Alumni Interview with Debra A. Haehn (Rosenfield)

Debra A. Haehn works as Director of Quality Systems Engineering for North American Operations at STERIS Corporation. She graduated with BSIE from Cleveland State University in 1990. Now she is working on her MSIE degree.

What made you go back to school for master?

I have a strong desire to be technically challenged, continue learning and growing both professionally and personally. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is when I can inspire others to challenge themselves and help them grow in areas where they may not have otherwise considered.

What is your job position?

I was recently promoted to Director of Quality Systems Engineering for North American Operations at STERIS Corporation.

What do you do for this position?

We are a medical device company which requires vigilance maintaining compliance with laws, regulations, policies and procedures required for designing, manufacturing, marketing and servicing our products world-wide. My role specifically covers Canada, US and Mexico. Our Industry is one in which we take great pride and use systematic rigors to ensure our products are safe and effective since they are used to improve people's lives. Great emphasis is placed on developing products using a New Product Development process crossing all functional organizations to ensure all outputs meet the requirement inputs. In a medical device industry, internal and beta-site validation requires use of statistical analyses to show this before the product, including suppliers of components, passes through the approval gate.

This includes a main focus ensuring our customers needs and expectations are met. We have initiatives focused on Employee Safety, Customer Engagement, Operational Engagement, Employee Engagement and fiscal responsibility. Part of this includes driving business value through process enhancements, standardization and supporting lean and cost reduction efforts.

Based on your work experience, what do you expect from the master courses?

My personal expectation in the Masters program specializing in Engineering Management is to provide me with insight into the best practices used in industry to inspire and empower my employees to make our company highly effective and competitive. I want to be able to take these tools and apply them as presented in the classes. I believe that being a highly effective Engineer means understanding the theory but being able to easily apply those concepts in industry.

Because I travel a lot for work, I would like to see more classes being offered as independent study courses where you can get the assignments in advance, study the material on your own and submit the work via email. That type of flexibility is important when you work many hours and could not otherwise attend the classes.

What was it like when you attended the Fenn college for the undergraduate?

My experience is better as a Graduate student for a number of reasons: There is on-line registration, parking garages, an enclosed walkway to make the experience a pleasant one during bad weather and the professors in my area of discipline seem very engaged and committed to the success of the student.

I was an Engineering co-op student while completing my undergrad degree and know the importance of how that experience helped my career. I would like to support and promote that program any way I can. I would also like to see the curriculum emphasize more application than theory, which could be used to establish relationships between students and industry. This engagement and relationship can benefit the student, the program and the company for which the student is working on specific issues. This success not only benefits everyone, but will also promote the future interest in engineering.

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