"To me, taking ownership in your career means defining what it is you want to do and making the right moves to get there." – Jakeline Jungbluth, Sales & Engineering Manager, ITW Powertrain Components
For Jakeline Jungbluth, Sales & Engineering Manager at ITW Powertrain Components within ITW’s Automotive segment, having an engineering degree doesn’t mean only working as an engineer. Since joining ITW, Jakeline has worked in sales, engineering, operations and analytics. Taking ownership of her career has allowed Jakeline to excel in multiple areas while developing into a well-rounded leader within her business.
What are the different roles you have had at ITW, and how did you get to the position you’re in today?
I started with ITW by doing two different internships. After college graduation, I started as a Manufacturing Engineer. I was in that role for about six months until I was presented with a new opportunity.
I became the 80/20 Analyst for the same division and worked in that role for about two years. In that position, I led many Toolbox projects in our six facilities, conducted 80/20 trainings and obtained a strong understanding of how 80/20 works and how it is used at ITW to succeed.
It was a very interesting role that allowed me to do more continuous improvement while also being exposed to areas like financial reporting and sales forecasting. A few years later, I accepted a role as a Sales & Engineering Manager, which is where I am today. Here, I have a lot of interaction with customers and I am able to understand their needs. This role has also allowed me to see the business from the commercial side and be more involved with the strategy behind product development to meet our customers’ needs.
What is a typical day for you? What are some exciting or unique parts of your job?
It is hard to say what a typical day in the life of a Sales & Engineering Manager is because it is very different every day! I take care of quoting new products for our core customers, which means I work with engineering at the customer and internal level. I also work with ITW sourcing and the customer to truly understand their needs. Seeing a new custom product for customers come to life is super cool, but what is most exciting about my position is the negotiation. I enjoy the creativity that comes with putting together our proposal.
Have you faced any challenges in your career?
When I was in my role as an 80/20 Analyst, my task was to establish a model factory. That was a very challenging role because it was about eight months after I had started with ITW and I was still learning 80/20 myself. My job was to go to one of our facilities to establish a model factory and show them the power of 80/20 and the ITW Business Model.
My first approach was very direct and did not work well. I had a conversation with our human resources team who helped me understand that I should approach my role differently—by showing my peers how I could help them and in turn make their job easier. By facing this challenge, I was able to develop valuable influencing skills, a tool I still use today.
What is the best thing about working at ITW?
I have really enjoyed the utilization of ITW’s Employee Resource Groups. ITW’s Young Professionals Network and Women’s Network have made a huge impact on me. There are so many people I relate to in both groups, and many have become my mentors throughout my career at ITW.
Another thing I really love about ITW, and a reason why I chose to work for the company, is that from the start, the people have really taken care of me. I graduated college a lot later than my peers, and I really appreciated that ITW gave me the chance at an entry-level role.
During my entire career here, ITW has been great at preparing me for my next position by helping me grow and develop professionally. Even in my current role, the team gave me our largest automotive account, taught me what I needed to know, and trusted me to do a great job. They have always believed in my potential and have done an awesome job showing me what my full potential can truly be.
How did taking ownership of your career allow you to get where you are today?
To me, taking ownership of your career means defining what it is you want to do and making the right moves to get there. You need to take control of your career, set goals and answer that question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Without direction or a clear path, you can get lost and end up taking roles that may not lead you to your end goal.
My goal is to run a business and become a VP/GM at ITW. To get there, I know that both operations and commercial experience are keys to success. With that goal in mind, taking ownership of my career was essential from the start. I knew I needed to shape my experience and work in roles across multiple areas of the business to get there.
What advice do you have for young professionals about making the most of their careers?
Explore your options and don’t be afraid of something new! When I graduated with an engineering degree, I never in a million years thought I’d ever work in a sales position. But, I can say, my current sales role has been the most demanding role I’ve had and where I’ve seen the most professional growth!