CAREER STORY MANUELA
HOW DID YOU COME INTO THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY?
I graduated about four years ago as an electronic engineer in Rome. After my masters I moved to Turin for my first working experience. I applied for a position in a multinational consulting company located in Turin and as an intern I followed a training named School of Automotive. There also was one course of functional safety. I had never heard about functional safety before, but after this training I started working as a functional safety engineer by chance.
SO, BY CHANCE! DO YOU LIKE WORKING IN FUNCTIONAL SAFETY?
Yeah, I really like working in functional safety because this topic is quite new in the automotive industry. This kind of work gives me the opportunity to see the whole life cycle of a project. Starting from the concept phase to the realization of the project to the implementation. It’s really interesting and not just focused on one activity - like software- or hardware development. So yeah, it's really nice!
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON CURRENTLY?
Currently I'm working for a new car manufacturer, which is developing a cutting-edge system. It's basically a system made up of three solar panels that gather the solar energy and convert it into electrical energy and then try to convert it into electrical energy to be stored into a low voltage battery. It's a really interesting and innovative project, because the aim is to make the car more sustainable and efficient. It's really challenging, but at the same time also interesting, super interesting!
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE IMPLEMENTING FUNCTIONAL SAFETY IN SUCH A NEW PRODUCT LIKE THIS?
Well, it's a completely new architecture. I have never worked with solar panels before, so for me it was at first a bit challenging to study this new architecture, but also with the support of my functional safety manager Ruud I had the opportunity to gain more knowledge about these kinds of systems.
"MY AMBITION IS TO BECOME A RECOGNIZED EXPERT IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY"
"This is my first work experience abroad"
HOW DID YOU JOIN BRACE?
I’ve met my current colleague Miriam during my previous experience in Turin. We were colleagues in the same company. She asked if I was interested in BRACE when I was curious for new job opportunities. It wasn't difficult to choose for BRACE.
HOW WAS IT TO MAKE THE MOVE TO THE NETHERLANDS?
It was the first experience abroad for me. I was a bit afraid but at the same time it was a challenge. I decided to try it for my boyfriend as well. We were living in Turin together and then he decided to move to Eindhoven for work. He is working in an automotive company so I convinced myself to join him also here in the Netherlands.
HOW WAS THE SUPPORT FROM BRACE WHEN YOU GOT ON BOARD?
Well, the team in BRACE is amazing. People are genuine and they try to get you involved from the first moment. Jelle was the first person that I met. He is really easy-going and supportive. He gave me all the information before my move and, I think that BRACE did a good job for me.
DID YOU FACE ANY CHALLENGES WITH THE DUTCH CULTURE?
Well, maybe, the first time that I met Dutch people I noticed that Dutch people are really direct in comparison to Italians. I think that this is a quality. Italians are really diplomatic, so they prefer to talk around the problem instead of going straight to the point. In general I get along with everybody here, also the Dutch people. They are really easy-going, openminded, so I don't have any problems. I also noticed that Dutch people are really open with the language. For instance in Italy people speak only Italian, also with the foreigners.
DID YOU NOTICE ANY DIFFERENCES IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY WORKING IN ITALY VERSUS THE NETHERLANDS?
During my previous work experience in Italy, I worked on different projects at the same time. It was like the more projects you work on the better it is for the company. Which was the reason why I was feeling a little under pressure and stressed. I think it's a privilege with consultancies that we can have more focus.
AND HOW ABOUT YOUR COLLEAGUES? DO YOU LIKE YOUR COLLEAGUES?
Yeah, we have a good connection and we are really close. We try to organize a lot of team buildings, which is a good thing in my opinion. I guess it's also the strength of BRACE, right? I think that everyone of us has a specific skill and the strength is that we share our skills to grow together.
DO RECEIVE GOOD TECHNICAL HELP FROM YOUR COLLEAGUES?
Oh. Yeah, absolutely. For instance my functional safety manager helped me a lot, especially the first moment when I had to understand the architecture of the system better. But in general, all the team members give me a hand when I need it.
AND WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU SEE AS A FUNCTIONAL SAFETY ENGINEER? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO IMPROVE WITH YOURSELF?
I'd like to gain more experience in functional safety, especially in the software because I have a background in electronics. Currently I have much more knowledge about hardware stuff. My ambition is to become an technical expert.
FINALLY, LET’S ZOOM IN ON THE MORE TECHNICAL PART, WHAT IS YOUR SPECIALITY?
I am more specialized in the concept definition and the hardware development (parts 3, 4 ,5 of the ISO26262). During my previous experience I used to work especially with the safety analysis like the FMEDA (Failure Modes, Effects and Diagnostic Analysis) It's a bit challenging safety analysis, because you have to analyze schematics and define all the failure modes of specific components. So you have to have specific knowledge of component failure modes.. So I’m kind of a specialist in safety analysis.