We sat down with EcoZoom Manufacturing Engineer Jerome Arul to learn more about his path to EcoZoom and how he’s making a difference, both within our company and with his students. Prepare to be inspired!
What do you do at EcoZoom?
To put it simply, I make sure new products in the pipeline move from concept to reality. This means I hand-hold new products through research and development, then nurture them through our intimate product development process: making sure our solutions are cost effective, timely, relatable, aspirational, safe and readily scalable. I also work closely with our manufacturers to ensure we hit volume on time and make sure the products are up to our stringent quality standards.
We’re happy to have you here! Can you tell us more about your path to EcoZoom?
Prior to EcoZoom, I worked at Mobius Motors in Nairobi. I met [EcoZoom co-founder] Phil
at a happy hour in Nairobi and did some consulting design work for EcoZoom, along with a variety of small, budding companies in the U.S. and Singapore, while I spent the summer traveling.
I was always into social development work, so when Phil came a-knocking, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to return to the social development sector and to build products that mattered – products that make a difference to the lives of thousands of families.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
I’d say the best part about my job is working with this team. It’s diverse, from all walks of life and backgrounds. The team is progressive and forward thinking – they tackle real problems on the ground in East Africa, in real time, with a refined business acumen. We work to build a product that makes everyone smile, including people on our team, our manufacturers and, of course, our end users. We get great feedback!
What about the most challenging?
Product development is a complex machine, and there are a lot of moving pieces, parts and people that need to be tightly integrated. Building a company and a product family that is mutually beneficial to every party involved is both the most challenging and the most rewarding part of my work.
You recently started co-teaching a collaborative course with the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Can you tell us more about that?
The course consists of a pool of undergrad and graduate students. It mixes industrial design RISD students with MIT engineering students and MBA students in an immersive environment, where they rapidly and iteratively bring a product from idea to conception in a semester. I like to think of it as teaching “product development on steroids.” It surprises me how much the process mirrors my daily life and work with EcoZoom!
It’s been a great experience so far. Everyone who’s been teaching the class is very academic and rooted in an on-paper method of creating products, so I try to pull concepts from their textbooks and apply them to very real-world experiences.
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