Introducing Nick Woo

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May 6, 2022

Nick had an early passion for understanding how things worked, from cars and planes to robots and technology. His curiosity about how complex products are designed and built has only grown. It sparked his desire to join his hometown friends at the Ohio State University College of Engineering. Not that he didn’t consider other exciting options, like studying astronomy in Hawaii. 

Deciding on an area of study was the next challenge. Nick gravitated towards mechanical engineering and joined various student organizations that aligned with his passion for designing and building, like the electric car and electric motorcycle teams. He later switched to integrated systems engineering so he could focus on the larger system of building complex products. Nick landed his first internship with Honda working in the next generation line control group. He implemented and analyzed data from smart wrenches, which helped improve the quality and consistency of key automobile assembly steps including seatbelt and airbag installation. He also completed ergonomics-based projects with Kroger, like redesigning processes and line layouts for worker comfort and efficiency. 

His next internship was at Gulfstream Aerospace in Savanna, Georgia. With the summer anthem “Like a G6”, the timing couldn’t have been better.. The focus of this internship was on design and process improvements in producing carbon fiber parts for the G450, G550 and G650 (an exclusive private jet known as the G6!). Once back at Ohio State, Nick didn’t slow down. He took on leadership positions with the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers and the Leadership Summit, while also working in the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering machine shop to support his professors’ research.

Next came his internship with Boeing, optimizing the process to produce raw materials into assembly parts. He also worked with SQL, creating operational dashboards for the leadership team so they could understand production demand. Thanks to Nick’s analytics efforts, demand on assembly cells could be level-loaded based on predictive modeling, smoothing out staffing and reducing overtime for the entire site. After this internship, he signed up for the Integrated Systems Engineering lean six sigma capstone program to strengthen his knowledge on process improvement across industries. His capstone project with Grange Insurance, which focused on implementing a new decision system and processes for the underwriting department, earned him his green belt certification.

Nick graduated in 2015 with extensive experience from his internships and ready to start his full-time career. He accepted an offer with Boeing and moved out to Seattle with his finance. His position focused on implementing new products and processes within a community manufacturing partnership network at Boeing. This network of federated manufacturing operations employed only the underserved members of the workforce, including individuals who were blind, deaf, disabled, ex-convicts and at-risk teenagers. He was responsible for product, process, and operational analytics in these shops, analyzing delivery performance, quality, capacity and cost of the parts being produced. Although this work was extremely rewarding for Nick, he decided to move back to Ohio to be closer to his family. He landed a job at Hirschvogel Automotive Group, a warm forging and machining company for drivetrain components. Nick was the Lead Product Development Engineer implementing new forging parts designed for Ford, Mercedes, Tesla, and other large automotive manufacturers. He designed and ran trials for experimental forging designs, determined the material, tooling and machine requirements for engineering feasibility, and then made the capital investment for equipment to mass-produce.

Next, Nick returned to Grange Insurance as a Continuous Improvement leader. He built and led the enterprise training program and community for lean six sigma, supporting new departments like data and analytics and emerging technologies. The associates going through his program earned a lean six sigma certification after applying their skills and completing projects across the organization. Nick provided coaching and mentorship throughout the training program. He was also pulled into strategic automation projects under their Transformation Management Office. One day, Nick came across an article highlighting the launch of a new company by his college friends, Allie Hagmeyer, Rehgan Avon, and Brendan Kelly. He was extremely excited about their mission to reinvent the way the workforce is learning and applying new concepts in the analytics and AI space. Shortly after, he joined the team as Head of Solutions.

Outside of work, Nick doesn’t mind taking a break from the screens. He’s always been a  fan of the outdoors and loves to go camping with his wife, Keila. They often go overlanding in their SUV to check out new parks and trails on the weekends. He also enjoys building furniture, so you’ll usually find Nick in his garage listening to music and woodworking during the colder months.  

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