Avy Sun Chunxia and Brandon Van Dyk – International careers at Vossloh
Excerpts from Interviews with Avy and Brandon
Hello Avy, you work for Vossloh in the Human Resources Department in China since September 2011. What did you do before you joined Vossloh?
Avy: I was working in the Shanghai Headquarters of an US-Group in the Human Resources Department leading a team of around eight or nine people.
What did you study before?
Avy: I studied Business English as my first major course. My dream was, to work for an international company. So I thought language will help and gave me the entry to international companies. Because I like to communicate with people, I choose Human Resources as my optional course learning to know how to deal with people.
Hello Brandon, since when do you work for Vossloh and what did you do before?
Brandon: Since September 2013. After school I first attended Calvin College in Michigan, where I received my bachelor’s degree, and then the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for my graduate studies. At both I studied civil and environmental engineering. I was always interested in the transportation industry, so I wanted to pursue a career in transportation engineering. I just always have been fascinated with the movement of people and the movement of goods. So, the transportation industry as a whole is always been something, that’s been interesting to me.
When did you hear about Vossloh for the first time?
Avy: In 2011. At that time, the growth of the construction of high-speed railway was very fast in China and Vossloh is a leading company in this industry.
Brandon: As part of my research as a graduate student, I conducted an international survey on concrete sleepers and fastening systems. I reached out to Vossloh while I was conducting that survey because Vossloh is obviously a very important player in that topic. We tried to catch
concrete sleepers and fastening systems groups all across the world. So Vossloh is definitely very important worldwide in that segment.
What were your expectations when you started at Vossloh?
Avy: Before I joined Vossloh, I worked for an engineering consulting company. Vossloh provides such good products, so this was a most attracting thing for me. My expectation was that I would have a new start in a new industry and Vossloh gave me this chance. My start at Vossloh was really good. Vossloh in Kunshan is a plant but everywhere you can find very kind colleagues, very comfortable and quite good working environment and very good colleague relationship. But most important is that you can always find support from your superior. If you have any questions or you need his support he gives it to you and he will give you the trust. This is the most important thing to work happily.
Brandon: Basically I expected to join a very well respected, international company that is definitely known for superb german engineering and overall excellence in the products and who serves the railroad industry in whole.
Brandon, have your expectations been met?
How do you see your further development at Vossloh?
Brandon: In the future I’m looking forward to being able to take a larger role in the product development for the North American market. I’m really excited to get to take on that type of challenge and I’m also just excited to see how the company grows; as we take on more business, we’ll continue to add more people. With that expansion I’m looking forward to continuing the developing of management and personnel skills.
Avy: Actually I was in Germany for a Human Resources workshop. That was quite a good opportunity. Our topic was change-management because many things are changing now, internally and externally. I feel quite lucky
and honor to be a part of it to create such a personal development for all employees and also including myself.
What is the most challenging task for you?
Avy: For me, as a member of the HR-Department, our task is at first to be the bridge between employee and employer. The second thing is to create a better working environment and personal development for employees. And this purpose is to make people steady, make our key employees steady. The final purpose is to make the company attractive. I think this is the most difficult and the most challenging thing.
Brandon: I’ve found that it’s been a bit of a challenge working across international borders and time zones with different cultures and styles of doing things. It´s been a challenge but it’s been a pretty rewarding challenge and I’ve learned a lot about how international business is conducted.
What attracts you at your current job?
Brandon: I really enjoy working with the very talented international team on challenging and exciting projects. I enjoy seeing our product installed with customers and that they are satisfied with what’s been put into track. It’s rewarding when our clients appreciate our product that’s been installed because of its long life and excellent performance.
Avy: The answer might be similar to my expectations of Vossloh. It is the support which you can always have from your superior, the trust you have from your colleagues and their superiors and of course my future development which includes the challenges and opportunities for me to realize some ideas and try some new ideas.
Could you tell about your daily business?
Brandon: Sure. I work a lot with our sales team here in the US, often acting as a liaison between them and the engineering group in Werdohl. We have different requirements from various projects. I work with System Technology back in Werdohl to try to find products that will be solutions for those projects as well as working on developing new products. I haven’t done very much of that yet, so I’ve been trying to be involved with that product development process that’s going on already in Werdohl.
Avy: My daily work is to manage the whole steps for the employees from application to interview, career development, labour relation-ships, performance to performance appraisal, compensation packages, bonuses, everything. The most important thing we’ve started two years ago is the implementation and developing of our performance appraisal system in china. It’s quite welcome by the employees because they have the chance to get more payment. Those employees who see the gap in comparison with good performers will get help to improve themselves with an on job training. They will be trained in daily work by the group leaders or technical experienced people. If people have a lack of skills, we will arrange the trainings.
Have you any message which you would like to share with interested students?
Brandon: Yes. This is a really exciting time in the railway industry around the world with expending high speed, heavy haul and UTS (Urban Transport Systems) everywhere. So if any interested students want to be involved with this rapid growth and expansion, why not be involved with the company that is at the forefront as part of that growth in all three different segments around the world? It’s a really interesting and fantastic group to be a part of and you get to serve the railroad industry from a very unique perspective.
Avy: Of course, from my point of view Vossloh is an attractive place to work. We as Vossloh Fastening Systems China have very clear processes, very good polices which are keeping updated and you will get a good career development in both, technically and may be from management perspective if you would like. I would like to say again that the trust and support and the happily work is quite important. Not only for students who starts at Vossloh but also for everyone here. So this is all you can get, always.
Would you choose again for an entry at Vossloh?
Avy: Sure. Of course.
Brandon: Most definitely.
Herr Udo Schmude