“Besides the technical knowledge acquired throughout my academic curriculum, I have learned how the richness of the human diversity and respect for other cultures is crucial to succeed in both social and professional life.” ~ Mohamed el Amine (Wally) Belhadi
Every person has a story to tell and it is important, probably now more than ever, to learn from one another. It has been rewarding for me to listen and learn from each of the IPC Student Members and Scholarship winners about how their paths led them to the electronics manufacturing industry. My interview with Mohamed el Amine (Wally) Belhadi left me speechless not only for his incredible successes, but also for his humbled demeanor, charisma, and caring personality.
Wally was born in Algiers, one of the iconic cities along the Mediterranean Sea. During his academic career, he had the chance to travel to different cities in his homeland and in other countries. Before landing in the United States through the Fulbright program offered by the US Department of State, he was valedictorian at Polytechnic School of Algiers. The Polytechnic School is considered the most prestigious school of engineering in Algeria. Wally served as vice president of the Ecole Polytechnique School Association. His experience was not just limited locally. He served as an Algerian delegate at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Russia 2014 and again in Italy in 2015. Later, he moved to France where he earned a master’s degree in advanced methods in industrial engineering from Ecole Centrale Lyon, one of the top five schools of engineering in France.
I asked Wally a few questions about his professional experiences, his goals and viewpoints regarding engineering, and his advice how other aspiring engineers can prepare and grow.
Charlene: “Please provide us with a snapshot of your career this far.”
Wally: “Currently, I am a graduate research assistant in industrial and systems engineering at Auburn University. I also played a vital role in establishing the first IPC Student Chapter at the university and therefore serves as the co-founder and president of the IPC Student Chapter. We are proud of the fact that our chapter was the first established IPC Student Chapter in the United States.
During the last few years, I have been assigned to important projects within the university and the industry levels. To be more specific, my work in France was directed toward Vallourec performance as an analyst trainee where I have worked to leverage the level of industrial excellence in more than 70 factories worldwide.
In the United States, I interned as process control system at Equipment & Controls where I was involved in the implementation of a complex technical lab project involving PLC programming supporting an Andon control system for Cell 1 in the manufacturing system. It included setting and configuring electronic devices (I/O blocks, modules, etc.) as well as wiring and designing fixtures.
Last year (2019) I had the opportunity to collaborate with AREA (Advanced Research in Electronic Assemblies) to study the effect of doping in the mechanical properties of electronics interconnection. And as mentioned earlier, currently as a graduate research assistant I have joined NSF CAVE (Center for Advanced Vehicle and Extreme environment), where I conduct various research projects related to the automotive industry.”
Charlene: “What valuable tips do you wish to share with likeminded students?”
Wally: “Teamwork and communication are key skills to enable the success of any project. For instance, discussing the ways to tackle the problems and learning from seniors will save you time and allows you to be more efficient.”
Charlene: “What are your plans to grow professionally during the summer?”
Wally: “There are many ways to grow professionally. Most of the electronic associations have developed educational programs and tools to fill the gaps between the university and the industry requirements. These resources include certified classes and webinars. I am currently taking a biosafety training course mandatory for a new joint project with the National Institute of Health.”
Charlene: “How do you prepare for your interview (internship/job)?”
Wally: “I read the employer requirements and matched them with my skills. In other words, adapting my engineering skills to the vision of the company is the key.”
Charlene: “What are the key attributes an employer needs to have for you to consider working there?
Wally: “Having a flexible schedule planning will enhance productivity and the efficiency of teams. Furthermore, I believe that additional education opportunities and upward career mobility make a big difference in choosing an employer.”
Charlene: “What accomplishments are you most proud of?”
Wally: “In 2018, I obtained one of the most prestigious scholarships and in the same year, I was awarded the Outstanding International Student at Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. It was a great achievement that shows that hard work always pays off. Early 2020, I participated for the first time at IPC APEX Expo held in San Diego, CA and I was awarded the best poster of 2020 IPC Apex Expo Technical Conference.”
Charlene: “What are your goals in terms of engineering today?”
Wally: “As an engineer, my goal is to come up with innovative methods directed toward performing electronics life testing in extreme temperatures and vibrations on newly developed electronic devices to uncover the failure modes.”
Charlene: “Why do you love about the industry in general?”
Wally: “This field is dynamic and challenging where ideas are generally implemented for the end-users.”
Charlene: “How would you describe the term “Engineering”?”
Wally: “Engineering is an art to find solutions and explain phenomenon is a mixture of human genius and common sense.”
Charlene: “Thank you for your time, Wally.”
Wally: “Always a pleasure, Charlene.”
The IPC Education Foundation will host industry professionals in an informal setting to provide our network of students, educators, and other professionals information on career and technical topics related to the electronics industry.
This event will be an informal, high-engagement Q&A hosted by the team at IPCEF and IPC Emerging Engineers.
Follow-up content will be shared with registrants, and if approved, a recording will be posted to the IPCEF YouTube Channel.