People at Freudenberg Sealing Technologies

Michael Thompson
Advanced Process Engineering Manager

Welcome to the „Employee Spotlight“. This series introduces us to employees from all around the world as well as from all different job functions within our company. We get the opportunity to gain insights on their work life and to learn the variety of job options that are available within the company. In today’s spotlight: Michael Thompson, Advanced Process Engineering Manager at Freundenberg Sealing Technologies.

About Michael

In my team there is the business unit manager (myself), who is responsible for the entire finishing area. There is a coordinator who runs the work of the area, and there are also 2 technical setters who deal with technical issues. With this organization, each person knows exactly what his/her tasks are and in case of issues he/she knows who the person in charge of solving them is.

How do you balance your career at FST and family life?

As Freudenberg is, still to this day, a family oriented business, they understand the importance of the time you need to spend together. So, benefits like flexible hours plays a huge part in being able to ensure a healthy balance between work and life.

If I talk about what I do personally, I always try to ensure that my weekend is dedicated to my family without interruption and is packed full of activities, immersing myself completely, so we maximize the quality time we have together and don’t waste a minute. This could mean spending a few more extra hours during the week closing out anything that could switch my mind back to work if left open.

How has FST helped you in your career development?

Career development at FST, in my experience, is always a topic of conversation and is, therefore, in the forefront of your mind and reminds you to ask questions of yourself and your career every day. To supplement that the LMS (Learning Management System) is a very good resource and is particularly good at fostering self-learning, with the volume and quality of things like online classes and texts/guides available, many free of charge.
More generally speaking, FST has introduced me to many new technologies that I haven’t had experience of working with in previous positions or companies and so there is more for me to learn. My role requires me to have knowledge of the majority of an organizational frame, not just in a pure Engineering context, which adds greater breadth to my skills.

What do you find the most challenging at FST?

Traditionally, the size/scale of FST as a business would result in a huge competitive advantage over its competitors. However, given the accessibility and agility of complex tools and technologies in the modern day mean that size no longer has a bearing on your ability to make good money and can work against you in your ability to move quickly. Customers demand instant value today. Working out how to do that while ensuring we maintain what has made us successful in the first place is the biggest challenge for us right now.

My favorite aspect of working for FST is the “Innovating Together” tagline we live by [...]

What is your favorite thing about working for FST?

My favorite aspect of working for FST is the “Innovating Together” tagline we live by which gives us the opportunity to work with so many different people from so many different backgrounds and cultures. This adds many different viewpoints and opinions to projects adding greater value to them and means that, as an individual and as a team, there is always something new to learn.

What do you enjoy doing on your days off from work?

I have a young family, with two boys aged 2 and 4, so my days off are dedicated to them and ensuring they have the most fulfilling childhood possible. We predominantly enjoy the beautiful countryside and beaches we have around us in this part of northern England every weekend. Given their ages, watching them learn and grow is hugely satisfying, if not a little scary!

In your mind, what sets FST apart from its competitors?

There are two things that come to mind, the first being our ability to “Innovate Together”, as I talked about earlier. This allows us to draw on huge amount of resources that results in us being able to meet any challenge that is presented to us. The second is the level of personal service we can provide to our customers, which is something unique in a company of our scale. Our customers are face-to-face with our Engineers which allows to provide a solution that is just for them.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

My dream as a young boy, growing up in the North East of England (for me) was dominated by playing soccer and following Newcastle United, so naturally I always wanted to be the next Alan Shearer. I still play regularly today and have never given up hope! Realistically though, I always enjoyed the Science subjects and Maths, so I think I’ve subconsciously fulfilled my realistic dream of a career in the field of Engineering!

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