Meet the ASA Team – Joel Esposito, Paint Process Engineer

Joel won the internal “Top Gun” award this Summer for his efforts to go over and above in his workplace performance, measured across the 2018 calendar year. His success is consistently reflected in his peer reviews as a leader and someone who customers continually asks for by name. Joel has been a runner up to this award twice already, so it was a case of third time lucky in 2018.

Joel’s career in automotive began as the GM Holden Plastics Plant in Elizabeth, where he joined the production team as a manual spray painter. Joel was quickly identified as a hard working individual, and was promoted into the Paint process team as a technician, where he was responsible for quality metrics and paint mix settings that would facilitate repeatable production conditions. His work here exposed him to 1-component and 2-component solvent borne paints, and the FANUC P-200E series of robots, along with SAMES applicators such as the TRP 501/502 and PPH 607 rotary atomising bells. However, it was his training in all facets of Paint Engineering that really set him up to become an exceptional Paint Process Engineer.

Four years ago, with the imminent closure of Holden looming, Joel made the career decision to move across to ASA and become a Paint Process Engineer. ASA has always found success in teaching someone with paint experience how to program, as opposed to teaching a programmer to paint, and Joel was further testament to this theory in his recruitment. At the time Joel joined ASA, he hadn’t travelled overseas before, and to throw him in the deep end, his first day on the job was to jump on a plane to Chongping in China, where he began training with a fellow ASA employee on a project at Shanghai General Motors. Joel recalls his nervousness about his first overseas adventure – he had never experienced different cultures, and it was very much a case of nervous anticipation. He arrived at Chongping airport after a transit through Hong Kong expecting to see a fellow ASA employee, but instead was greeted by a complete stranger holding a sign with his name. Joel recounts this was a very nervous and awkward moment for a guy who had never travelled overseas before and didn’t speak a word of Chinese. To his relief, he was quickly reunited at the hotel with his colleagues and he began the steep learning curve of getting his head around the robots and paint systems at SGM.

Four years in, and Joel is convinced that his favourite robot is the FANUC P-700. “By far” to use his words. “Its flexibility in terms of application. The boundaries and rail tracking make its application programming a lot more user friendly “. Joel has worked with a myriad of different robots, applicators and materials in his projects since then. He recounts that Phase 3 at GM Silao (Mexico) in 2016 was his most interesting and challenging project. The system involved the use of waterborne paints, 1-component, 2-component solvent borne materials, as well as different robot types with the P-700 and P-500, and on top of that, repair panel options in the robot programming structure. At the time, it was the most complex project that he had come up against. His interest in the project was sparked by the challenges and learning curve that the breadth of this application presented, as well as the fact that the customer spoke a foreign language. Joel embraced the challenge and has thoroughly enjoyed his time in Mexico. His efforts to meet the customer demands have not gone unnoticed, as Ruben Rojas Engineering Group Manager for Paint at General Motors quotes: “Joel has been one of the best process engineers we have ever had the chance to work with. He has a long list of good performance with us. What makes Joel different is that he is very receptive of our opinion and reacts quickly. He works with the different team members across all levels, and demonstrates great cooperation. He has been very flexible around our requirements to have him onsite, always putting the customer first. If I could summarise him in one word, it would be Amazing, just Amazing.”

Best part of the job? “For me, it’s the challenge of working with different systems, at different sites, with different people. It’s never been boring, and could never be described as monotonous.” Joel also enjoys the mateship he forms with his fellow site team, which changes regularly, project to project.

With feedback like this, its no wonder Joel won the “Top Gun” award for 2018.