Karen Bomba, President of Smiths Interconnect, continues to build on her experience and learn new things every step of the way.
Moving into a management position at the age of 23 may have intimidated most young engineers. But not Karen Bomba, who relished the opportunity and was very soon supervising a team of 140 engineers – no mean feat for a recent college graduate.
Karen’s career is the embodiment of continuous learning, and she has not been afraid to take on new challenges. She says, “the key to a successful career in engineering is being open and collaborative, constantly seeking expertise elsewhere and working with other people.” This principle proved to be vital for the moves she made in her career between industry groups specialising in different technologies.
From starting on the engineering frontline – producing military aircraft for the US government – to leading some of the most high profile names in manufacturing and engineering, Karen is a powerhouse in her field and a shining example to women looking to forge successful careers in engineering.
Why engineering? “I loved working on my motorcycle, boat and car when I was growing up. I was also good at maths and physics at school, so it seemed like a natural progression.”
But the reality is that most young girls often don’t get to see the exciting side of engineering through studying STEM related subjects at school around the world. “Studies show that girls are dropping science and maths between the ages of 11-13 years old, so somehow we need to be getting to them younger to show them just how fun being an engineer is.”
In the early stages of her career, Karen tried her hand in safety and test equipment before going onto a rotational scheme where she worked in procurement, design and then manufacturing engineering. Her advice to young engineers is therefore to “continually try new things”, which is both the only way to ensure continuous learning and find out what you really love doing.
GIUSEPPE LANCELLAVP Global Sales Channel
I started my career in 1988 at Connei in Genoa, Italy – a manufacturer of high-reliability connectors that would later become Hypertac when acquired by Smiths Group in 1995. I started out as Automation and Operations Manager and by the time of the acquisition I was Managing Director. Joining the Smiths team, I was appointed as Europe President for the Smiths Connectors business, then VP Sales for EMEA, and most recently VP Global Sales Channel for the Smiths Interconnect division.
Smiths offered me the opportunity to be part of a global, reputable group. As the young Managing Director of a small company, I was impressed by the rigour and discipline in decision making of the leaders I met. Smiths invested in my development by funding an MBA, and since then training and opportunities to grow have never stopped.
I believe our mission is to serve our customers with innovative solutions and services enabling the success of their applications. My experience with demanding customers in very challenging markets like defence, space and medical, and now with the channel partners has proved that working in a consistent and transparent way is the only way to secure solid, profitable, long term relationships.
Smiths is a dynamic business that constantly offers opportunities to learn new skills on a global scale. Attention to people, high integrity and an ethical environment are the perfect place to be for talented people.
ALLYSSA SKIDMORESenior Project Manager
I joined Smiths as a Design Engineer in 2010 developing custom interconnect solutions for medical applications, and became the Senior Medical Design Engineer two years later. It was a thrilling role – coming up with new ideas and translating them into physical form for devices that may save lives.
In 2014 I crossed over to Project Management, where I was able to tackle some of the systemic issues that has frustrated me as an engineer in the New Product Development (NPD) team. It also introduced me to new technologies and new ways of doing things.
Fast-forward a few years and I'm now a certified Senior Project Manager for the Research, Development and Technology team. I'm still leading NPD teams for some complex global initiatives, and at the same time helping to build the framework that will enable the future successes of our cross-functional teams at Smiths Interconnect.
Our technologies enable our customers to tackle tough problems and bring new inventions to the world. I was excited to work on medical applications that could one day improve, or save, the life of someone I love.
Finding simple, elegant solutions to complex, meaningful problems is what drives me. Working with creative, motivated individuals from all over the world and all walks of life – coming together to achieve a common goal.
There's a wealth of opportunities at Smiths. You’ll be encouraged to grow within your existing
JED BENTZDirector of Enabling Technologies
My career journey started in a test lab. Beginning the path as a technician in a large company while studying to be a Mechanical Engineer was quite impactful: microscopic visibility of the design process generated a habit to question everything. Continuous improvement and challenging the status quo became second nature to me.
The experience and growth I gained in discovering, implementing and improving processes and products inspired me to go back to school. I decided to challenge myself and develop my skills with an MBA focused on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. It propelled my leadership growth and helped me approach things with humility – respecting the lessons of the past while building excitement and engagement for what could be possible in the future.
My Smiths journey started October 2017. To hear what the company was doing to align for innovation and technology growth was truly inspiring.
While many organisations talk about being innovative, few actually put the emphasis and investment in people to directly focus on it. Smiths has an amazing leadership team that has not only a vision, but a strategy and action for developing a culture of innovation – it gives an audience for the generation, acceptance, and funding of new, disruptive ideas.
Smiths is organised in a unique and rare fashion for progressing its people and technologies.
Find your voice. Be curious. Take advantage of the structure here and be a defining figure in the future of Smiths.
SUZIE HARDYDirector, Financial Planning and Analysis
Finance wasn't my first job after graduating with a Masters in Electrical and Electronic Engineering – but having always had a passion for Maths as well as Physics and IT, I decided that it was the path for me and so I joined the Smiths Finance Graduate Scheme.
I worked towards my CIMA accounting qualification whilst working full time and then moved through a series of finance roles – from Financial Analyst, to Treasury Manager, to Regional Shared Services Director and Divisional Financial Controller. Today, I am the Director of FP&A (Financial Planning and Analysis) for Smiths Interconnect, the third Smiths division I've worked in.
There’s always been another challenge to accept, and I haven’t had the same role for longer than two years. The opportunities available are huge, and that's what attracted me to Smiths in the first place. Smiths is also so diverse in terms of products, which I find fascinating, and I love learning about them.
My personal drive has always been to make things better, improve processes and increase efficiency which I’m allowed to explore in my role. What I love hearing about at work are the success stories for individuals, either with customers where they’ve been able to exceed the expectations or internally with job promotions.
I love the people at Smiths Group, that’s what has kept me here so long. If I was to offer one piece of advice for someone coming into a finance role is talk to people – get out and about and discover what’s going on with all the teams out there, you can’t understand the numbers if you don’t understand the business!