Episode 43
Brenda Courim
Head of Sales-Robotics & Components at Gudel

 

Women in the automation space have been working hard to advance their role in the industry for many years. With McKinsey & Company reporting only 33% of entry-level positions in the industrial manufacturing space are held by women, it’s clear there’s still room for growth. In this episode of Manufacturing Matters, TECH B2B Marketing’s Amanda Del Buono discusses the evolving role of women in industry with Brenda Courim, Güdel’s Head of Sales–Robotics and Components.

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Amanda Del Buono:
Good afternoon. Welcome back to Manufacturing Matters, a podcast from Tech B2B Marketing. This is a podcast where we aim to get at the heart of automation technology and how it plays into the manufacturing industry. I am Amanda Del Buono. Today I have the pleasure of being joined by Brenda Courim, head of sales, robotics, and components at Gudel. Hi, Brenda. Thanks for being here today.

Brenda Courim:
Hi Amanda. I'm really glad I could join you.

Amanda Del Buono:
Awesome. I'm really glad to have you. So to kick things off, can you kind of just start by telling our listeners a little bit about Gudel, what you do there?

Brenda Courim:
Absolutely, absolutely. So Gudel is a family-owned company. The third generation of the family that is now the owners of it. They're based out of Switzerland, and they've been in existence for about 70 years now. But the main products that we offer are very high-quality linear motion tracks, gantries, and components for the market that we're in. Typically my company, we work with integrators, line builders, and the line builders are more for the components end, the integrators are for our tracks. And then we do get into more complex projects direct with OEMs. At Gudel we have, besides the Switzerland office, we have five other manufacturing locations globally, one of which is the one that I work at in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And we have 45,000 square feet of manufacturing space there. And the U.S. location manufactures for the U.S. and the Canadian markets. And at our location we have the full engineering, design, manufacturing, and customer support. Globally, we do have 21 locations that also deal with sales and service outside of our manufacturing locations. For me personally, I'm head of sales for the robotics and, like you mentioned, the components business unit. I've been with Gudel for three years now. My team consists of six territory managers across the U.S. and Canada. I also have four application engineers that support our account managers and our customers, and we bring them out to the customer since we know a lot of our products are very technical, and they give that support externally and internally to our teams.

Amanda Del Buono:
Awesome. That's a great review of Gudel and what you do there. You and I met back at Business Forum in January, and you told me about your history in engineering and being an engineering student. I'm kind of curious, what brought you here, what sparked your interest in engineering? As a female, getting into automation isn't always the normal track to go.

Brenda Courim:
It's definitely not. There's a couple of key points that came up in my history. And one of them I didn't really realize until later in life. I remember one year I got a Christmas present. It was a bike. And you'd think I'd be all excited about this and my first bike. And I was really disappointed that my parents had already put it together by the time I got it. I liked tinkering with things and trying to problem solve and figure it out. But the biggest, biggest impact to me was when I graduated from high school. I knew I really liked math and science, specifically physics. But I didn't know what to do with it. I knew I didn't want to teach. It just wasn't the thing that drove me. And so I was talking with my dad, and he suggested a couple other things. He suggested accounting. He suggested actuary, different things, more math related. And then he made the comment, "Well, why don't you be an engineer?" And this is when I'm going to date myself a lot, I didn't know what that was. And my understanding of an engineer is you drove a train, so I had to ask him, and I did, and he started trying to explain it to me, and I just thought this was the coolest thing I'd ever heard of. But then my dad actually told me, "Go do research on it." And again dating myself, that meant that I went to the library, opened the card catalog, found books on engineering, and tried to understand what it was all about. And again, I was just enchanted by it, started up at college with it, and just never looked back. So it kind of was an interesting way of falling into it.

Amanda Del Buono:
Did you expect to end up to do the things that you have done when you were first learning about engineering like that?

Brenda Courim:
No, I really didn't, because I did mechanical engineering and that was for a reason. I did it because it was the most broad area and I could touch it and feel it. I always felt like electrical, not so much. And I was too afraid of blowing things up in chemical. So I kind of stuck with my comfort level. And I still didn't know exactly what that would mean. And I graduated from University of Michigan and over in the Detroit area, it's all about automotive. So I kind of got my start there, and it just kind of progressed off of that. But no, it wasn't necessarily a known plan going into it.

Amanda Del Buono:
Automotive is obviously one of the leaders in automation, especially historically speaking. Well, so I mentioned that we met at Business Forum, and it was interesting because we were seeing a lot of women there. They had their first Women in Automation event during that, and I was just curious from you: What has it been like to see that evolve? You've been in this space for quite a while, all these years. This is the first time A3 has been able to do that. So to me that kind of signals that there might be a paradigm shift going on here where we're seeing enough women now in flux in this space.

Brenda Courim:
I think it's really evolved. I will say, where I started out, I really was lucky because when I was at university, I ended up having three close female friends who also ended up being my roommates. And we were all in the same program and supported each other, but in every single one of my classes, if I had one or two other women in there, that was about the extent of it. There just weren't a lot. But we did support each other. A lot didn't have that. But once I entered the workforce, I really did always feel like I had this need to prove myself more than my male colleagues. Whether it was true or not, I just got the impression that others assumed I was filling a quota. And in fact, and I know it was meant in passing and as a positive thing, but about 15 years ago, at my previous company, not this one, after I was hired and I got to know my my manager, he made the comment to let me know that I was hired for my abilities but that it also made him look good because he hired a female engineer.

Brenda Courim:
And while I know he meant that as a positive, it really wasn't. It was more of a pointing out . . . and still having to point that out. And that was 15 years ago. And I think even since then it's been a much better trajectory, at least from what I've seen. And the younger women coming into the workforce. I do think we're we're doing better. In fact, at Gudel we have a number of women in key positions. Out of our office in Ann Arbor, three of our seven directors are women. And when I started at the company, which was three years ago, our director of engineering was a woman, and I just kind of looked at that as: that's incredible. And the best part for me is that our headquarters in Switzerland, our CEO is Gwendolyn Gudel. So I find that to be inspiring at the company, to show that people are looking for the best person for the job. regardless, and I see that as we still have to break down barriers and it's still a work in progress, but I do think that it's gotten much better.

Amanda Del Buono:
That's cool to hear that when you came on board even there was such an even distribution of those higher-ranking roles male to female. Now you're kind of in a management role now. I am curious how some of those experiences like you had just mentioned, how have things like that informed how you look at your management style and how you work with your employees whether they're male or female?

Brenda Courim:
For me, I think the best thing that I've gotten out of my history is learning which managers I thought were best, and it wasn't necessarily the manager that was best for me. I had a really great manager that was great for me but he wasn't great for others. So I really found that the best managers were the ones that adapted to the employee and what they needed. So I've really tried to make that a conscious effort that I don't just put everybody into one category and how I'm going to manage them. I look at what works best for them. And so I'm constantly trying to evolve that. And with my role, especially because I'm remote, most of my team is remote, trying to stay in constant contact and then getting hit by things left and right. I would love to actually check things off my list every day, but I think that more things go on than come off most of the time. But I do find that things change daily, hourly even, and you just have to be able to adapt to it.

Brenda Courim:
And so finding that balance is, I think, one of the things that I've really tried to focus on and keeping in contact with my team, making sure they have what they need to do their jobs. And I do believe I bring an empathy that I haven't seen always in my managers. That plays how I am, and some may say that's woman versus man. I don't know that I always agree with that. I think that it can be that way. But I do think that helps me to try to listen to my team better and support them. It's always a work in progress. I can't always get them what they need, but I always try to listen and support them. I think that's been a big approach for my management style is being able to adjust, adapt, listen, and give the support that each individual needs, not as a collective group.

Amanda Del Buono:
Looking at people as unique people is helpful whether you're doing sales or management. We're all different. Well, I did want to make sure that we hit on some automation manufacturing questions as well while we're here because I'm sure everyone wants to hear what's going on at Gudel. So as automation systems are evolving to suit new tasks and fit new needs, what are some ways that your team at Gudel is working to evolve and keep pace with that?

Brenda Courim:
Yeah, I think that the best thing that we do is the fact that we've noticed such a huge change an expansion in robotics and automation to bigger, more complex, heavier payloads. If anybody's been to Automate, you've probably seen a robot that's moving a car around, and we've needed to find ways to adapt to that. In fact, one of our tracks that we have can actually move that very large robot with the car on it. So it tells you what kind of level of complexity and design ability that we have to have in order to meet those demands and those needs. We've also seen that there has been growth both in cobots. And while that's not necessarily our area, because we usually go with the more industrial large, it is still a growth area where we can work in parallel with them. We can understand what their needs are, and then we can work on the more industrial end of things. So in the end it's really more about increasing that capability, increasing options, and coming up with unique designs, working directly with our customer base and our supplier base and seeing what we can provide and designing customized solutions for them as needed for unique applications.

Brenda Courim:
We've got ones where we can now hang robots upside down on tracks overhead. And years ago, that would have just scared everybody. And now it's become a huge benefit to us. We can get on top of different large assets without having to build complete structures and that kind of thing. So it helps the customer and the manufacturers optimize their floor space and extend their reach. So it's really just trying to listen to the problems that our customer has. And they come to us and then we come up with creative solutions. And that kind of ties into, like I said, we are at Automate, and we will be there this year and we have a new presentation that we're doing there. I kind of mentioned it to you, Amanda, where we're presenting on extending that reach of the sixth axis robot by moving them on that seventh axis and more of tracks and gantries. So that's a presentation that's going to be happening at Automate this year, which is I'm hopeful for people to better understand our industry.

Amanda Del Buono:
Yeah, that's going to be really interesting. I'm really looking forward to Automate in Chicago this year. So it's going to be right in our neck of the woods. We don't have to go too far. So you kind of mentioned some of these new, evolving things that you guys are working on. In what industries are you seeing some of these take traction and just to kind of couple up with that, are there any that you think are really particularly interesting?

Brenda Courim:
Yes, actually, this is kind of where I get excited a lot of times. That's where my geeky engineer comes out. But as everybody's aware, in the last number of years, we've shifted more to online shopping. A lot of it's tied to COVID, during and after. And what's evolved from there is these very large warehouses that are relying heavily on that automation for the handling of inventory, picking and placing things around, moving packaging for shipping. And so that area has really exploded for us, and then in a not as great way, we have seen a growth in defense and aerospace, just a lot of it due to that instability in the world. We've been involved with that sector of the market. And in helping them with these large, large assets in order to do painting, to do a lot of different aspects of their market. And so again, it all comes back to that large complexity. The EV market is growing as we've seen. And so we play a pivotal role there in the battery production, the assembly lines as examples. But the one that I find probably the most interesting to me, that I just think is really, really cool, is that we are getting gantries and tracks into the higher-level education institutes, the different universities, and they're working to develop large-platform robotics labs for R&D that industry is working with them on. And so that's really helping us to develop beyond, is getting it into these universities. And that's been kind of a nice change. When I was first told about it, I was a little surprised, but then it made a lot of sense. And I think that's a great area to expose people to what automation is too at a younger age.

Amanda Del Buono:
That ties us back to the beginning of attracting these young people, and young women specifically, to these kinds of jobs. That's an age when a lot of kids don't know what they're doing. When they first start going to school. They aren't sure. So having the opportunity and seeing something really cool in person. It does more than any amount of words could ever . . .

Brenda Courim:
Exactly. You can only look at so many videos. You can only look at so many things. When you see it in front of you and it's just massive and doing all these things, it's exciting.

Amanda Del Buono:
It's always cool. I always get really excited any time we hear about companies working with education, that's always so great. In fact, Automate did that last year, and I think they're doing another day again this year where they're bringing in students. So that'll be very cool to get to show them some of those things at the event. So anyway, Gudel is a company — you have many customers around the world. I kind of wanted to touch on your partnerships. How have your partnerships helped Gudel to grow and reach new applications and new customers?

Brenda Courim:
Yeah. So, as we've mentioned a couple of times now, we're obviously a global company. A lot of our customers are global customers, especially in automotive and others. And so what we've been able to do is to partner up with some of these. And when a plant opens in one location, we work with them locally at that location, around the world. And then if they expand into other areas, within Gudel, we would work with our team internally there to show them what we did in the first one and then we can expand on it if the need is different, but we work with them and we partner them up locally and give them support even within our supply base. So outside of just us, we build those those partnerships and the trust that they know that they're going to get a great product with us and they want to keep moving forward. And they recommend us to their other locations. We recommend our team to go and look at that and see what they're doing there to grow within our company, because the other thing we have at our company is each of the manufacturing locations kind of specialize.

Brenda Courim:
We all do our standard product, our catalog, but we also tend to specialize, like in the U.S., it's in material, sheet handling, that kind of thing. And then in Germany, they deal more with rail and tire areas. So each of our locations has a specialty. So when anywhere globally comes to us, we know where our strengths are and where our resources are, and we bring them in and work together with them to support that other location. The other benefit we do have with being global, and it's more of an internal partnership again, is the fact that when one location faces challenges, whether it's material, supply chain, whether it's capacity issues, a different location can support us maybe with a build of a specific product or getting us material when we couldn't get it locally. And so we're filling those gaps for each other. And then we're also doing that for our customers in the same way. So that's a lot of where we build our partnerships is a lot of times with those global customers or with integrators that know other integrators. So that helps us to grow and to learn what people need.

Amanda Del Buono:
Absolutely. Awesome. Well, is there anything else that we didn't touch on that you wanted to mention?

Brenda Courim:
Yeah, I guess I kind of want to bring it back to the beginning of this conversation. We've definitely come a long way with women in any STEM, in general, industry. We still have a long way to go. Looking back, when you asked me to do this, I was nervous. Still nervous. That's okay. But if this was at the beginning of my career, I was not confident enough in myself. There's just no way I would have been able to do this. And it was just because I would have felt like I was being asked because I was the woman or for the wrong reasons. I also didn't want to set myself apart from my male colleagues by being a part of something like this at the time, because I didn't want them thinking that. So I'm glad that we're doing it. I'm glad that I'm a part of it. I do feel like we do need to do more mentoring and support of the younger, coming out of college, but I do see more acceptance in the workforce and in industry. And actually I see that people are even seeing women in industry as a benefit, because we do look at things differently a lot of times, not all the time. But I think in good ways. So I guess I just wanted to thank you because I am very proud to be a part of this, but I want to show that while we've come a long way in 30 years, the fact that we're still doing podcasts like this does say that we still have some ways to go. And I'm just glad that I'm able to be a part of that.

Amanda Del Buono:
Absolutely. And I'm really grateful that you were able to be here and that I was able to meet you at Business Forum and we've been able to to talk about some of these things. And it's been a pleasure having you on the show today. I really appreciate it.

Amanda Del Buono:
Well, to everybody watching, thank you so much for joining us for this discussion. We really appreciate it. If you are interested in catching up on any of our past episodes or if you'd be interested in joining us for an upcoming episode, please visit Manufacturing dash Matters.com and give us a shout. Until then, we'll talk soon.

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Amanda Del Buono: [00:00:00] Good afternoon. Welcome back to Manufacturing Matters, a podcast from Tech B2B Marketing. This is a podcast where we aim to get at the heart of automation technology and how it plays into the manufacturing industry. I am Amanda Del Buono. Today I have the pleasure of being joined by Brenda Courim, head of sales, robotics, and components at Gudel. Hi, Brenda. Thanks for being here today.

Brenda Courim: [00:00:23] Hi Amanda. I’m really glad I could join you. 

Amanda Del Buono: [00:00:27] Awesome. I’m really glad to have you. So to kick things off, can you kind of just start by telling our listeners a little bit about Gudel, what you do there?

Brenda Courim: [00:00:41] Absolutely, absolutely. So Gudel is a family-owned company. The third generation of the family that is now the owners of it. They’re based out of Switzerland, and they’ve been in existence for about 70 years now. But the main products that we offer are very high-quality linear motion tracks, gantries, and components for the market that we’re in. Typically my company, we work with integrators, line builders, and the line builders are more for the components end, the integrators are for our tracks. And then we do get into more complex projects direct with OEMs. At Gudel we have, besides the Switzerland office, we have five other manufacturing locations globally, one of which is the one that I work at in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And we have 45,000 square feet of manufacturing space there. And the U.S. location manufactures for the U.S. and the Canadian markets. And at our location we have the full engineering, design, manufacturing, and customer support. Globally, we do have 21 locations that also deal with sales and service outside of our manufacturing locations. For me personally, I’m head of sales for the robotics and, like you mentioned, the components business unit. I’ve been with Gudel for three years now. My team consists of six territory managers across the U.S. and Canada. I also have four application engineers that support our account managers and our customers, and we bring them out to the customer since we know a lot of our products are very technical, and they give that support externally and internally to our teams.

Amanda Del Buono: [00:02:33] Awesome. That’s a great review of Gudel and what you do there. You and I met back at Business Forum in January, and you told me about your history in engineering and being an engineering student. I’m kind of curious, what brought you here, what sparked your interest in engineering? As a female, getting into automation isn’t always the normal track to go.

Brenda Courim: [00:03:01] It’s definitely not. There’s a couple of key points that came up in my history. And one of them I didn’t really realize until later in life. I remember one year I got a Christmas present. It was a bike. And you’d think I’d be all excited about this and my first bike. And I was really disappointed that my parents had already put it together by the time I got it. I liked tinkering with things and trying to problem solve and figure it out. But the biggest, biggest impact to me was when I graduated from high school. I knew I really liked math and science, specifically physics. But I didn’t know what to do with it. I knew I didn’t want to teach. It just wasn’t the thing that drove me. And so I was talking with my dad, and he suggested a couple other things. He suggested accounting. He suggested actuary, different things, more math related. And then he made the comment, “Well, why don’t you be an engineer?” And this is when I’m going to date myself a lot, I didn’t know what that was. And my understanding of an engineer is you drove a train, so I had to ask him, and I did, and he started trying to explain it to me, and I just thought this was the coolest thing I’d ever heard of. But then my dad actually told me, “Go do research on it.” And again dating myself, that meant that I went to the library, opened the card catalog, found books on engineering, and tried to understand what it was all about. And again, I was just enchanted by it, started up at college with it, and just never looked back. So it kind of was an interesting way of falling into it.

Amanda Del Buono: [00:04:53] Did you expect to end up to do the things that you have done when you were first learning about engineering like that?

Brenda Courim: [00:05:03] No, I really didn’t, because I did mechanical engineering and that was for a reason. I did it because it was the most broad area and I could touch it and feel it. I always felt like electrical, not so much. And I was too afraid of blowing things up in chemical. So I kind of stuck with my comfort level. And I still didn’t know exactly what that would mean. And I graduated from University of Michigan and over in the Detroit area, it’s all about automotive. So I kind of got my start there, and it just kind of progressed off of that. But no, it wasn’t necessarily a known plan going into it.

Amanda Del Buono: [00:05:43] Automotive is obviously one of the leaders in automation, especially historically speaking. Well, so I mentioned that we met at Business Forum, and it was interesting because we were seeing a lot of women there. They had their first Women in Automation event during that, and I was just curious from you: What has it been like to see that evolve? You’ve been in this space for quite a while, all these years. This is the first time A3 has been able to do that. So to me that kind of signals that there might be a paradigm shift going on here where we’re seeing enough women now in flux in this space.

Brenda Courim: [00:06:30] I think it’s really evolved. I will say, where I started out, I really was lucky because when I was at university, I ended up having three close female friends who also ended up being my roommates. And we were all in the same program and supported each other, but in every single one of my classes, if I had one or two other women in there, that was about the extent of it. There just weren’t a lot. But we did support each other. A lot didn’t have that. But once I entered the workforce, I really did always feel like I had this need to prove myself more than my male colleagues. Whether it was true or not, I just got the impression that others assumed I was filling a quota. And in fact, and I know it was meant in passing and as a positive thing, but about 15 years ago, at my previous company, not this one, after I was hired and I got to know my my manager, he made the comment to let me know that I was hired for my abilities but that it also made him look good because he hired a female engineer.

Brenda Courim: [00:07:44] And while I know he meant that as a positive, it really wasn’t. It was more of a pointing out . . . and still having to point that out. And that was 15 years ago. And I think even since then it’s been a much better trajectory, at least from what I’ve seen. And the younger women coming into the workforce. I do think we’re we’re doing better. In fact, at Gudel we have a number of women in key positions. Out of our office in Ann Arbor, three of our seven directors are women. And when I started at the company, which was three years ago, our director of engineering was a woman, and I just kind of looked at that as: that’s incredible. And the best part for me is that our headquarters in Switzerland, our CEO is Gwendolyn Gudel. So I find that to be inspiring at the company, to show that people are looking for the best person for the job. regardless, and I see that as we still have to break down barriers and it’s still a work in progress, but I do think that it’s gotten much better.

Amanda Del Buono: [00:08:52] That’s cool to hear that when you came on board even there was such an even distribution of those higher-ranking roles male to female. Now you’re kind of in a management role now. I am curious how some of those experiences like you had just mentioned, how have things like that informed how you look at your management style and how you work with your employees whether they’re male or female? 

Brenda Courim: [00:09:24] For me, I think the best thing that I’ve gotten out of my history is learning which managers I thought were best, and it wasn’t necessarily the manager that was best for me. I had a really great manager that was great for me but he wasn’t great for others. So I really found that the best managers were the ones that adapted to the employee and what they needed. So I’ve really tried to make that a conscious effort that I don’t just put everybody into one category and how I’m going to manage them. I look at what works best for them. And so I’m constantly trying to evolve that. And with my role, especially because I’m remote, most of my team is remote, trying to stay in constant contact and then getting hit by things left and right. I would love to actually check things off my list every day, but I think that more things go on than come off most of the time. But I do find that things change daily, hourly even, and you just have to be able to adapt to it.

Brenda Courim: [00:10:35] And so finding that balance is, I think, one of the things that I’ve really tried to focus on and keeping in contact with my team, making sure they have what they need to do their jobs. And I do believe I bring an empathy that I haven’t seen always in my managers. That plays how I am, and some may say that’s woman versus man. I don’t know that I always agree with that. I think that it can be that way. But I do think that helps me to try to listen to my team better and support them. It’s always a work in progress. I can’t always get them what they need, but I always try to listen and support them. I think that’s been a big approach for my management style is being able to adjust, adapt, listen, and give the support that each individual needs, not as a collective group.

Amanda Del Buono: [00:11:34] Looking at people as unique people is helpful whether you’re doing sales or management. We’re all different. Well, I did want to make sure that we hit on some automation manufacturing questions as well while we’re here because I’m sure everyone wants to hear what’s going on at Gudel. So as automation systems are evolving to suit new tasks and fit new needs, what are some ways that your team at Gudel is working to evolve and keep pace with that?

Brenda Courim: [00:12:13] Yeah, I think that the best thing that we do is the fact that we’ve noticed such a huge change an expansion in robotics and automation to bigger, more complex, heavier payloads. If anybody’s been to Automate, you’ve probably seen a robot that’s moving a car around, and we’ve needed to find ways to adapt to that. In fact, one of our tracks that we have can actually move that very large robot with the car on it. So it tells you what kind of level of complexity and design ability that we have to have in order to meet those demands and those needs. We’ve also seen that there has been growth both in cobots. And while that’s not necessarily our area, because we usually go with the more industrial large, it is still a growth area where we can work in parallel with them. We can understand what their needs are, and then we can work on the more industrial end of things. So in the end it’s really more about increasing that capability, increasing options, and coming up with unique designs, working directly with our customer base and our supplier base and seeing what we can provide and designing customized solutions for them as needed for unique applications.

Brenda Courim: [00:13:50] We’ve got ones where we can now hang robots upside down on tracks overhead. And years ago, that would have just scared everybody. And now it’s become a huge benefit to us. We can get on top of different large assets without having to build complete structures and that kind of thing. So it helps the customer and the manufacturers optimize their floor space and extend their reach. So it’s really just trying to listen to the problems that our customer has. And they come to us and then we come up with creative solutions. And that kind of ties into, like I said, we are at Automate, and we will be there this year and we have a new presentation that we’re doing there. I kind of mentioned it to you, Amanda, where we’re presenting on extending that reach of the sixth axis robot by moving them on that seventh axis and more of tracks and gantries. So that’s a presentation that’s going to be happening at Automate this year, which is I’m hopeful for people to better understand our industry.

Amanda Del Buono: [00:14:57] Yeah, that’s going to be really interesting. I’m really looking forward to Automate in Chicago this year. So it’s going to be right in our neck of the woods. We don’t have to go too far. So you kind of mentioned some of these new, evolving things that you guys are working on. In what industries are you seeing some of these take traction and just to kind of couple up with that, are there any that you think are really particularly interesting?

Brenda Courim: [00:15:30] Yes, actually, this is kind of where I get excited a lot of times. That’s where my geeky engineer comes out. But as everybody’s aware, in the last number of years, we’ve shifted more to online shopping. A lot of it’s tied to COVID, during and after. And what’s evolved from there is these very large warehouses that are relying heavily on that automation for the handling of inventory, picking and placing things around, moving packaging for shipping. And so that area has really exploded for us, and then in a not as great way, we have seen a growth in defense and aerospace, just a lot of it due to that instability in the world. We’ve been involved with that sector of the market. And in helping them with these large, large assets in order to do painting, to do a lot of different aspects of their market. And so again, it all comes back to that large complexity. The EV market is growing as we’ve seen. And so we play a pivotal role there in the battery production, the assembly lines as examples. But the one that I find probably the most interesting to me, that I just think is really, really cool, is that we are getting gantries and tracks into the higher-level education institutes, the different universities, and they’re working to develop large-platform robotics labs for R&D that industry is working with them on. And so that’s really helping us to develop beyond, is getting it into these universities. And that’s been kind of a nice change. When I was first told about it, I was a little surprised, but then it made a lot of sense. And I think that’s a great area to expose people to what automation is too at a younger age.

Amanda Del Buono: [00:17:37] That ties us back to the beginning of attracting these young people, and young women specifically, to these kinds of jobs. That’s an age when a lot of kids don’t know what they’re doing. When they first start going to school. They aren’t sure. So having the opportunity and seeing something really cool in person. It does more than any amount of words could ever . . . 

Brenda Courim: [00:18:05] Exactly. You can only look at so many videos. You can only look at so many things. When you see it in front of you and it’s just massive and doing all these things, it’s exciting.

Amanda Del Buono: [00:18:14] It’s always cool. I always get really excited any time we hear about companies working with education, that’s always so great. In fact, Automate did that last year, and I think they’re doing another day again this year where they’re bringing in students. So that’ll be very cool to get to show them some of those things at the event. So anyway, Gudel is a company — you have many customers around the world. I kind of wanted to touch on your partnerships. How have your partnerships helped Gudel to grow and reach new applications and new customers?

Brenda Courim: [00:18:53] Yeah. So, as we’ve mentioned a couple of times now, we’re obviously a global company. A lot of our customers are global customers, especially in automotive and others. And so what we’ve been able to do is to partner up with some of these. And when a plant opens in one location, we work with them locally at that location, around the world. And then if they expand into other areas, within Gudel, we would work with our team internally there to show them what we did in the first one and then we can expand on it if the need is different, but we work with them and we partner them up locally and give them support even within our supply base. So outside of just us, we build those those partnerships and the trust that they know that they’re going to get a great product with us and they want to keep moving forward. And they recommend us to their other locations. We recommend our team to go and look at that and see what they’re doing there to grow within our company, because the other thing we have at our company is each of the manufacturing locations kind of specialize.

Brenda Courim: [00:20:11] We all do our standard product, our catalog, but we also tend to specialize, like in the U.S., it’s in material, sheet handling, that kind of thing. And then in Germany, they deal more with rail and tire areas. So each of our locations has a specialty. So when anywhere globally comes to us, we know where our strengths are and where our resources are, and we bring them in and work together with them to support that  other location. The other benefit we do have with being global, and it’s more of an internal partnership again, is the fact that when one location faces challenges, whether it’s material, supply chain, whether it’s capacity issues, a different location can support us maybe with a build of a specific product or getting us material when we couldn’t get it locally. And so we’re filling those gaps for each other. And then we’re also doing that for our customers in the same way. So that’s a lot of where we build our partnerships is a lot of times with those global customers or with integrators that know other integrators. So that helps us to grow and to learn what people need.

Amanda Del Buono: [00:21:33] Absolutely. Awesome. Well, is there anything else that we didn’t touch on that you wanted to mention?

Brenda Courim: [00:21:41] Yeah, I guess I kind of want to bring it back to the beginning of this conversation. We’ve definitely come a long way with women in any STEM, in general, industry. We still have a long way to go. Looking back, when you asked me to do this, I was nervous. Still nervous. That’s okay. But if this was at the beginning of my career, I was not confident enough in myself. There’s just no way I would have been able to do this. And it was just because I would have felt like I was being asked because I was the woman or for the wrong reasons. I also didn’t want to set myself apart from my male colleagues by being a part of something like this at the time, because I didn’t want them thinking that. So I’m glad that we’re doing it. I’m glad that I’m a part of it. I do feel like we do need to do more mentoring and support of the younger, coming out of college, but I do see more acceptance in the workforce and in industry. And actually I see that people are even seeing women in industry as a benefit, because we do look at things differently a lot of times, not all the time. But I think in good ways. So I guess I just wanted to thank you because I am very proud to be a part of this, but I want to show that while we’ve come a long way in 30 years, the fact that we’re still doing podcasts like this does say that we still have some ways to go. And I’m just glad that I’m able to be a part of that.

Amanda Del Buono: [00:23:24] Absolutely. And I’m really grateful that you were able to be here and that I was able to meet you at Business Forum and we’ve been able to to talk about some of these things. And it’s been a pleasure having you on the show today. I really appreciate it.

Amanda Del Buono: [00:23:39] Well, to everybody watching, thank you so much for joining us for this discussion. We really appreciate it. If you are interested in catching up on any of our past episodes or if you’d be interested in joining us for an upcoming episode, please visit Manufacturing dash Matters.com and give us a shout. Until then, we’ll talk soon.