Ten workers who really love their jobs
From auto technician to recruiter, these people are passionate about what they do.
EMPLOYER Systems Evolution Inc. (SEI), Boston
I’m a natural problem solver; that’s why I enjoy being in consulting. I go into companies and help with new product launches, IT system implementation, and regulatory compliance. I’m an engineer by training, which helps me think logically and break down processes. I moved from Seoul to the States as a teenager, and then moved again to college in upstate New York. This taught me how to assimilate quickly and be a part of a team. Sometimes I attend Red Sox games to build relationships outside the office. This makes me really happy, because I’m an avid Red Sox fan.
FUN FACT I collect Christmas ornaments when I travel, so my tree has trinkets from around the globe. Some of my favorites: a Marco Polo statue from Croatia; a Dante Alighieri silhouette from Italy; a sumo wrestler figurine from Japan.
EMPLOYER Globoforce, Framingham
JOB Chief human resources officer
I get to wake up in the morning thinking about how we can bring greater humanity to the workplace through the power of positive recognition. It’s the perfect antidote to the current tone and tenor of our world. I think about our daily lives as we’re in the office and elsewhere, and how we all want to be valued and supported. I didn’t have those things as a young child growing up in New Bedford. I’ve written a memoir, A Chance in the World, about growing up in foster care with an abusive family and learning to persevere. It’s always in the background of what I do, maintaining strong talent and a positive culture in our organization.
FUN FACT I find a great deal of comfort and sanctuary on the golf course, being out in nature and playing with friends.
EMPLOYER Neon Therapeutics, Cambridge
JOB Group leader, bioinformatics
I’m a computational biologist, using machine learning and other computational analysis to help design the cancer vaccines we make. I help make sure our experimental agenda results in the right data we need to be better at vaccine design. Our team has a very patient-centric set of values; I have had some relatives pass away from cancer, so that motivates me as well. The company was very supportive when my partner and I had a baby girl via surrogacy — the generous paternity policy here was a huge relief. There’s even Neon swag for babies — onesies, bibs, and caps. As a new dad, it’s also great having a flexible work schedule.
FUN FACT I’m restoring a piano from 1897 that was in my grandparents’ basement and was about to be thrown out.
Vanessa Van Beek
EMPLOYER Planet Subaru, Hanover
I’m just getting back from maternity leave, but before I left, I was learning to do brakes. I’ve already done air bag recalls, oil changes, and now I’m doing bigger vehicle maintenance jobs. My long-term goal is to become a master tech. The company has sent me to Subaru school and I appreciate that they were willing to take a chance on me. I’ve always been interested in cars and worked on the family car in the driveway with my dad. During my first interview with my service manager, I told him I had no experience, but instead of discouraging me, he said, “You want to learn? We will teach you.”
FUN FACT I used to autocross my Subaru BRZ. I love to race through the cones.
EMPLOYER United Home Experts, Ashland
JOB Project manager
I started as a subcontractor foreman and last year, I was offered a staff position as a project manager. One of the things I enjoy most is creatively resolving issues and making our motto come true: Helping customers love their home again. I look beyond the project and see what we’re really doing is helping create memories. I build things with my hands, but the relationships I build with people are most important to me. The reaction of customers when we’re finished — they’re usually so amazed and happy — is what I really enjoy about construction.
FUN FACT I am hooked on the adrenaline rush of skydiving. It represents expansion and growing and reaching high points.
EMPLOYER Steel Art Co., Norwood
The phones are always ringing here, so I always have my headset on, even when I’m at lunch. I have a smile on my face even when I’m on the phone. I always want people to feel comfortable and welcome, whether they’re dropping off a package or stopping in to ask a question. Some people think we are just a metal company, but we are manufacturers of architectural signage. I’m an older worker — 64. I was laid off right before I came here, but I’m not ready to retire, and I was delighted that I was still hired right away.
FUN FACT I have a perennial garden that my grandparents started, so it has lilies and daffodils that they planted decades ago.
Esmeralda “Es” Heredia
EMPLOYER Comcast, Methuen
JOB Store manager
The Methuen Xfinity Store is one of the busiest Comcast locations in Greater Boston; over 10,000 customers walk through our doors on a monthly basis. Most of my team is bilingual, and consumers love that I can speak to them in Spanish because of my Dominican background. During the recent gas explosions in the Lawrence area, we opened up the store to people who wanted to charge their phones or make a call. One customer broke down in tears because her house had burned down and she was wondering what to do about her Comcast equipment and bill. I told her, “Don’t worry, we will take care of it.”
FUN FACT I’m an extreme coupon clipper. I use them to buy food or household supplies that I send back to the needy in the Dominican Republic.
EMPLOYER Wayfair, Boston
JOB Military recruiter
I’m a former Marine leading Wayfair’s military recruiting efforts. There are more qualified vets coming into talent pipelines than ever before and their operational and logistic experience adds value. We like candidates who like to roll up their sleeves and be servant leaders — people who thrive in a fast-paced environment. I worked as a radio operator, which is a cross-functional position that translates well here. I understand a vet’s experience but the real value is helping them feel they have a connection here.
FUN FACT I’m one of four siblings and when one of us took a class, we all had to. Consequently, I know how to tap dance.
EMPLOYER E.M. Duggan, Canton
JOB HVAC pipe fitter
I went through a pre-apprenticeship trade program called Building Pathways. A skilled trade can never be taken away from you, and I like working with my hands. Using power tools comes naturally to me. I did the piping system, drains, and valve tagging for the Millennium Tower, and now I’m at casino hotel Encore, installing the heating and cooling system. It’s always a team effort, and it’s fun and also a learning experience being in a male dominated trade. My co-workers are very respectful and we have a lot of laughs. It’s cool seeing skyscrapers go up, and I love that I’m able to walk around town and point out the buildings I helped construct.
FUN FACT My mom is Cambodian and my stepdad is Irish, so my last name is a hyphenation of the two.
EMPLOYER Nitsch Engineering, Worcester
JOB Chief engineer
I have over two decades of experience in civil engineering. I wear a few hats, including project manager, making sure we are up to date on current best practices, as well as local zoning and planning regulations. I typically do large-site development, including a lot of public school projects. There might be several projects going on, from small to big, all in different stages. It’s really fun to look at places or buildings that I’ve been involved with and know I had a part in helping to build it. I’m contributing to improvements that make the state a little better. It sounds a little hokey but I find value in what I’m doing.
FUN FACT I spent two years in the Peace Corps, designing and constructing rural water supplies in Malawi.