So far, our Spotlight on Super series at our Phoenix division has featured employees who have spent 10, 15, even 30 years with the company. For this installment, we’ll take a look at a Super employee on the other end of that spectrum – newly hired Quality Manager, Crystal Smith, who has been making a splash since her hiring in February of 2022.
Rather than manufacturing, Crystal came to SRC from the mechanical engineering world. We recently sat down with Crystal to learn more about what that transition is like, how her skillset translates, and how she came to work at Super Radiator Coils.
Q: Where are you from? Where is home to you?
CS: I grew up in a tiny little town in New Mexico called Jarales. We lived on a farm with about 140 acres. We grew alfalfa and winter wheat along with about 30 cattle, llamas, goats, chickens, and horses. My parents ran a little rescue that would take in abused animals and help treat them. Once they were ready, there was a place in Taos, New Mexico that would take them in long-term.
Q: How did you end up as a mechanical engineer? Have you always had an interest in the mechanics behind how things worked?
CS: Well, little high school me loved math and I thought “I want to be a math teacher.” But my teacher said, “Why don’t you try engineering?” On the farm I was always working on tractors and stuff and keeping them up and running. So, I chose mechanical engineering.
Crystal started college in home state, as did some of her friends from Jarales, but after graduating she found herself fighting against a soft job market in New Mexico, leading her to consider a change of scenery.
Q: What brought you to Phoenix?
CS: So, I transferred from my previous school to Arizona State. I noticed a lot of my friends that were graduating from my previous school weren’t finding jobs. Now that I’m on the outside, I think a lot of them were afraid to leave home so that’s why it seemed like nobody was finding jobs. But young me was like, “that’s not going to be me.” So, I transferred to ASU.
It wasn't long after moving to the valley that Crystal found herself starting down a career path in mechanical engineering.
CS: So, I moved to Phoenix on July 1st and by July 14th I was starting my internship with a manufacturer in the aerospace industry, which is how I got into aerospace. Then, I went on to work as a manufacturing engineer for that company.
While she was glad to gain the experience of working at her previous company, some cultural shortcomings prompted her to look for leads on a new job. And, as it turns out, she didn’t need to look very far.
Q: How did you end up at SRC? What’s the story there?
CS: So, funny story. My boyfriend used to work here, and we were talking about employers, and he said he really liked Super and considered dropping out of school and staying here. He was working for SRC during the pandemic while his school was temporarily closed, and he loved it. But he decided to go back to school and I’m glad he did because he actually just graduated two weeks ago. But then, a recruiter called me a few days after having that conversation and said he had a good career opportunity for me. That opportunity just so happened to be Quality Manager at SRC.
Q: What was it about SRC that convinced you to join the team? What stood out to you?
CS: Every person that I talked to when I was on the shop tour – all the brazers, the people in assembly – they all seemed genuinely happy to be there. And coming from a place like the one I was at, and I think I’m pretty good at reading people, but you can tell when someone is faking it and clearly happy to not be there.
But here, everyone just seemed so happy and honored to work here and I was like, “that’s where I want to work.” It was an eye-opening experience to me, but I really think it was I needed in my life. And, also, I liked that Tyler (VP of Operations Tyler Johnson) was so involved and I came from a place where the GM literally never set foot on the shop floor. And in the 12 weeks or so that I’ve been here, it’s been great.
Q: Similarly, what is one thing about SRC that you’d tell someone who was considering joining the team?
CS: If you want to work for a place that's going to support you and help you feel like you serve a great purpose, this is the place.
Q: So, that covers some of your work life. What about Crystal outside of work? What do you like to do for fun?
CS: Well, I’m really into weightlifting. I wouldn’t call myself a power lifter, but I definitely try to lift as much as I can. I was trying for 300 [deadlift] but kind of tweaked my back so now I’m kind of starting over but I’m determined to get it this year.
And I’ve got my cat, but he’s really more like a dog. He loves to play fetch, I take him for walks and he absolutely loves water. He’s all about it.
If you’d like to know more about working at SRC, be sure to stop by our Careers Homepage to learn more about who we are, what we make, and where we work. And stop by our job listings page to see our open positions. Manufacturing experience is preferred, but not required. If you’ve got a positive attitude and a good work ethic, we’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading.