“Trusting yourself is absolutely the most important thing.”
During her first decade at Kanthal in Shanghai, Eva Huang has benefited from the solutions-focused culture and advanced to Operations Manager. For those at the start of their careers, she has valuable advice: “Trust your colleagues, trust your boss, and trust yourself.”
Eva originally chose to study mechanical engineering and automation at Shanghai University because her teachers at school had praised her understanding of mathematics and physics. “I was young and didn’t know what I wanted to do,” she says, adding with a smile. “They pointed out that I wasn’t quite as good at chemistry.”
After her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, she added a master’s in industrial systems management in France, before returning to her native Shanghai. She was headhunted by Kanthal in 2013. “Life is full of chances, you just have to take them,” Eva says.
At the Shanghai Service Center, which produces Tubothal Elements and Metallic Elements for steel and heat treatment customers mainly in China, she began her work with QEHS & Sourcing. Because she had done two internships in France, Eva was familiar with the open-minded culture of many European companies. “At Kanthal, I appreciate that everyone at every level collaborates to solve problems, rather than spending energy focusing on workplace hierarchies,” she says.
During her first six years at the Service Center, she worked closely with the small number of operators and the on-site sales team, which was hugely helpful. “In contrast to large factories, where production is organized into smaller, specialized units, the size of the service center meant I got to know every process area and grasped the big picture quickly,” she says.
Eva was promoted to Operations Manager in 2020. “This role includes elements of engineering and management of industrial systems, which I had studied at university, but I felt I lacked experience,” she says. “But the transition went well because people here support each other and learn from each other.”
During the pandemic, access to hands-on training and in-person professional development has been limited. When restrictions eased, Eva took an on-site course to improve capacity planning.
For younger employees, she advises them to keep calm. “Kanthal will support you,” she says and then adds a piece of advice that’s important for everyone at the start of their career. “I’d like to reiterate the value of trusting yourself, which is absolutely the most important thing.”
About life at Kanthal