Quentin Mattiske is the Operations Manager for Arconic Fastening Systems in Clayton. He sat down with Monash Tech School to talk about his 34 years at the company and to share some wisdom he’s picked up during his career.
What does Arconic do?
Arconic is a manufacturer of speciality fasteners used in applications from truck building, to the aerospace, automotive, and electronics industries.
How did you get your start at Arconic?
It’s not something I really looked for at the time. I was looking for something to do and a friend of mine, who was working for Arconic, said ‘there’s an opportunity here. Do you want to come and try it out?’ I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I said I’d do it for three months, and 34 years later I’m still here.
What was your first role?
I had a production planning role to begin with. Then I moved into quality, then technical support, sales support, product development, and then into a more purchasing and logistics type role. Eventually I moved into this operations management role, which I’ve been doing for about eight years now.
How would you describe an ordinary day in your job?
My standard day starts with me checking my emails. We are dealing with companies overseas in different timezones, so in the morning there’ll be emails from Europe, the United States, and parts of Asia. A lot of my job is dealing with those customers and translating those requirements; not literally translating the language, but translating what they want into what we can do.
I then have daily meetings with all the production people, where everyone does a report on how we’re going on a day by day basis. I’m based in the office, but I’ll got out on the floor everyday to wander around and see what’s happening. It’s important to get out there and talk to the people.
Do you enjoy your job?
I like the many different parts of the role, and getting to deal with many different things, from production issues on the shop floor, to purchasing problems with suppliers, to dealing with customers from all different parts of the world. It’s really exciting and pretty unusual for a company of this size to be doing so many things in so many different countries. In this job you have to understand when you’re dealing with other countries what things are important, as they’re very different. If you’re dealing with someone in Japan as opposed to an American, it’s a very different way of doing business. Relationships are very important, and I’ve spent a lot of time building those personal relationships with those customers in Japan and Korea.
Do you speak another language?
No, I don’t. That’s one area I probably could have worked more on. My excuse has always been ‘which language do I learn?’ We’re lucky that English is the common business language around the world, so most companies have someone that will speak at least reasonable English.
What skills do you value in the workplace?
In this kind of company, it depends on the role. There’s some people that have specific technical skills, such as mechanical, electronic, and materials engineers, and we hire specifically for those engineering skills. And then there’s the basic things like being a good worker, being diligent, and tying to do the right thing, and they're really important. If someone is keen and diligent and willing to learn, that is really key. Often we don’t have to have people come in with a huge skillset, because if they’re willing to learn and they’ve got some aptitude, we’re willing to work with them.
If you could give one piece of advice to students who might want to work in a career field like this, what would you say to them?
Get some kind of a qualification. Whether it is a degree or a certificate, get a qualification, and then start looking. The process of learning and having the discipline to pursue the qualification can set you up for whatever you want to do in the future. Don’t be afraid to try different things and build up your skills. If there’s something that you’re set on doing, go and knock on doors; there are opportunities out there.