Marie-Michèle Bélanger-Timothy has worked as an industrial engineer on the production engineering team at Kinova Robotics for just under a year. The former Polytechnique student likes to jump into things headfirst, in life as well as in her career. She loves to meet new challenges, and that’s exactly what Kinova has to offer. Ten questions for Marie-Michèle.
1- Tell us about your journey, what led you to Kinova?
In 2012, I graduated from the École Polytechnique in Industrial Engineering and got my first job at Fordia (a drilling company). After that I worked two and a half years at Amylior, a company that manufactures wheelchairs, but I needed to face new challenges. A former colleague’s wife works at Kinova, so that’s how I heard about the company.
2- How did the hiring process work?
We talked about the company’s values, challenges and its growth. This company has grown so much that there have been a lot of processes to develop in a hurry, so it’s been very interesting for someone in industrial engineering.
3- What appealed to you about Kinova’s offer?
I love working in factories, in development and on the production floor. When you see how essential the product is to so many people, you realized how important it is to meet our deadlines. But for me, the most interesting part is that everything had yet to be defined, production-wise, because Kinova is growing so quickly. We started out with small-scale production and are now dealing with something very big. The JACO arm is certainly a stimulating and unique product, but what drives me most is production.
4- What do you like about the job?
The neverending challenges. When you get out of school you want to meet as many challenges as possible and Kinova challenges me all the time. Another aspect I like is that Kinova’s business plan and values are shared with employees, they’re not inaccessible. We had several meetings about our goals for the next few years, which is definitely motivating.
5- As a child, what was your dream job?
I really loved communication and human interaction, but I also loved mathematics and calculation. Industrial engineering is about helping people, making their work easier by developing more efficient ways of getting things done. So, at Kinova I can look at both human and mathematical aspects of the same project.
6- What would you say to someone who wants to work at Kinova?
I would tell them about the challenges and all the great projects. We’re always working on something, we’re never in standby. In industrial engineering, there are so many things to structure, and at Kinova there are always big projects to tackle. I would also talk about our beautiful and growing team. It’s a very busy workplace and you have to be open-minded.
7- Could you describe a typical work day?
My job is to improve our efficiency. I draft a lot of procedures, we have our morning meeting, then, depending on the new projects we’re working on, I ensure cohesion between all departments, from pre-production to production. I do a little bit of everything in a day. I like working on more than one thing. In industrial engineering, it’s never boring.
8- What do you think the future holds for Kinova and for yourself?
I think Kinova will just keep growing. In my department, our goal is to take production to the next level. We want to move towards higher-volume production. We’re going to diversify and offer new products, but stay true to Kinova’s heart… and arm. Personally, I would like to evolve along with the company.
9- Tell us more about yourself. What would your best friend say about you?
That I’m competitive (laughs). I’ve been into sports since I was a kid and I’ve always liked to win. And my friends would also tell you that I’m always doing 1000 things at the same time.
10- Do you have hobbies and passions?
I‘m still an athlete. It used to be all about skiing for me, but now I’m into ultimate frisbee. I wasn’t satisfied with just playing on a team, it wasn’t challenging enough so I created my own team in Montreal. In 3 years, we’ve become the best team in the city.