Durga Devi | Industrial Engineering Manager | Alameda, CA
Q. What is your role at Penumbra?
As an Industrial Engineering Manager at Penumbra my role entails supporting cross-functional teams in determining the most effective and efficient way to perform tasks and manufacture product. Which means, I collaborate with various teams, engineers, and leaders to drive continuous improvement to increase process efficiency and productivity, with the goal of achieving operational excellence. I work to integrate equipment, people, materials, information, and space for capacity planning assistance. Another important aspect of my job as an IE manager is to ensure that we have updated production area layouts and that we study products in a timely manner to support production planning. This also helps us identify and propose any continuous improvement projects.
Q. What aspects of your job do you enjoy most?
I enjoy working with different teams to achieve a common goal of building medical devices that can help save lives. It is fascinating to watch a catheter being built from raw materials to a finished good state, ready for use by the doctors. It gives me immense happiness and pride to be able to contribute to the process. I relish it all – from being a part of the IE team, where we all come together to execute projects, to interacting and working with a diverse group of people from various teams, to onboarding new engineers and helping them learn and grow. Working on clean environment room (CER) layouts is one of the many aspects of my job that I thoroughly enjoy. Working on optimizing layouts is a stress reliever for me; I find it similar to solving puzzles. One of my favorite parts is being on-site with the team and seeing everything come together on the production floor. It makes all the efforts worth it!
Q. Describe yourself at age 10. What career aspirations did you have at that age?
Growing up in my family was a lot of fun because all the cousins grew up in a joint family and lived together for the first 15 years of our lives. Unlike my cousins, I was an inquisitive child who was always getting into trouble because of silly experiments I would do. One specific instance comes to mind when I dissected a dead mouse to examine its heart in the hopes of one day becoming a heart surgeon. Aside from getting into trouble as a child, I enjoyed gardening and doing small fun DIY projects with my grandmother.
Q. Describe a travel adventure that you will never forget.
We planned a trip to Death Valley, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park for our twins’ 10th birthday last year because we wanted to do something unique and memorable for them. The experience of visiting Death Valley was surreal. Everything there is beautiful forms of nature, from the Badwater Basin land to the dunes to the mountain ranges and the most popular scenic Artist’s Drive. The natural colors are breathtaking, especially late in the afternoon. We spent a few hours of the day driving and stopping to take some pictures, and, in the late afternoon on the flat land, there was a span of a good one hour when there were no people, no cars, or anybody else around us. It was just my family of four, surrounded by the vast canyons turning red from a setting sun, and complete silence! We felt like we were the last humans on Earth. It was a thrilling and exciting trip!
Q. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I am an ambivert who is hyper organized. I also enjoy watching and listening to nursery rhymes. When my kids see me watching rhymes, they think it’s hilarious and never miss an opportunity to tease me. Moments like these, smiles and laughs that happen throughout the day, are priceless.
Q. What are three career lessons that you have learned thus far?
- Respect other people’s time if you want your time to be respected.
- While you may have your own responsibilities, working and thriving as part of a team is vital. Be a dependable team player. The success of various teams drives an organization.
- You can’t always be fully prepared and ready for the right time and opportunity to knock on your door; sometimes you must take a leap of faith and let things happen organically.