1.  What is the title of the position?

Application Development Engineer

2.   What are the three most important functional tasks this person will perform?

a. The candidate will work closely with glass and sizing Chemists and application and testing Technicians (internal to Fiber Glass S&T) to generate and curate mechanical performance data on glass fibers and composites in the course of developing new & differentiated fiberglass composite materials.

b. The candidate will work with other teams internal to company Fiber Glass Development (e.g., business development, product development, marketing and sales) and with government & non-government agencies, universities, and different R&D groups to commercialize Fiber Glass products for new applications. This will require the candidate to understand and to be able to communicate the value proposition(s) of the particular fiber glass composite products at various levels of detail in order to affect meaningful commercial impact.

c. The candidate will work with customers to identify unmet needs and to drive qualification and commercialization of newly introduced composite technology that meets those needs.

The composites engineer function in Fiber Glass S&T develops applications that leverage differentiated glass compositions and fiber glass sizings.  Glass composition is studied to optimize fiber properties of strength, stiffness, dielectric constant, corrosion resistance, forming temperature, cost, or conformance to environmental regulations.  Sizing formulation touches on a broad range of chemistries that optimize performance in thermoset and thermoplastic matrix resin systems.

3.   Background of successful hires? Why successful?  The person who previously held the job?

The person who previously held the job has a PhD in engineering mechanics and 12 years’ experience in composite materials research for the Army Research Lab.  They  have been promoted to lead these activities. This person was also a good communicator.

  1. Background of the person you seek?

Strong background in composites, mechanical engineering and material science.  Excellent leadership, experimental and communications skills are required.  The successful candidate must have a solid understanding of structure property relationships in composite and polymeric material systems.  There are two positions.  The successful candidate would ideally have 5 years’ experience in the development and processing of thermoplastics or thermoplastic composites or thermoset composites leading to commercialization of new applications.  Experience in long fiber thermoplastics (LFT) and continuous-reinforced tapes would be a plus.  The other position is for someone familiar with continuous fibers for thermoset applications like windmill blades.

  1. Education required? Desirable?  Minimum education?

B.S. degree (master’s or Ph.D. preferred) in composites engineering, mechanical engineering or material science.

Why is this the preferred education.?  Someone else had said we needed to think about a person with chemical type degree.  If the candidate has a BS only, then they must have 5+ years’ experience in the industry doing precisely what is discussed above in order to have enough knowledge of the materials and processes.  Masters or PhD is preferred because these advanced degrees imply that the person would have the requisite skills in the laboratory and with interpretation of performance data for a variety of applications, etc.  Contrary to what anyone else has said, CHEMISTS WILL NOT be considered for this job.  We already have too many chemists.

6.  Personality type which would fit in well?

Outgoing & sociable.

7  What outcomes must be achieved in this position and within what time frame?

Not applicable.


  1. Promotional opportunity? Time frame?

(In addition to annual salary increases based on pay-for-performance)

Company is very committed to career growth, which is vital for the long term health of any organization.  Candidates for this position will have immediate visibility to executive levels within the organization and those with the desire to rise through the ranks will have ample opportunity for promotion after earning a reputation for performance.  This is the kind of candidate that I am looking for — one with initiative and the desire for performance and promotion.  However, there are not any immediate or upcoming needs at the management level in this group.  I plan on managing and growing this group for 5-10 years.  So candidates that are expecting to earn a management position in 3-5 years are probably not going to be a good fit.  [NOTE BY DENNIS HARRIS:  This division does have a number of Senior Professionals several years from retirement, so there will be things coming up.]


  1. What is the sizzle? Why would an outstanding person want this position?  Why were you excited to join the company?

The company has several new products to be commercialized that have superior properties at reduced cost relative to competitive product.

Company has very comprehensive ability to make composite parts by most processes, such as filament winding, pultrusion, RTM, hand layup, compression molding, thermoplastic injection molding, and others.  Talented Technicians are available to operate this equipment for experimental runs.

Another strong point of the company is that it is filled with outstanding people.  On every project there are opportunities to lead and to engage an exciting variety of corporate resources in addition to external customers.  It’s never dull!

10. Company details? Sales, growth last/next five years?  Web site or other place where we can learn about company?

Sales and growth have been steadily growing since 2009 (after the worst of the recession).  Maybe not as fast as we’d like, so that’s the reason why corporate is supporting the growth of this applications team.  Website can be provided.

11.  What industries do you serve? What is your position in these markets? What market factors affect your business, and what effect are they having lately, in the past, do you expect in the future?

30% of our glass goes into automotive (injection molded plastic, secondary structures).  Another 30% in wind blades and municipal utility pipe.  The other 40% is mixed in a large number of other uses, including building materials (shingles, siding, wallboard, etc) and electronics (circuit board reinforcements), fabrics for aircraft interior composites, etc.  Milirary ballistic work was significant last decade, but currently in a lull since the wars wound down.

12.  Are there any companies from which you would not want to recruit because of special business relationships or such things? Good question, let me get back to you.  I don’t think there are any such conflicts…?

Where would you want us to recruit?  What are the weaknesses of these companies which might make someone consider looking elsewhere?

13. Travel? (100% is four nights per week.)  20% max.

14.  Works with/Sells to: OEM, Industrial, Distributors, Engineers, Consumers, Retail, Executive??

We supply glass to a link in the “value stream” in most cases.  For instance in automotive, we are often a “tier 3” — supplying glass to a weaver/compounder (tier 2), who then sells to a tier 1 molder before it gets bought by an OEM.  Regardless of to whom we sell, we work closely with ALL links in the value stream including the OEM’s.

15.  What staff will this person have, and how will they fit into the organization?

This candidate will not have any staff per-se, but will have teams of technicians that perform the bulk of actual laboratory work.  In the organization, the candidate will report to a group leader who reports to the director.

16.  People work for people. (Tell them about yourself.  What makes you so successful ?) To whom will the candidate report, and what is their title? How long have they been with the company?  What prior positions have they held?  What is their educational background?  What outside interests are they involved in?  Why are they excited about working for the company?  (Remember.  Good Candidates ask tough questions.)

See question 3.  I am group leader for Applications Development.  Been with company for almost a year now.  Was a researcher and team leader at ARL.  I’m a family man (2 kids and wife) and am also into astronomy, music, biking, and woodworking.

17. What makes this person a good boss?

I’m fair, objective, have good humor, am smart.

18.  Interview process? Who else interviews?  Who makes hiring decision?  Who makes offer?

There will be a phone interview, maybe two.  Then will fly candidate on site to give a seminar and to be interviewed by leaders within the S&T organization at Shelby.  I will make the hiring decision after conference with the leadership following the interview day.  HR will determine salary based on qualifications in fairness to the rest of the organization.

19. When do you need this person to be on board?


20.  How many people interviewed so far? Any offers extended?  Results?  Why were the folks you talked with not hired or offered positions?  Why did any offers not get accepted?

Reviewed almost 70 resumes.  Phone interviewed 9, downselected 3, interviewed one on site so far.  Not a good fit, did not extend an offer.  Another one I was excited about but citizenship was an issue.  We work on ITAR technologies, must have citizenship or green card.  The third person was a strong candidate on the phone but took a sales job in another part of the country before I could fly them here for interview.


21.  What other sources are you currently using to fill this position, and what other sources are you planning to use?

We have exhausted the company online posting source.  Relying on headhunters and word-of-mouth around the industry now.  Probably will attend job fairs at universities when they are held.


22.   What are the weaknesses of your own company, and how do we overcome them?

We are not vertically integrated which is a weakness when our margins are squeezed by downstream links in the value chain, but it’s a strength because it allows us to quickly shift and sell to emerging markets as they arise.


23.  Why don’t you fill this position internally?

Too many chemists.

24.   Is there a specific individual you might want us to recruit on a very confidential basis? What are their name, company, and title?


25.   How long have you been with the company? What prior positions have you held?  What is your educational background?  What outside interests are you involved in?  Why are you excited about working for the company?  See above.

26.  What sort of company benefits do you offer? Monthly cost to candidate?  A brochure from personnel would be fine.

Benefits typical of a $15 billion leading producer of industrial products.

27.  Compensation (Base, Bonus. Commission, when paid). (Target, Min, Max)

Will depend on degree and years of experience, plus the usual bonuses and relocation package.

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