Never Stop Learning: Amanda Dango’s Career Journey
Amanda Dango’s DENSO career started off different than most. On day one, she knew she’d be working in different areas of the company. That’s because Amanda was part of DENSO’s former IGNITE program that provided high-performing college graduates with structured career development and rotational assignments. IGNITE graduates were assigned to move across businesses and geographies to build a broad DENSO understanding early in their career.
After earning a mechanical engineering degree in 2016, Amanda started her two-year rotation in the IGNITE program. Her first two rotations were at DENSO’s Maryville, Tennessee, manufacturing facility, first as a process engineer, followed by a role as a mechanical designer in the North America Machine and Tool division. Then she was off to Japan to work as a process engineer in Advanced Safety, an experience she enjoyed personally and professionally.
“Working at DENSO in Japan had a sense of familiarity to working at DENSO in North America, but it came with cultural differences,” she said. “My time there helped me better understand DENSO by exposing me to the background on different systems, mindsets and ways of thinking. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience – I got to travel across the country with my IGNITE colleagues on the weekends.”
Her fourth and final rotation was in Quality Engineering at DENSO’s North American headquarters in Southfield, Michigan.
“IGNITE gave me the opportunity to immediately meet a lot of people and see areas of the company I wouldn’t be exposed to in a traditional, entry-level position,” she said. “I made connections that I continue to use today and got a global perspective of DENSO business.”
After graduating from the program in 2018, Amanda rejoined the Process Engineering team in Maryville, utilizing the contacts and knowledge she gained from her time working with corporate, machine, process and manufacturing teams. Today, Amanda is manager of Process Engineering in Maryville, a role she took in January 2023. She said she continues to rely on her contacts from IGNITE during interactions with associates in Machine and Tool, Design, and Quality.
“Having worked in those areas allows me to have a better understanding of what they do and how to work with them,” she said. “This is valuable insight I can share with my process engineering colleagues.”
Speak Up and Learn
Getting experience in different areas of the company is something Amanda sees as incredibly valuable. And while she was part of a formal program, she’s quick to tell others that rotational opportunities are available to everyone.
“Rotating to a different area within the company can absolutely happen, but you have to express your interest and get involved,” she said. “If you sit back and wait for the opportunity to come to you, you’ll be disappointed. Be proactive and have regular communication with your management about your career goals.”
Having four assignments in two years meant Amanda worked with a variety of leaders, many of whom she says were influential in developing her skills. Rotations also meant being a part of new teams and projects on a regular basis, which required strong relationship-building and learning skills. Luckily, learning is one of Amanda’s passions.
“I never want to stop learning,” she said. "College taught me a lot, but in addition to my degree, I walked away knowing how to learn, which was helpful in IGNITE. To me, learning is a critical aspect in advancing your career – you must be open to learning new things.”
Amanda doesn’t know where her DENSO career will take her next, but she plans to use her love of learning, passion to be successful and driven personality to make an impact wherever she goes.