Bronco Spotlight: Luis Perez
Applications Engineer at Steelcase
My job at Steelcase as an Applications Engineer involves a lot of communication with users to identify key problems we are facing in the day-to-day operations. My primary focus is to provide support to the manufacturing and distribution systems on many of our custom and standard SAP applications. My entire team focus on continued improvement to all the plants and warehouses we have in North America including Michigan, Alabama, California, Monterrey, Reynosa, and others.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?
Steelcase is a great company to work for since you get to experience and interact with people all over the world. This brings complexity in terms of people having a good level of communication to make sure things are moving along and we are solving issues in a timely matter. For starters, I get to understand the multiple and very complicated business processes of every department. A technical roadblock has allowed me to learn a new programming environment and get comfortable with using it to solve business problems. Making a positive impact using technology is my main purpose. I know the work I’m doing is making an impact on many people and helping the company to unlock human promises in various ways.
If you had a campus job or internship, how did they impact your career development?
Before graduating from WMU, I was already investing a lot of my time into building meaningful relationships with professionals, which led me to enroll into a leadership program for Latinos, take a software development program, and grow as a person of color and leader. Another huge part of my success has been to start a company when I was 20 years old. I’m still managing the company, and we have grown so much in the past couple of months. The company pushed me to get out of my comfort zone, build relationships, become a better leader, and ultimately make a difference in the community through technology.
What advice do you have for others pursuing a career similar to yours?
While I have multiple advice to college students, I’m focusing on just four. (1) Find purpose in life; keep yourself extremely busy and always working on various projects until you find your passion. Once you find it, make a road map but leave enough space to be flexible for roadblocks. (2) When you learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable, you will enable yourself to take challenges, meet and work with others; it will take you places where you didn’t think about. (3) Don’t be afraid to fail while moving forward. As long as you and your goals are moving forward, failing will be part of it, and you need to embrace it. (4) Find a mentor and be a good mentee. How are you going to find a mentor? Do a lot of intentional networking and connect with people. It will take time and effort but eventually, you will start to identify a mentor. How do you become a good mentee? Have a purpose or having a mentor, share your goals and inspirations with your mentor, and make sure to respect each other's time and energy.