Behind the Scenes of a 24/7 Chair Engineer

POSTED: June 23, 2023

Debbie, Lead Engineer

Peek behind the curtain and meet Debbie, Lead Engineer at LJ Design & Manufacturing. We sat down to chat with her to learn how the 24/7 chair magic happens.

Tell us a little about your career so far.

For the first eight years of my career, I was immersed in industrial design, expanding and refining my abilities. After a short hiatus to start a family, I returned to the field with a manufacturing engineer position. Delving deeper into the engineering side of product development allowed me to gain a good understanding of product lifecycle.

Where did you go to school?

I got my degree in Apparel Textiles & Design from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Did you always know you wanted to go into industrial sewing?

Absolutely, 100%! Even as a child, I was stitching doll clothes by hand for fun. When my grandma introduced me to the world of sewing machines, then, then I discovered the magic of the craft.

With a lot of hard work, I started learning the sewing machine and mastering patternmaking. I took advanced sewing courses in high school and by junior year I was creating my own designs and clothing for friends. I knew I had a passion for sewing, but it wasn’t until an early position that I realized my true calling was in product development.

Why Product Development?

I enjoy helping clients produce high-quality goods, but my real love comes from helping the production team develop more efficient ways to manufacture products. Being able to equip the team with the essential tools to succeed is incredibly fulfilling. Engineering’s job is to facilitate manufacturing’s ability to create something magical for our customers. The end result is reflected in the quality of work produced and everybody benefits.

What is the most challenging about your role?

The most challenging part is also the most fun part; as a leading 24/7 chair manufacturer we’re always innovating and have a full docket of projects. Being able to flex my creative muscles and problem-solve for continuous improvement means no two days are the same.

How long have you been with the company?

I’ve been with Concept Seating since 2021.

What is one of your favorite projects?

The new 3120 Series chair is one of my favorites. I loved the opportunity to marry creativity, style and engineering. From day one, this project was all about innovation and pushing boundaries. And as I got deeper into the design process, I was able to really use my skills in flat patterning and draping.
This project had specific goals of bringing together form and function in a new way. It is especially gratifying to hear the wonderful responses from our customers in 911 dispatch centers, process control, FAA flight control centers, security centers and more-they love it!

What advice do you have for girls looking to enter this field?

Don’t be intimidated by the fact that engineering is a male-dominated field! I strongly believe that pursuing your dreams is what matters most. If you have a passion for building things and are interested in learning how things are made, then this is where you belong. Trust your instincts, don’t be afraid to forge ahead and blaze the trail!