Working at Smiths Interconnect means you are joining a team that is focused on solving the mission-critical challenges our customers face and is committed to what comes next.
It means becoming part of a company that is committed to developing your personal and professional skills, with support from the senior management. One that offers both challenge and reward in equal measure.
Many of our most senior colleagues are long time Smiths employees, having developed their careers by progressing through our organisation. Achieving the potential of our business means helping our people.
Karen Bomba, President of Smiths Interconnect, continues to build on her experience and learn new things every step of the way.
Moving into a management position at the age of 23 may have intimidated most young engineers. But not Karen Bomba, who relished the opportunity and was very soon supervising a team of 140 engineers – no mean feat for a recent college graduate.
Karen’s career is the embodiment of continuous learning, and she has not been afraid to take on new challenges. She says, “the key to a successful career in engineering is being open and collaborative, constantly seeking expertise elsewhere and working with other people.” This principle proved to be vital for the moves she made in her career between industry groups specialising in different technologies.
From starting on the engineering frontline – producing military aircraft for the US government – to leading some of the most high profile names in manufacturing and engineering, Karen is a powerhouse in her field and a shining example to women looking to forge successful careers in engineering.
Why engineering? “I loved working on my motorcycle, boat and car when I was growing up. I was also good at maths and physics at school, so it seemed like a natural progression.”
But the reality is that most young girls often don’t get to see the exciting side of engineering through studying STEM related subjects at school around the world. “Studies show that girls are dropping science and maths between the ages of 11-13 years old, so somehow we need to be getting to them younger to show them just how fun being an engineer is.”
In the early stages of her career, Karen tried her hand in safety and test equipment before going onto a rotational scheme where she worked in procurement, design and then manufacturing engineering. Her advice to young engineers is therefore to “continually try new things”, which is both the only way to ensure continuous learning and find out what you really love doing.
Leonardo Rivera Cordero
Smiths invested in my career. I started as a production operator at Smiths Interconnect in 2003. With the support of my colleagues, I decided to study for three years to earn a technical level degree in electronics.
In 2005, during my studies, I got the opportunity to take on the role of Supervisor of Screen-Printing processes. It was amazing to think that despite having a very humble upbringing, doors were opening for me to continue learning and developing.
In 2007, I took on the role of Production planner for the Components area. This role taught me a great deal about the administrative aspects of production, but at the same time, I realised that I wanted to return to the technical arena.
I was inspired by my Engineering Manager who told me: “You can be an Engineer, that's your area. Study, and you will get there!"
By the beginning of 2009, I had begun a new role as a Junior Engineer. Smiths Interconnect's vision for employee growth and the opportunities they offer allowed me to continue developing and to learn about all the production processes that take place at our Costa Rica facility.
I advanced to the role of Engineer, followed by Senior Engineer, before becoming Engineering Supervisor.
An important recent achievement for me was being offered my current position as Engineering Manager. This is a new challenge for me, but I work hard and trust in the group of professionals around me. They support me and encourage me to continue giving my best every day.
My motivation to move forward is my family. I encourage you to look for your motivation and always keep moving.
My Smiths journey began in September 2019 when I joined Smiths Interconnect as the Finance Manager for the newly established India entity. One of the most critical aspects of my job was to build the India Finance team, to ensure business meets the statutory and regulatory compliance requirements of Indian laws, financial planning, whilst also working closely with Sales & Marketing to scale the business and shape it towards profitable growth.
Smiths’ global presence and diversity were fundamental factors in drawing me to the company. The fact that my current role presented the chance to set up a business and team from scratch appealed to me, as well as the opportunity to work in a challenging and rewarding environment.
I joined Smiths with over ten years of experience at various financial institutions and an education in the same domain – I have an MBA (Finance Major) and am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA Finalist). My prior experience includes work with large corporations, multidisciplinary financial institutions, and engaging with growth stage startups.
My journey so far with Smiths has been exciting with many chapters yet to unfold. I discovered Smiths to be a rare combination of an exciting and challenging workplace, similar to that of a high growth startup, with the stability and values of a large company with a rich legacy. It exceeded my expectations by affording me the best of both worlds. Working with a very intelligent group of motivated colleagues, learning from teams and operations across the globe and contributing towards the success of the India operations – my time here has been very enjoyable.
Three words that describe my career would be learning, perseverance and action. I strongly believe in continuous learning, not quitting in the face of adversity and always having a strong inclination towards making things happen. In that sense, joining Smiths has been a very good career decision for me.
Looking at my career so far and drawing a 10-year roadmap into the future, I see Smiths playing a crucial role in shaping me as a professional, helping me discover my potential and presenting me with opportunities to add value.
My career journey started in a test lab. Beginning the path as a technician in a large company while studying to be a Mechanical Engineer was quite impactful: microscopic visibility of the design process generated a habit to question everything. Continuous improvement and challenging the status quo became second nature to me.
The experience and growth I gained in discovering, implementing and improving processes and products inspired me to go back to school. I decided to challenge myself and develop my skills with an MBA focused on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. It propelled my leadership growth and helped me approach things with humility – respecting the lessons of the past while building excitement and engagement for what could be possible in the future.
My Smiths journey started October 2017. To hear what the company was doing to align for innovation and technology growth was truly inspiring.
While many organisations talk about being innovative, few actually put the emphasis and investment in people to directly focus on it. Smiths has an amazing leadership team that has not only a vision, but a strategy and action for developing a culture of innovation – it gives an audience for the generation, acceptance, and funding of new, disruptive ideas.
Smiths is organised in a unique and rare fashion for progressing its people and technologies.
Find your voice. Be curious. Take advantage of the structure here and be a defining figure in the future of Smiths.
Finance wasn't my first job after graduating with a Masters in Electrical and Electronic Engineering – but having always had a passion for Maths as well as Physics and IT, I decided that it was the path for me and so I joined the Smiths Finance Graduate Scheme.
I worked towards my CIMA accounting qualification whilst working full time and then moved through a series of finance roles – from Financial Analyst, to Treasury Manager, to Regional Shared Services Director and Divisional Financial Controller. Today, I am the Director of FP&A (Financial Planning and Analysis) for Smiths Interconnect, the third Smiths division I've worked in.
There’s always been another challenge to accept, and I haven’t had the same role for longer than two years. The opportunities available are huge, and that's what attracted me to Smiths in the first place. Smiths is also so diverse in terms of products, which I find fascinating, and I love learning about them.
My personal drive has always been to make things better, improve processes and increase efficiency which I’m allowed to explore in my role. What I love hearing about at work are the success stories for individuals, either with customers where they’ve been able to exceed the expectations or internally with job promotions.
I love the people at Smiths Group, that’s what has kept me here so long. If I was to offer one piece of advice for someone coming into a finance role is talk to people – get out and about and discover what’s going on with all the teams out there, you can’t understand the numbers if you don’t understand the business!
I joined Smiths as a Design Engineer in 2010 developing custom interconnect solutions for medical applications, and became the Senior Medical Design Engineer two years later. It was a thrilling role – coming up with new ideas and translating them into physical form for devices that may save lives.
In 2014 I crossed over to Project Management, where I was able to tackle some of the systemic issues that has frustrated me as an engineer in the New Product Development (NPD) team. It also introduced me to new technologies and new ways of doing things.
Fast-forward a few years and I'm now a certified Senior Project Manager for the Research, Development and Technology team. I'm still leading NPD teams for some complex global initiatives, and at the same time helping to build the framework that will enable the future successes of our cross-functional teams at Smiths Interconnect.
Our technologies enable our customers to tackle tough problems and bring new inventions to the world. I was excited to work on medical applications that could one day improve, or save, the life of someone I love.
Finding simple, elegant solutions to complex, meaningful problems is what drives me. Working with creative, motivated individuals from all over the world and all walks of life – coming together to achieve a common goal.
There's a wealth of opportunities at Smiths. There's a wealth of opportunities at Smiths. You’ll be encouraged to grow within your existing career.
I started my career in 1988 at Connei in Genoa, Italy – a manufacturer of high-reliability connectors that would later become Hypertac when acquired by Smiths Group in 1995. I started out as Automation and Operations Manager and by the time of the acquisition I was Managing Director. Joining the Smiths team, I was appointed as Europe President for the Smiths Connectors business, then VP Sales for EMEA. I was then appointed VP Global Sales Channel for the Smiths Interconnect division, and most recently, whilst maintaining my current responsibilities for global channels and contracts, I was appointed as General Manager India.
Smiths offered me the opportunity to be part of a global, reputable group. As the young Managing Director of a small company, I was impressed by the rigour and discipline in decision making of the leaders I met. Smiths invested in my development by funding an MBA, and since then training and opportunities to grow have never stopped.
I believe our mission is to serve our customers with innovative solutions and services enabling the success of their applications. My experience with demanding customers in very challenging markets like defence, space and medical, and now with the channel partners has proved that working in a consistent and transparent way is the only way to secure solid, profitable, long term relationships.
Smiths is a dynamic business that constantly offers opportunities to learn new skills on a global scale. Attention to people, high integrity and an ethical environment are the perfect place to be for talented people.
My journey with Smiths Interconnect began in 2006. I was one of the key members involved in setting up Smiths Interconnect’s semiconductor test product manufacturing capability in Suzhou. Three years later, in 2009, I was assigned to take charge of the G2 system master item maintenance for Suzhou. As a Senior Industrial Engineer, I now lead Site Continuous Improvement and a team of three industrial engineering coordinators (IEC).
I am incredibly proud of my achievements and the years of hard work and study that have led me to this point.
I was born in the country, in a remote part of China and I must be honest, before college, I knew nothing about engineering. After passing my college entrance exam, I was drawn to the field of Automation and spent four years on a theoretical course. Having completed the course, instead of moving into automation, I began my first job on the production floor as an Assistant Industrial Engineer.
Whilst I was very excited about the job, I had to learn a lot from scratch. But I was determined to follow this career path. So, after a lot of hard work and embracing learning through experience, I qualified as an Industrial Engineer a year later.
More recently my role has focused on Lean principles. I picked this up very quickly by taking advantage of my rich production experience and engineering background. I earned my Six Sigma Green Belt Certification from the National Quality Association in 2016 and a Black Belt from the Smiths Excellence System Academy in 2018.
Smiths Interconnect is a forward-thinking company. We’re constantly looking to maximise efficiencies in our processes and I deeply appreciate all the ways in which Smiths has given me the chance to learn and grow.
I always believe I can do a good job if I am given a chance. If I am faced with a challenge, I like to turn the situation around so it drives me to grow.
I will not stop learning – it is how I’ve got to where I am today. With learning we can achieve anything – making the impossible possible!
After finishing school, I jumped straight in when it came to my career. At the age of 18, I joined the Royal Air Force as an Avionics Technician looking after airborne radar, communications and navigation systems. I held this position for 12 years.
During this time, I also studied towards an MSc in Engineering through The Open University, the UK's leading distance learning university. This gave me confidence and a sustained attitude of self-improvement that I still employ today.
Leaving the military, I took up a position as a Verification Engineer, where I found that my curiosity and aptitude for problem solving fittingly translated to me shifting my career to managing engineering projects.
Moving from being a Project Engineer to Project Manager Professional in 2017, I joined Smiths Interconnect’s Research, Development and Technology (RD&T) team. Working primarily with Aerospace, Defence and Space technologies, I have been part of a great team that has delivered both large and complex projects.
For me, the best part about being a project manager is the diversity of the opportunities and challenges we can find ourselves faced with. Within this role, I have exposure to all elements of the business, from Operations, RD&T and Finance, to Sales and Marketing. Understanding the unique scope for each project which I manage and determining its impact on each of the different business domains, ensures a variety of role that is both hard to match and thoroughly rewarding.
The products that we make here at Smiths Interconnect incorporate transformational technologies and the business environment is highly dynamic. With this, comes its own challenges and needs. Smiths Interconnect has been powerful in encouraging me to step up and be exposed to leadership engagement, which has provided a platform in which to break down barriers and provide clarity where there is ambiguity.
Any new member joining the team I’m part of, and the company, is quickly encouraged to share their ideas for process development and improvements, which has proved to be highly valuable to the business as we adapt to the ever-changing world needs.
My background is in Electronic Engineering. I studied for a Bachelor of Engineering degree at the University of Hertfordshire, followed by a Master of Science degree at the University of Glasgow.
Before joining the Smiths graduate programme, I started my career with an apprenticeship at a telecommunication company which specialised in the electrical design of base station waveguide components.
This set me up well for the Smiths two-year rotational graduate programme that I began in 2019.
This graduate programme is an excellent opportunity for me to expand my outlook on cutting edge technology, and it is an honour to be able to help Smiths Interconnect serve our customers with innovative technology.
Within the programme, I have been able to work with different engineering teams, including the visionary Enabling Technologies team, to enhance both my own engineering skills, and my organisation and coordination capabilities, which undoubtedly will serve me well for my future career. It is clear
Smiths Interconnect constantly encourages employees to have a strong curiosity for upgradable technology, and I believe that this is the key source for pushing Interconnect to great success.
I like to learn from my colleagues at Smiths Interconnect. I know that at this young age, I still have so much that I can learn, and at Smiths Interconnect I am inspired and pushed to do so. One of the most important things that I have gained so far during the programme are commercial skills. I believe that you can only truly gain this through hands-on experience and throwing yourself into every challenge that you come across, and Smiths Interconnect has given me this opportunity.
I work as a Master Scheduler at our Salisbury site. Whilst a significant aspect of my focus is on managing inventory and work-in-progress goods, my primary goal is to ensure that materials get to the production floor in a timely manner to support operations in supplying our customers with high quality products on time.
However, I haven’t always held this position. Although the Salisbury site was not acquired by Smiths until 2006, and only became part of Smiths Interconnect in 2017, I started working there in 1998 – 22 years ago.
I first worked as a machinist. I then went on to work as a quality inspector, a customer service representative, and finally, a planner.
All of these roles offered me tremendous learning experiences and insight into all aspects of our products, from the quote stage all the way through to shipment to our customers. These roles were crucial in preparing me for my current role as Master Scheduler. They helped me grow, shaped me and gave me confidence in myself.
Reflecting on my career as a whole, my advice to others is to remember that every role is just as important as the next. There is always something to learn and take away from it, and you never know what it is preparing you for down the road.
Alongside my current role, I am also a Smiths Way Ambassador.
Being an Ambassador has had a huge impact on my life. It has reminded me that not only do our colleagues need to feel valued, encouraged and respected but our entire community needs this same support system.
I love my career; it gives me the opportunity to meet and collaborate with people around the world. I am truly grateful to work with amazing colleagues and to be part of an organisation that gives so much back to our communities and encourages all its employees to do so as well.
I knew from a young age that working in a ‘typical office job’ was not something that would interest me. Instead, I pursued my inclination towards mechanical engineering, with the ultimate aim of finding a hands-on career in the realm of Operations.
I have worked in a number of different areas within mechanical engineering, from rails to turbines to automotives, advancing from Workshop Manager, to Supervisor, to Lean Projects Engineer.
My current role is in continuous improvement. I work at Smiths Interconnect as a Process Engineer at our site in Genoa, Italy. The main feature of my job is process improvement in order to maintain efficiency, reduce cost, improve sustainability and maximise profits. In my daily activities, I assess processes, take measurements and interpret data, develop best practices and find innovative solutions to improve production rates and the quality of output.
One of the highlights for me since joining in 2018 has been taking part in the Smiths Belted Programme at Oxford University. It was a great opportunity to learn valuable methodologies that help me with my role, and it gave me the chance to get to know colleagues from across the world in every Smiths Division. This is a great initiative and I’m grateful to Smiths Interconnect for enabling me to take part.
I went on to achieve a Green Belt certification by presenting an optimisation project for the semi-automatic machine used in socket production. I have subsequently worked on four more Green Belt Projects with cross-functional teams from around the world.
I’m very happy here in Genoa. The engineering team that I’m part of is wonderful - we are like a family and everyone is ready to listen to and help each other.
As a female engineer, I really value the importance of seeking out opportunities that genuinely interest you, rather than worrying out external perceptions. Smiths Interconnect continuously reinforces this and reminds me that aspirations don’t have a shape or gender. I am constantly pushed to pursue the learning and skills that are important to me through my employee development plan.
I have spent the majority of my career working for electronic component manufacturers, but my last seven years at Smiths Interconnect have felt different.
At Smiths Interconnect, I am constantly encouraged to keep learning and developing myself, which has helped me progress my career in the direction I would like to move. I started my current role as VP Sales EMEA in August 2020. It is my seventh role at Smiths Interconnect in seven years.
In this role, my daily tasks include leading the EMEA sales team, managing key customer relationships, managing sales channels and customer communications and growing the business in the EMEA region.
I wasn’t always certain that sales would be the career path I would take. What I was certain of, however, was my interest in electronic components.
As a young boy, I loved to work with cables and connectors. I spent time DJing and making music as a hobby which was when my interest in electronics truly sparked. I’m certain that my affinity with music led me to a career in the interconnect market.
My first professional job was working as a mechanic, building moulding and stamping tools.
But after spending a few years in this role, I decided that I wanted to extend my education and my understanding of the theoretical side of Mechanical Engineering. Having already completed a three-year apprenticeship working as a mechanic, I now studied for a further two years to earn a qualification as a “Certified Mechanical Engineer”.
Once I had completed my studies, I started my new job as a Development Engineer in cable harnessing. Relatively quickly my manager noticed that I had a talent for working with people. Consequently, I received the opportunity to lead a small team manufacturing special cable assemblies. During this valuable period of my career I was in also in contact with Sales Engineers from our suppliers and our customers.
I then received a job offer from a leading interconnect company for a Field Sales Engineer role. I decided to jump on this opportunity to shift my career path slightly in what I knew would be a positive direction. I spent 20 years with this company, and over my time there I had the chance to shift my career path again, becoming a Key Account Manager before holding several management roles in Sales and Marketing. Being flexible, I also had the chance to get experience in Sourcing and Operations.
In April 2013, looking for further challenges, I started my career at Smiths Interconnect as ‘Sales Director Germany’ at our site in Deggendorf, covering sales in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Eastern Europe.
I found that career opportunities came along quickly and frequently for me at Smiths Interconnect.
I soon took over several additional regions beyond my original scope, and later took on Key Accounts and Markets as a responsibility in my role as ‘Global Key Account and Market Development Director’.
My advice to others is take the chance to develop your career whenever an opportunity arises and never give up.
I joined Smiths Interconnect in May 2018 as the VP of Operations for Smiths Interconnect Inc. (SII), a role which I still hold today. SII is the business entity within Smiths Interconnect that works on classified contracts for the U.S. Department of Defense and hence operates as a separate entity governed by a Special Security Agreement (SSA). My role is based in Tampa, Florida, and involves leading the Operations and Supply Chain organisations for SII.
What I appreciate most about this position is the difference I can make in the world around me. For me, this is more than a career. I view my daily work as being highly worthwhile because I have the privilege of leading hundreds of difference-makers who work together to build, serve, and protect communities across the globe.
The Smiths culture encourages and promotes employee engagement and empowerment, which has enabled me to reshape the Operations and Supply Chain organisational structure. I’ve had the good fortune of building an incredibly diverse team in the short time that I’ve been in my role and I believe that we are better aligned and positioned than ever to meet the ever-changing needs of the business.
Since joining Smiths Interconnect, I’m most proud of the key role that I continue to play in promoting the development of a positive organisational culture – a culture that enables, motivates and empowers employees to use their talents and potential to achieve optimal business results that exceed customer expectations and create a competitive advantage to drive sustainable growth.
Smiths Interconnect is committed to becoming a best-in-class learning organisation as it continues to broaden and invest in its career growth and My Career My Way personal development initiative. I’ve personally taken advantage of all of the learning and development platforms that are offered by Smiths, including our Global Learning Resource (GLR), our global leadership development initiative: [email protected], our self-management webinars, and our My Career My Way development sessions.
I’m proud say that I’m also a graduate of the Accelerate Programme. This is one of the core programmes of the [email protected] initiative.
My career progression has been an unexpected journey of growth, challenges and rewards, and I’ve learned a tremendous amount along the way. The advice that I would have for people leaders and those that aspire to be a people leader is that it is critically important to focus on fostering a ‘People First’ culture that embraces diversity and inclusion because people are the foundation of our business.