Q+A with Emily Valentine, Material Handling Systems Designer (Dearborn)
How do you describe your job to people outside of the industry?
I begin with a warning that my job title is very long! I share that I am a material handling systems designer, but primarily work with conveyor systems. I'll usually elaborate and tell people that these systems handle, sort, and organize the packages that end up at their door. I'll also mention that I get to utilize 2D and 3D software to develop the design while conversing with clients to make sure the design / layout meets their standards and exceeds their expectations.
Why did you decide to become a Material Handling Systems Designer?
I grew up with a lot of architecture / engineering influence. My grandpa was an architect, and my dad was a mechanical engineer, so you could say this was a path I was born into. From a young age, I was always drawing, playing with Legos, solving puzzles, and even building extreme train track paths / bridges for my younger brother to play with! As I got older, my dad included me in his house projects and (crazy) inventions while also encouraging me to take all the engineering / technology classes. After making it through every engineering design class offered at my high school, it just further confirmed that this was the path I wanted to take. I’ve always enjoyed the problem solving, creativity, design aspects of engineering, and I’m so glad I made the decision to follow in my dad’s footsteps!
How would you describe life at Ghafari?
Life at Ghafari has been very challenging and fast-paced but also extremely rewarding. I enjoy working with a great group of people that have created a fun, supportive, and encouraging work environment.
What is the most exciting thing that has happened during your time here?
I had the opportunity to travel to Memphis, Tennessee to walk the newest FedEx sort facility. After working on multiple FedEx projects and learning about our process for designing conveyor systems, it was exciting to walk through and see one of the systems installed and running.
Another exciting moment for me was being able to work in the office. I started back in 2021 when we were still fully remote, so getting to experience the office life at Ghafari and meet people outside of my team was something I had been looking forward to!
What is a key idea or lesson you have learned while working at Ghafari?
Prioritize documenting and communicating. I’ve learned that with a fast-paced, team-oriented environment, it is important to keep track of daily tasks, meetings, and discussions. It is also important to maintain good communication with your team / whoever you are working with. Share updates often, ask questions, and collaborate whenever you can.
How do you like to spend your free time?
The most important thing to me is spending time with family and friends. Aside from spending time with the people I care about most, there are so many things I like to do in my free time! Whether a weeknight or weekend, I like to stay active by going for long walks, playing volleyball, golfing, or snowboarding. I enjoy watching movies from my (very) long list of recommendations and hosting game nights. You can also find me at a Red Wings game or any Michigan State sporting event (especially football).