home. There was definitely an audible pause, and then she said “Weird”. She went on to say “I miss the people; I miss the interactions”. She’s been working on projects she’s never had to think of before; business critical retrievals from the building, health checks, ventilation systems, removing chairs from conference rooms in order to maintain social distancing (and ensure the mischievous employees don’t have a place to sit when they try to break the rules).
As we continued to chat the conversation took a turn. Unbeknownst to me, Donna has had personal tragedy as a result of the Pandemic, a lot of it. Her life has been personally touched, challenged, and devastated by COVID-19. Now when she walks into the building, she’s not just going to work, she’s working to protect others. “I want to make sure people do not go through what I have gone through. It’s terrifying”.
As we get Ready to Return, Donna is ensuring we can return to a safe environment. She will talk to you about your mask if you are wearing it improperly, and she will also tell you which restroom you can and cannot use. She will have signs posted on how to proceed through the building safely, and our ventilation system will be providing better air quality. “Because of the personal impact this has had on me, I’m going to do everything I can to ensure people follow protocol”.
Out of the few employees going to work onsite every day, I found it quite omniscient that I chose Donna to speak with. Her personal connection to the Pandemic made her the perfect person to speak with, and I feel grateful knowing she is working daily to prepare the building for her co-workers, so we can return to a safe environment.
I had the honor of speaking to Christine who was one of those nominated to receive the Game Changer award. That right there should tell you a little something about this person, she is on her game. I learned that she actually started as a contractor in Accounting with Panasonic 9 years ago, and through dedication and hard work was chosen to work in Customer Care. She works closely with the sales teams to determine what orders are coming in, what inventory we have, and what needs to be done to get the shipments where they need to be. She said her main focus is to protect Panasonic, their interests, and the Customers. Not just the OE’s but the people out on the roads, driving cars with Panasonic Product.
She loves working for Panasonic because, although it is cheesy (her words not mine) she loves the people she works with. She spoke so highly of the Honda and Toyota Sales team, and said “Panasonic and the people who work at Panasonic have no issue pulling together to get something done.”
Asked her what her fellow employees would be surprised to learn about her and she said she hates being the center of attention, which is why she tends to push her other co-workers into the limelight. Her secret is out.
After learning that, this became even more fun so I threw the following questions at her:
If you could learn to do anything what would it be?“Fly”. She’s not talking about an airplane, or parachuting. She really wants to be able to Fly. I think that’s a very lofty goal. Which cartoon character would you most like to switch lives with?Ana from Frozen What is your favorite movie?Pride and PrejudiceIf a movie was made about you, who would you want to play you?Keira Knightley (good choice)What was the first concert you attended?Poison (Rock on Christine!)If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?Jesus AND Mary (and she doesn’t just want to ask about how the dinosaurs fit in, as I suggested).
And just one more thing that I felt deserved its own paragraph. You know when you used to see the advertisements to win a free vacation, and you’d fill out the slip of paper with your information and put it in the box? You would never win the vacation, but guess who would use that information you eagerly gave out to call and try to sell you something? Christine.
I have to say, we laughed during this conversation more than anything, and the passion Christine has for her work, her co-workers and for Panasonic truly is a Game-Changer. If you ever get the chance to meet Christine, believe me when I say, you will be glad you did.
You know when you work somewhere every day, and you speak to the same people day in, day out, but you don’t really know them? I thought it would be fun to work on this Employee Spotlight and try to get to really know different employees. People we see in the halls every day, work with every day, but never really speak with. So, my first victim was Paul Schultz. I’ve seen Paul for the past 4 years walking down the hall with his gym bag in hand, shared a few pleasantries, even worked on a few projects together. But I’ve never really spoken to him. So, for my new re-vamped “get to know you” Employee Spotlight, I thought he would be the perfect candidate. And I was right!
First I asked him a few serious questions about his work and his passions. He loves to run (he’s run the Boston Marathon 3 times), he’s a self-professed gym rat, and he enjoys volunteering for non-profits. When he sees a chasm between Government programs and smaller organizations, where there’s a real need, he likes to fill that gap, and those are the charities he chooses to focus on.
As for his career, he’s been with Panasonic for 17 years simply because “Someone believed in me”. He went on to say he appreciates Panasonic because he likes the people and our products, as well as our tenacity. He feels Panasonic is tenacious: We win because we get knocked down but keep getting up again. He also thinks it takes tenacity to be successful at Panasonic. Everything is constantly changing and he feels you need to find your own place within the organization. He’s worked in Quality as well as Corporate Planning, Product Planning, has worked with Advanced Engineering and Accounting, and is now the Director of Purchasing. I would say Paul is the Poster child for tenacity!
Now for the fun part. Well for me at least.
What would you do for a Job if you weren’t doing this? Teach Excel Power QueryAny favorite line from a movie?Anything from the MatrixIf you could learn to do anything, what would it be?o Speak ChineseWhat is one thing you can’t resist?CookiesWhere is your favorite place?The MountainsIf you won the Lottery, what is the first thing you would do?Pass money out to my familyWhere is your favorite place?The MountainsWhen you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?Go for a run or watch YouTube Videos on runningWhere did you grow up?Mid-WestWhat’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?Running (Is anyone sensing a theme here?)If you could be any cartoon character, what would it be?SpongebobIf a movie was made about you, who would you want to play you?Keanu ReevesMotto or personal Mantra?Keep Learning, Keep ContributingWhat is the first concert you attended?Punk Bank Husker DuIf you could meet anyone living or dead, who would it be?Thomas Jefferson, he could do everything.
Peachtree City What is your favorite part about your job? The opportunity to learn from seasoned engineers, and the freedom to apply that new knowledge towards designs.What makes Panasonic a great place to work? The people. My team is cohesive and comprised of a great group of guys, with different backgrounds and expertise.What's your favorite Panasonic moment? The response I received from my peers when they found out I had become a permanent member of the team.What's one interesting fact about Panasonic that people might not know? Panasonic is an industry leader in the automotive infotainment space.
Group Manager, Talent Solutions What is your favorite part about your job? I'm challenged -- in many aspects -- causing me to learn and grow every day.Describe the training and advancement opportunities available to you. Too many. I've never seen a company so willing to sponsor employee training and development. It's almost as easy as 1) thinking of the area in which you'd like training 2) asking 3) you're in training. Can't beat that.What do you think it takes to be successful at Panasonic? Resilience and tenacity. You have to love the product that you're either innovating or helping to support in innovation. Passion goes a long way here.How would you best describe a Panasonic person? In a few words: resilient, best in class, company-oriented, ROCKSTARSWhy did you choose Panasonic? I really believe in our product and continue to be proud of the many talented and diverse teams responsible for creating the products. Also, the decision to join became pretty easy when I witnessed how committed Panasonic is to both the internal and surrounding community. It's good to be part of a company that caresWhat are some of the challenges you enjoy most? Stretch goals that make me uncomfortable and help me be a better industry professional, manager, and contributor.Describe the relationships you've built with your co-workers. They've become family.
Peachtree City, GA, USA, GA, US What is your favorite part about your job? The people!What makes Panasonic a great place to work? Definitely the people here are a big part of it. But, the company is evolving and always striving to be better and to provide the best culture and experience for every employee. How would you best describe a Panasonic person? Someone who is passionate about making a difference, a team player, open-minded with a positive attitude.How do you describe your work to your friends and family? I love that I have the opportunity to help people start their career with such an amazing company.Describe the relationships you've built with your co-workers. My favorite thing about Panasonic is the people I get to work with everyday. They have become like family and make my job so much fun!
Peachtree City What is your favorite part about your job? Working with new technologies and integrating them into our production programs.What do you think it takes to be successful at Panasonic? A lot of self-motivation. What's your favorite Panasonic moment? When we launched the first global radio program. That was a lot of work and we got a lot of recognition for it. What are some of the challenges you enjoy most? Learning new things. I get inspired by the “deep end”.
The Engineer we are spotlighting today never misses the show Blacklist on Netflix (it’s so intriguing!), owns 20-30 pairs of shoes (but only wears 2 of them), is a vegetarian and loves salad (although she does think it’s ok to eat animal crackers), and would like to be able to eliminate poverty and inequality.
She started with Panasonic as a contractor, working as an Onsite Program Manager for a contract company supervising all the contractors and projects on site. Then, as a PASA direct employee, she worked on the GM CCR project and eventually took responsibility of the Ford Head Unit Development. “This enriched my experience and abilities as an Engineering Manager because it gave me exposure to Supplier Management and 3rd party deliverables.” It gave her the wisdom to deal with technical challenges.
The best part of her job is when the customer managers would come to her and say “Veni” (oh no I just gave it away!) “what do you think the issue is? Is it a hardware or software issue?”. Then they would take her response, and act on it. It made her feel empowered.
She loves a good challenge, and that is one of the many things that motivates her to come to work every day. She likes to take the challenge head-on, find the solution, and move-on. (Inspirational, right?)
Even though her favorite cartoon is Tom & Jerry, and Scooby Doo is obviously superior, I had the great honor to speak with Veni Kumar. She has worked with Panasonic in different capacities for 13 years, and continues to be an amazing contributor and individual.
Christy Wallace, Communications Specialist
Our highlight today is on Patrick Hanslits, Scott Siegel and Andrew Bianchi who are co-inventors of the Universal Dock, which was awarded U.S. Patent No. 10,427,618 in October of 2019.
A bit of history:
While working on the Portal project, they wanted to be able to swap out screens and bring in tablets, phones etc.to test in the cars.
The only problem was they didn’t have a way to mount this equipment in the vehicles.
Together, the three of them built and designed a Universal Dock which has 3 purposes:
- A Secure Place to Mount a Device;
- Data Connection to the Vehicle; and
- Gives power to the device
Scott (who closely identifies with a seagull) grew up drawing steam engines and figuring out how they would work. While he didn’t know it at the time, he was destined to be a Mechanical Designer.
Patrick (aka: Coyote) similarly was unaware he wanted to become an Engineer. He liked to draw mechanisms and build things. While he currently dreams of his next life as a Rally driver, he makes an excellent Engineering Manager.
Andrew ( spirit animal: Sea Turtle) grew up dreaming of being a Pilot. Well. Panasonic is very lucky he decided to be an Industrial Designer instead since Scott described his design ability as being second to none.
Congratulations to these three who saw a problem, and had the courage to find a solution.
Happy Inventors Day!
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