Worldwide Technical Service Manager
"We perform a constant balancing act between fire fighting and fire prevention. It’s not rocket science. But it’s not far from it."
What does Boris have to say about working at FEI?
I can’t speak for the whole company, but the customer service challenges can get a little crazy sometimes. Our products are complex and our customers are sophisticated. They have different needs, and they’re scattered all over the world, so they have different cultural expectations too. I guess that might be a problem for some people, but most of us love it. I certainly do. This is exciting work.
Our basic mission is simple – keep our customers happy. Making that happen is where the complexity comes in. Technical service is right at the crossroads between theory and practice; between the elegance of the R&D drawing boards and the harsh realities of customer usage. On one side, we have to understand customer challenges. On the other, we have to work with the triple-PhD types in our own company to find solutions. There are brilliant people on both sides. We provide the tenacity and practical intelligence that makes it all work in real life. That can be pretty satisfying.
It’s not easy, though. We perform a constant balancing act between fire fighting and fire prevention. We want to keep everything smooth for every customer, but crises do happen. One Friday (it always happens on Friday, doesn’t it?), we learned that one of our products had suffered a breakdown at a customer site. Our schedules and priorities changed in an instant. We had to get that system up and running quickly and we had to keep all our longer term projects and activities on track. Everybody has to be flexible. Everybody has to stay focused.
Challenging and Fun? Yes. Do I have a personal life? You bet. Traveling, photography, badminton… a ’78 Volkswagen calling for my attention (I may have to outsource that last one).