Meet our employee Azadeh Fazl
She finds demanding challenges inspiring.
“When I was 24, I decided it was time to do something that was fun,” says Azadeh Fazl.
At that point, she had graduated with a degree in engineering from the university in Tehran. Today, nine years later, she is involved in product development at Volvo Penta. She is still having fun, but a lost business card almost destroyed her future plans.
Azadeh has wanted to be an engineer for as long as she can remember.
“I’m very ambitious and driven. I like challenging myself by setting targets that are a little too difficult but still possible to realise if you really focus,” says Azadeh Fazl.
Her first job was with Statoil Iran, where she worked on the development of gas and oil fields, but her job also involved some visits to Stavanger in Norway. After 18 months at Statoil, Azadeh wanted to progress and study for a master’s degree. Abroad and preferably in the Nordic countries, she wanted to do something totally different from life at home in Iran. In the autumn of 2004, Azadeh started studying for a Master’s in Production & Operations Management at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg in Sweden.
“I’m an industrial engineer. It’s a combination of technology, economics and leadership. Simply sitting in front of a computer isn’t my thing. I like working with people, but you can also say that I also like working with machines!
“The first time I came in contact with the Volvo Group was when I was an examiner for a thesis on robust engineering. Robust engineering is an umbrella term for the working methods that are used to develop robust products. During the break, I talked to two men from the Volvo Group who thought I asked good questions. Just imagine if I had realised that one of them was going to be my boss and the other my colleague!
“On the way home, the unthinkable happened… I lost their business card. How stupid can you be? I really didn’t want to miss the opportunity and I simply had to find a solution. I then remembered that there was a function at the Volvo Group on the web where anyone was able to send in suggestions and ideas. I wrote down my thoughts on robust engineering and crossed my fingers that they would reach the right person.”
A few months later, Azadeh was at CHARM, the Chalmers student union’s labour market event, and guess who called her? Lars-Uno Roos, the person responsible for customer satisfaction at what was then known as Volvo 3P. The same person she had met when she was an examiner for the thesis. He wondered if Azadeh might be interested in continuing her master’s degree in collaboration with the Volvo Group.
“The idea was that I would take part in a six-month pilot project. It was a kind of secret and I wasn’t entirely sure that I would be able to write a master’s thesis on the subject. I remember thinking ‘I don’t care, I’ll take the job!’. And I definitely haven’t regretted it,” adds Azadeh.
After the pilot project, Azadeh spent two years working on robust engineering at Volvo 3P’s customer satisfaction department. She then changed to “lean” product development at Volvo Production System (VPS) at Volvo Technology. In simple terms, this means that she developed and implemented solutions for working as effectively as possible on product development.
“During my time working on the VPS, I was the customer contact for Volvo Penta and that was how I got to know my current boss. At Volvo Penta, I am running a project which is designed to enable us to work 30 per cent more effectively on product development and I am the team leader for a group working on the quality of our product development and the development of our operational processes.”
Azadeh radiates energy and she really needs it. In addition to working full time, she is an industrial post-graduate student, conducting research on operational development and change processes. She is planning to defend her thesis during the first quarter of 2014.
How on earth does she cope?
“Success gives me energy. I like setting challenging targets and then realising them. That gives me strength. My family, my partner and my beloved sister, she is simply the best, are always there and give me happiness and energy. Until 2010, I was extremely focused on my job, but then I started to understand that there were other things in life that were also valuable. I think I understood at that particular time because I found myself in a new situation – in Sweden, in my private life and at work.”