Millennials Thriving at Magna - Part Two


ZHAO LE HUANG
SUMMONING HAPPINESS

Zhao Le Huang, a laboratory engineer at the Magna plant in Shunde, China, joined the company three years ago, and quickly took on increasing responsibilities. Today, she is the co-manager of a team of seven people whose duties include certifying products for export.

Her name means “summoning happiness” in Mandarin. That journey started in a small village in China, where her parents were rice farmers and no one owned a car.

Huang said her search is over. She’s found happiness at Magna.

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO JOIN MAGNA?

I was working for another supplier at the time and I saw that Magna was recruiting, so sent my resume. I’ve enjoyed the excellent teamwork here. There are five women and two men on my team, and most of them are the same age as my parents, but the age difference doesn’t matter. If you treat everybody with ‘heart’ you will get the same in return.

WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOUR MAGNA MENTOR HAS GIVEN YOU?

My partner and co-manager is Hexin Li, who has worked for Magna for 29 years and is one year younger than my father. I consult him whenever I have questions or face challenges. He has a big heart. His best advice is to ‘let your work do the talking.’

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT AT MAGNA SO FAR?

Our lab is audited by automakers to make sure we are qualified to do testing and they don’t need to outsource anything to a third party. One of my proudest moments came when we were certified by Geely. Geely is a major customer and that was a big milestone. I was also proud when we were recognized as a national laboratory by the Chinese government. It is a big honor.

IF YOU HAD AN EXTRA HOUR IN THE DAY, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

I would paint. The lessons I’ve learned in painting can be applied to my job. The mindset is the same. Don’t panic. Don’t rush. Step-by-step.


ANIKET KOLEKAR
HELPING TO IMPROVE SOCIETY

 

The Magna engineering and technology center in Pune, India, is a magnet for software engineers like Aniket Kolekar, who are drawn to the Magna culture and the chance to work on the automotive building blocks of the future.

Aniket grew up in Maharashtra in western India, earned a degree from Shivnagar Vidya Prasarak Mandal’s College of Engineering, and joined Magna in 2019.

He’ll tell you: “Autos, art and fitness define my life.”

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO JOIN MAGNA?

When I was a child, I wanted to be a car designer, but my parents suggested electronics, and that’s how I became a software engineer. When I was searching for a job, Magna was always at the top of my list due to the high quality done at the company. It’s a great place to start a career for those interested in the automotive sector.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

It’s a challenging, thinking job. My brain is running like a supercomputer. I get to work on important projects for global automakers, such as the first steps toward autonomy with ADAS features, like the front camera module. I feel like our work is helping to improve society. I’m also working on a patent that will improve automotive features for the Indian market. In India, we have limited features in our cars, and I’m very enthusiastic about changing that.

WHAT WILL YOUR FUTURE VEHICLE LOOK LIKE?

It will be a fully automated SUV with safety at its best.

WHERE IS YOUR HAPPY PLACE?

Anywhere I can discover my passions, do my best and improve myself. I’m fortunate Magna is a place like that.


WEERAPONG PRAWANNA
BANKING ON MAGNA

After working as a part-time security guard in Bangkok, Weerapong Prawanna landed a job with Magna in 2013 as a production operator at the company’s Cosma plant in Thailand.

Today, he is a quality inspector on the Toyota line at the plant. His job enables him to help support his parents and his 20-year-old sister in his hometown of Na-Nok-Chum, a rural village. The name means “rice field with a lot of birds.”

Working for Magna has allowed Prawanna, whose nickname is “Bank,” to “feel lucky” and dream big.

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO JOIN MAGNA?

I was the first person in my family to work in manufacturing, and I’m grateful it enables me to help my parents. They are proud of me and appreciate the money I can share with them. Growing up, we didn’t have a car and my parents got around on a scooter. I plan to buy them a car.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

I have friends here. The quality leader is a friend; I can talk to him about work and any personal concerns. It’s important to have good colleagues and leaders.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT AT MAGNA SO FAR?

There is no specific moment because I feel proud at all times. I feel good about having responsibility for checking quality. Besides, Magna has brought me luck. Every year, our plant hosts a New Year’s party for employees with a drawing. I’ve won the biggest prize twice. Both times, it was a gold necklace, both of which I gave to my mother.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB?

I like to control quality, so I would like to be the quality manager someday. I also love coffee, so I would like to own a coffee shop.

WHAT WILL YOUR FUTURE VEHICLE LOOK LIKE?

It will be completely autonomous, with a coffee maker.

IF YOU HAD AN EXTRA HOUR IN THE DAY WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Jog in the park.

WHAT THREE WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOU?

Not three words, four words. They are 'easygoing, serious at work.'


MITCHELL BAUMAN
I FOUND A CHALLENGE

 

His Magna career began in 2010 as a temporary shop-floor employee building the rear sliding window for the Dodge Ram pickup truck at the Engineered Glass plant in Holland, Michigan. Today, Mitchell Bauman is the MES project lead, working on manufacturing execution systems for the factory of the future.

Lifelong learning is the secret to his success. He worked the midnight shift while studying for his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Davenport University, graduating with honors.

“Wanting to learn and to go further happened at Magna,” Bauman said.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

I found a challenge at Magna and am never bored. I always feel inspired to innovate and do something better. I’ve also had the good fortune to work with managers who have shown me how I can grow within the company. I’ve gone from being an operator to building and managing my own projects that involve data transformation.

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED AT MAGNA?

The people on the floor are the most important. They get the job done with the support of others. Also, I’ve learned the importance of communication and friendship. When I got trained on the third shift, the team was good at communication which helped them exceed the productivity rate. They knew each other and talked to each other. It made a difference.

WHAT’S THE SMARTEST THING YOU DID TO PREPARE FOR THIS NEW STAGE IN YOUR CAREER?

Using my lifelong learning within Magna. Understanding the business as a whole has been my education. Magna is entrepreneurial, and I can fit in anywhere today because I understand the concepts of launching a business.

WHAT WILL YOUR FUTURE VEHICLE LOOK LIKE?

The next step is autonomous. Convenience is key. People appreciate goods and services that make their life more convenient.

HOW DO YOU WIND DOWN?

Running and lifting weights have become my hobbies. I also enjoy trying new restaurants. I love music and literature. And I read articles on Industry 4.0 and the National Football League.


AARON OREJON
FINDING LOVE AND OPPORTUNITY

When Aaron Orejon joined the Mechatronics Saltillo division as a machine operator nine years ago, he could not have envisioned the impact Magna would have on his personal and professional life.

He met his future wife Gloria Elizabeth, another machine operator, at a 2012 Mexican Independence Day celebration organized by the division. They got to know each other by comparing notes on production reports. The 500 guests at their 2015 wedding included most of the shop-floor workers at the plant.

With the support of his Magna managers, Orejon finished his bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from the Universidad Del Valle de Santiago this September.

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO JOIN MAGNA?

My father, Magdaleno, was a machine operator at the division and told me about the job. He worked for Magna for 19 years and is now retired. When I started, I was just looking for a way to make money to pay my college tuition. I was promoted to production leader two years later. I was impressed by the professional development and leadership skills training Magna offers to employees. I asked for support to continue my studies and the company gave me the opportunity to stay on one shift, instead of moving from shift to shift, so I could study and get good grades.

WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOUR MAGNA MENTOR HAS GIVEN YOU?

My mentor was Flor Garcia, a production leader who is now retired. She supported and encouraged me to develop my skills when I was a machine operator. She always said, 'Take care of the people. The business really depends on them.'

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT AT MAGNA SO FAR?

Supporting the professional growth of the production operators on my team. I tell them they need to take advantage of the opportunities that Magna offers. Many of them have been promoted to better jobs in materials, maintenance and production. The encouragement I got from the company motivated me to help others.

WHAT WILL YOUR FUTURE VEHICLE LOOK LIKE?

It will be a self-driving vehicle with massaging seats. After you leave work, you need a place to relax.

IF YOU HAD AN EXTRA HOUR IN THE DAY WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

I would spend more time with my wife and my two children, Dylan, 8, and Ian, 2. We’d probably play soccer.

HOW WOULD YOUR FRIENDS DESCRIBE YOU?

At first, kind of shy, but when people get to know me they realize I’m funny. I’m always looking for ways to make people smile.

GOLF, PING PONG, SOCCER OR ICE HOCKEY. WHICH OF THESE ARE BEST SUITED TO YOUR PERSONALITY?

Soccer. I’ve been a soccer player since I’ve been four. Soccer taught me leadership is the key to being a winner.


JOHN JOHNSON
EVERY DAY IS A PROUD DAY

 

Before being hired in 2021 as a quality technician at Magna Seating Columbus in Ohio, John Johnson built landing system antennas at the end of runways that guide planes to safe stops. He built the aviation aids in challenging terrain all over the world, from the Tibetan Alps to South America.

When the COVID-19 pandemic slowed air travel, Johnson got laid off, but found a new home at Magna.

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO JOIN MAGNA?

Magna is a great organization. My job could lead me anywhere in the world I chose to go. I can progress within Magna and get an even better career. The company offers educational opportunities and I have been studying engineering at Ohio University. Ultimately, I would like to achieve a master’s degree.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT AT MAGNA SO FAR?

I work on a team of eight people. We test and validate weld qualities on seat frames for customers like General Motors and Stellantis. We run quality checks on an hourly basis. When we find an issue, we get a toolmaker or a weld technician to correct the mistake on the machine.

The team checks around 4,000 welds a day. It would be incredibly difficult to get a problem through the system because there are so many double checks and triple checks. As I work, I think of my six-year-old daughter Kali. I don’t want to put her in a seat I’m not going to trust.

Since we’re all equals, we finish things as a team. We support each other. Every day is a proud day. You successfully achieve something every day as a team.

WHAT WILL YOUR FUTURE VEHICLE LOOK LIKE?

A magnetic vehicle would be interesting, one that uses electromagnetic propulsion technology. It would reduce pollution, allow for renewable resources, and reduce traffic accidents.

WHERE IS YOUR HAPPY PLACE?

At home, with my fiancé Haley, my daughter Kali and my 40 fish tanks. Yes, that’s 40 tanks. We also have reptiles, two hedgehogs, two dogs and turtles.

COFFEE OR TEA? DOG OR CAT? WHICH ARE YOU AND WHY?

Tea. I try to be calm and I already have enough energy. I’m friendly like a dog, but I’m probably more like a coyote. I’m everywhere and I don’t stay on one track.

Explore Careers at Magna

Join our team and let's
create the future of mobility, together.

Explore Careers