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.
Priya Patel What advice would you give to someone applying to a job in your department? Our company is true on the mission, vision, and core principles and behaviors. We are looking for employees that are a great culture fit and are not only able to apply but also instill those core values within their work ethic. What makes Panasonic a great place to work? What makes Panasonic a great place to work is that it's always striving to be the best place to work. They offer countless opportunities to the employees whether it's leadership, learning and development or even engagement. What do you think it takes to be successful at Panasonic? Passion – If you have passion in what you're doing, you're going to want to continue to work even harder to make it a better place to work.How do you describe your work to your friends and family? The best place to work, of course!Describe Panasonic in just one word. Adaptable
Tony Branch What makes Panasonic a great place to work? It feels like I can make an impact, it never becomes mundane. There is always something to do at PASA, other opportunities. It is a great place to growWhat do you think it takes to be successful at Panasonic? You need to have resilience, patience, commitment and a strong sense of teamwork. If you want to be in the front of the line, you need to put yourself there.
Justin Bonacci What is your favorite part about your job? Directly contributing to the continued growth and evolution of an awesome team. Each hire makes us better, faster, smarter, and more capable. What advice would you give to someone applying to a job in your department? Embrace hard work and creativity. Our department functions like a team, we all support and make each other better every day. What makes Panasonic a great place to work? Panasonic Automotive runs on innovation and collaboration across individuals and departments. It's refreshing and encouraging to know that your ideas can readily be heard throughout the organization and that you have the ability to learn from everyone around you, regardless of their role or department. Describe the career growth path you've taken at Panasonic. Through trust and leadership from those that guide our team, I've been able to expand my role and interact with all areas of our business. That exposure has allowed me to focus on the areas within my skillset that promote the most growth.Describe the training and advancement opportunities available to you. From lunch-and-learns and break-out thought excercises to actual prepared online learning - the opportunity to advance understanding is always available. What is your working style like? I like to segment larger objectives by setting many short term goals. It has helped me ultimately take on larger projects and responsibilities. Describe the relationships you've built with your co-workers. I don't have co-workers I have a team, and that team is family.
Stephen Childs What is your favorite part about your job? The people. We spend so much of our day at work so who you are surrounded by has a dramatic influence on your attitude and motivation and we have some great people at PASA.What do you think it takes to be successful at Panasonic? Passion and Drive. As Panasonic Automotive grows at such a rapid pace, it is critical that the people who work for us have a passion for what they do and a drive to move things forward at a pace that isn't for the faint of heart.What led you to your current role at Panasonic? Hard work, a desire to contribute at a higher level and a company and environment that rewards both of those. What's one interesting fact about Panasonic that people might not know? The Panasonic brand name was created in 1955 by Panasonic's first US Employee Ray Gates. The Brand was first used as a brand for audio speakers. It is now the Global Brand.
Tisha Percival What is your favorite part about your job? Receiving the applause/recognition for a job well done as a team.What advice would you give to someone applying to a job in your department? The advice I would give to someone that is interested in applying for a job in my department is that if you are not a team player…don't apply.What do you think it takes to be successful at Panasonic? I believe it takes never assuming, but always asking pertinent questions to be successful here at Panasonic.
Gunjan Talsania What advice would you give to someone applying to a job in your department? This is your career changing opportunity. Show the passion. Show the attitude and cash-in on your experience. See you soon working with us!What is a typical day like for you at Panasonic? Working with the Technology, Planning and Managing the Project, Testing in the car. Pretty Busy day, but can have for some relaxing time at cafeteria or trying some ping pong in the evening.What led you to your current role at Panasonic? I started working with Panasonic in 2011 as a Software Engineer for Audio. I was the first person on the Audio team and wrote 1st line of code for the Audio domain for the project, and was also responsible for the board bring-up of Audio Processor. The team grew fast with multiple projects were completed, and in 2013 I became the Team Lead for the Audio domain leading 12 engineers. Now it is 2015 and I am the SW Lead, responsible for planning the entire project, which includes 12 Domains. That is the growth you get at Panasonic!!!How do you describe your work to your friends and family? Nowadays, Music is a passion, GPS is necessary as a guide and the phone is also a necessity, We merge them together to make a complete Infotainment system for the car. In your car, the audio you listen to, the quality you feel, the route you set or how you call your friend -- we make that, both the software as well as the hardware.What's your favorite Panasonic moment? Endless Learning, Meeting Smart People and working for exciting Infotainment technology.Describe the relationships you've built with your co-workers. Friendship, Trust and Respect. I have made 100's of friend (literally !!!). I've made friends while working with them or playing Ping Pong/cricket/soccer/volleyball or during company events/picnics, Panasonic Dragon Boat Race, 5K run, etc. Some of those friends are just like family. And I truly have a lot of respect for all of the genius people working here (I call them "scientist"). Sheer Talent and Brilliance.
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.
Rachel Guerrero What is your favorite part about your job? The people. Whether we realize it or not, we give each other energy. We can influence their mood as much as they influence ours. We spend so much time together; it is important that everyone keep each other positive and engaged to be highly productive.What advice would you give to someone applying to a job in your department? There is lots to learn! It'll be challenging to learn fast but fast is necessary. It's an opportunity to test your own limits!What is your working style like? I can work solo but prefer to be part of a highly active team. More minds working in the same direction can build enthusiasm!How do you describe your work to your friends and family? I work hard because I love it. The people, the products, the sense of accomplishment when we deliver.Describe Panasonic in just one word. Forward What's your favorite Panasonic moment? Seeing a group of people work tirelessly to deliver something (a product concept, a strategy, any specific output) and get that look of accomplishment on their face!
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.
Daniel Akins What do you think it takes to be successful at Panasonic? To be successful at Panasonic you have to be devoted to your job, willing to learn, work with personal pride, and work well as a team.How would you best describe a Panasonic person? Panasonic employees are positive, hard-working people who look forward to challenges. Why did you choose 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? I chose Panasonic so that I could work with a company that is stable for my family, challenging for me, innovative in the market, and influential to consumers. Why 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 cares! What are some of the challenges you enjoy most? Learning the job and getting “up to speed” is an enjoyable challenge. It is also a strong positive for me because I know that I will never be bored or stagnant. What's one interesting fact about Panasonic that people might not know? There is a mountain bike trail that is connected to the Peachtree City facility.
Peter Mocker What makes Panasonic a great place to work? Panasonic Automotive has the feel of a small, neighborhood company while having the perks and relevancy of a large corporation. People seem to know one another and the vibe is down-to-earth and friendly. This atmosphere reminds you that you're a meaningful part of Panasonic, a company which is doing big things in the automotive industry. It's a rewarding experience.How would you best describe a Panasonic person? One consistent quality across all Panasonic employees, is that no one is complacent. Everyone is excited to contribute to the improvement and growth of the organization. As someone who manages improvement projects, I find that attitude to be extremely beneficial since everyone is generally on the same page and willing to take the next step. How do you describe your work to your friends and family? As a Senior Business Analyst for IT, I manage IT projects for solutions to be used in other departments (accounting, engineering, etc.). In this regard, I serve as a liaison between their departments and the programmers and hardware folks. My role gives me a lot of visibility into our processes across the organization, which allows me to raise suggestions for how IT can better serve the business.Panasonic Automotive has the feel of a small, neighborhood company while having the perks and relevancy of a large corporation. People seem to know one another and the vibe is down-to-earth and friendly. This atmosphere reminds you that you're a meaningful part of Panasonic, a company which is doing big things in the automotive industry. It's a rewarding experience.
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”.
Rohit Bhatia What makes Panasonic a great place to work? The global outreach of this company is fantastic. I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with some very talented individuals and teams across the globe.Why did you choose Panasonic? The Panasonic brand. Throughout my life I have owned many Panasonic products and was attracted to the fact that the company has a very diverse product offering. What's your favorite Panasonic moment? October 2010: Engineering vs. Rest of the World soccer match!
Christy Wallace, Communications Specialist
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!