September 23, 2020 by Jonathan Lance

Employee Spotlight: Shawn Orr

One of the things that make The Fredericks Company great is our dedicated and highly valued employees who excel in various positions. Because we have such a great team, we’ve decided to highlight team members in our blog!

Today, we are shining the spotlight on Shawn Orr. Shawn is the Technical Business Development Manager that has been highlighted in September’s issue of Heat Treat Today 40 Under 40: Class of 2020.

Shawn received his Bachelor of Science in computer engineering at Johns Hopkins University and has worked at The Fredericks Company for eight years. Shawn started out as an Applications Engineer, assisting customers with system integration of new products and technical support. A few years later, Shawn changed roles and became an electronics design engineer, where he was responsible for the development of vacuum gauging products like the MX200 vacuum controller while continuing to assist customers to integrate our vacuum measurement instrumentation. Today, Shawn is responsible for identifying and implementing new growth and product development opportunities with a customer-focused approach.

Read on to learn more about Shawn Orr, and check out Shawn’s highlight on the Heat Treat Today website:

What has changed since you started working with the company?

I think that the company strategy has changed the most since I started here. We are much more focused on a smaller number of product lines (tilt, vacuum, and custom components), which allows us to better serve our customers for those product lines. Another thing that’s changed is the company synergy, there’s much more cooperation and interaction between different departments to solve any challenging problems that arise.

What has improved since you started working with the company?

So many things have improved, I’ll do my best to highlight a few. The first is streamlining of processes, which we’ve done an excellent job of since I started here. One example is process automation in manufacturing, like the robot that we’ve installed to test tilt sensors and the automated vacuum stands we’ve implemented in Televac®. I also believe that our customer service has improved dramatically over time, with guaranteed responses to customers within 24 hours. Another aspect of customer service that’s improved is related to the release of our new website a few years ago, where products and supporting documentation are much easier to find. This was followed by the more recent e-commerce update, where you can now buy online anytime instead of waiting for a quote, which speeds up lead times.

What has been your most memorable moment at The Fredericks Company?

This is a challenging question, there are so many memorable moments. Most of my memorable moments relate to solving engineering challenges with the selection and integration of our products. One that I can highlight is the release of the MX200 Vacuum Controller and the subsequent release of the MX200 with EthernetIP communications. This was a huge undertaking and gave us a strategic position in several markets because we’re the only company that manufactures a vacuum gauging solution with EthernetIP communications.

What do you enjoy most about your position?

What I enjoy most about my position is the ability to interface with customers while utilizing my engineering background. It gives me the opportunity to work with people and to solve problems, both of which I enjoy very much. I also enjoy working in a small company atmosphere which allows me to focus on very different things than if I were at a larger corporation. There is a lot of synergy between different departments at Fredericks and it’s an excellent place to work.

What do you find most challenging about your role?

The most challenging aspect of my role is trying to be an expert in various markets. We manufacture products for so many different industries that it can be a challenge to have a solid understanding of all of them in order to make the best recommendations to our customers. One example is with Televac, where there’s everything from vacuum furnaces and heat treat to particle accelerators, and everything in between, where the requirements are vastly different for each market.

Before working at The Fredericks Company, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

When I was 14 I started work in a biology lab taking care of various animals that they were experimenting on. It was definitely very different from where my career has ultimately taken me.

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