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PMMI On the Rise Awards Winner 2023 - Stacey Harimoto

Persistence pays off

Stacey Harimoto

PMMI has, once again, recognized 10 individuals who are quickly advancing in the industry in its sixth annual PMMI ON THE RISE AWARDS 2023 developed by the Emerging Leaders Committee. The winners were honored in October 2023 at PMMI’s Annual Meeting in Stone Mountain, Georgia. But there’s a lot to learn about these forward-thinking problem-solvers. So, OEM took some time to get to know these outstanding rising stars. Here are their stories.

Stacey Harimoto is not one to sit still. For example, when the start date for her engineering job at FANUC America Corp. was delayed indefinitely due to the pandemic, she took the opportunity to study for the GMAT and apply for MBA degree opportunities.

This decision allowed Harimoto to continue building a career path—even when the near future was on hold. Her persistence paid off.

Today, she is a senior engineer at the company overseeing warehousing and logistics applications for robots and providing support for sales and customers with their applications, whether helping with a simulation prior to a sale or answering questions that come up years down the line. She has now assisted with the sale of over 1,000 robots, from those that pick and pack individual items such as medical pens, to those that palletize products. She also works with the product development team to drive product requirements for the future, as well as  creating demonstration cells that are showcased at tradeshows.

In the three years that she’s been full time at FANUC (she interned for three summers prior to that), Harimoto has learn many different sides of the business, from product development to working with the marketing team, as well as with sales to host customers, visit their plants, and maintain customer relationships. “Now I am very comfortable interacting with customers on my own and am often sought out to do so,” Harimoto said. 

Having close customer relationships has been a pathway to innovation. By speaking with customers about their needs and attending tradeshows to see the market trends and latest developments, Harimoto is able to feed that information back to the development team and upper management to help guide new products and ensure FANUC remains competitive and in line with what customers need. 

Harimoto recently received a project management certificate and now her sights are set on finishing up her MBA to move toward a management position. 

My main piece of advice for others who may be interested in starting a career in packaging or some aspect of the manufacturing industry is to seek opportunities and to take advantage of those presented to you,” she said. “To get where I am today, I cold called FANUC to see if they offered internships since they didn’t recruit at my school. I also attended events to network with other people and employers, which then led to an unexpected job opportunity during college. And finally, I would tell someone to follow their passions. If something interests you, let others know and pursue it!” 

She also notes that she would not be where she is today without supportive people around her and the opportunities that have been provided. 

“The company culture at FANUC has teamwork and collaboration at its core,” Harimoto said, calling attention to her supportive supervisor, LP Musunur, and her mentor and role model Jessica Juhasz—another On the Rise Award winner this year. “Seeing someone who is ahead of me on the same path is incredibly helpful and encouraging. She always helps me when I have higher level questions, and for that, I am forever grateful.”

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