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Quan Jiang, BEng '08

(Chemical Engineering)

Optimizing performance beyond the chemical realm

Despite taking his career in a completely different direction, Quan Jiang says he learned a critical element of his current job while studying chemical engineering.

“Chemical engineering taught me how to design a process, analyze its performance and develop process control systems to optimize its performance,” he says. “This is exactly what I do, although not with chemical processes, but with business and operational processes.”

As Director of Operational Excellence with Sodexo, a Burlington-based food and facility management company, Jiang says his role is to instill a corporate culture that ensures the daily improvement of everyone in the organization, and to undertake business profit and loss turnaround.

During an internship at Xstrata Copper in his undergraduate years, Jiang received training in Lean Six Sigma – training that ultimately changed his career path.

“This is when I decided to have a career in business improvement,” he explains. “After graduation I was offered a process engineering role and decided to go back to Xstrata because they would invest in me and offer me Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training.”

In 2009, he received that Black Belt certification and moved into quality engineering with Irving Tissue.

“I applied Lean Six Sigma to help reduce consumer complaints by 60 per cent and cut manufacturing waste by $500,000 a year, and was offered the position of Continuous Improvement manager for the site,” he says.

In 2015, Jiang took on the role of Regional Continuous Improvement Manager for the government of the Niagara Region, before moving into his current role.

He urges students to recognize the value of problem-based learning and the use of statistics, as well as adopting an “I can do it attitude.”

“Also, keep learning new things and from others around you,” he says. “You can always learn something from other people.”