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The Professionals: Kareem Williams

Landing a job at our Pordenone site was something of a homecoming for our Lean Process Engineer in Italy.

bf6a27c7-82ae-4b08-8967-495c824254e6_525x881px-1It followed his plan to move abroad for studies and work experience before returning to his childhood roots. From Italy to the US and back, Kareem’s interest in engineering was driven by his genuine stubbornness to know more.

After 11 years spent studying and working in the States, he returned home to Italy and began working for Electrolux Professional Group in 2021.

You’re a Lean Process Engineer and ‘lean’ is something of a buzzword in the manufacturing world – how do you explain what you do?

If you think about any kind of business, there are processes in terms of exchanging information or creating a service or product. And there are challenges in how to deliver the best service or create the best product in the most efficient way. In manufacturing, that’s what we look for – the leanest approach to make more with less, while still respecting all the critical safety aspects necessary in the factory environment.

There are lots of words and phrases thrown out in the new era of manufacturing like lean and continuous improvement, which are close cousins. Ultimately, it’s pretty simple in terms of eliminating waste that could be cost, time and materials, finding better solution and implementing them.

So, where do you spend your working days – in the office or in the factory?

It should be 50-50 because being involved in the continuous improvement of processes means being present to see the challenges and come up with solutions. It’s important to interact with employees and job leaders on the shop floor with daily support to the production team.

That involves supplying the method and tools they need to work and help problem-solve everyday issues – that’s the short term. You also need to be present to see the improvements with mid and longer-term solutions in applying the lean concept.

Still, the other 50% at your desk is equally important for using the tools at your disposal to think about potential ideas for creating solutions and take them back to the plant to implement.

What route did you take in terms of studies and jobs to where you are today?

My father is American and my mother is Italian so while growing up in Pordenone I decided to attend the local American High School as a bridge-way to continue my studies in the US. I first attended the University of Dubuque in Iowa and went on to study at Tennessee Technological University.

It was there I entered the engineering department and, through several internship opportunities, I shaped my experience in the world of manufacturing world. I was actually inspired by seeing my older cousins on my Italian side of the family graduate in engineering – that’s really when I became curious and I followed that route.


What do you love about the role?

I truly enjoy being able to work with all departments throughout the plant which means I have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to help improve all aspects of the operation.

And, on the other hand, what are the biggest challenges?

I would copy and paste my previous answer! That’s because the more people you involve, the more processes you touch and the higher the challenges become.

What advice would you give to people wanting to work in a position like yours?

In this role you need to be a people person; you’re restless to find solutions, you’re agile in reorganising your priorities, you don’t focus too much on what you can’t do but rather focus on listening and applying what you can do.

How would you like to develop further in your role or potentially do something completely different?

Since I enjoy learning about all aspects of what makes the wheel go round, if I change my role in the future, I don’t expect my work method to change, only evolve. I will of course always have a special regard for manufacturing processes and technologies.

Why choose to work at Electrolux Professional Group?

From a personal perspective, growing up in the Pordenone area, I was aware of the social and cultural presence of Electrolux and Zanussi. Even though I left home over than a decade ago, I couldn’t have thought of a better way to return to my community. From a professional point of view, I was excited to join the team and add my part to the pillars that I’m able to help.

Check out our global career site, if you aspire to pursue a career similar to Kareem’s.