As the President and CEO at SIGMADESIGN, I’m committed to leading the company with “no regrets.” This means being fully committed to the direction the company will take and the intentional choices that influence its strategic direction.
Years at SIGMADESIGN: 10
As many of you are aware, SIGMADESIGN has a new President and CEO. It’s me, Lindsey Dotson! So, I thought it would be a great time to let you get to know me better and learn more about the planning we’re doing for exciting times ahead.
First, I understand this is a big change for everyone and adapting to any change takes time. The great thing about SIGMADESIGN is we are excellent at adapting; it is one of our Core Values after all. Naturally, there will be concerns and questions as we move through this change together, but by prioritizing open communication, transparency, and trust we will overcome challenges and emerge even stronger.
At SIGMADESIGN, we are a strong and resourceful group of professionals who possess the passion and skills to tackle any obstacle and embrace change. We will continue to partner with our customers to deliver great things. That hasn’t changed! We’ll also remain committed to fostering understanding and trust by focusing on our conversations with clients and employees to address questions regarding the transition from past to future.
Another important aspect of this transition involves increasing awareness about myself, my values, and my work approach. This demonstrates my commitment to transparency, which I believe forms a solid foundation for trust. Once we establish strong relationships and trust, we can begin the process of defining new objectives and key performance indicators. I consider this phase as charting the current position of the company and envisioning its desired future. All this takes time and patience, but I am confident we will adapt and emerge as a stronger team and company because of it.
Our Executive and Leadership Teams have taken the initiative to start working on the next steps to bring clarity to our goals and objectives. This fresh roadmap will ensure that we stick to the planned course and enable us to achieve our ambitions and targets. Our aim is to enhance SIGMADESIGN’s workplace culture and business structure, making it an even more remarkable environment where collaboration between customers and employees thrives, and the spirit of innovation is highly valued.
Now, for you to get to know me better, let’s delve into a selection of questions posed to me during a recent interview:
WHAT WAS YOUR YOUTH LIKE?
I am from northern Minnesota, a bit outside of Grand Rapids, very close to the headwaters of the Mississippi River. My family lived in a house on a lake, which sounds fancy, but is common there since it’s the land of 10,000 lakes! I’m the youngest of four girls. Two of my sisters are much older, so mostly I spent time growing up with my sister that is 3 years older than me.
WHAT WAS YOUR EDUCATION EXPERIENCE?
My younger years were spent in a small, one class-per-room schoolhouse which had a “little house on the prairie” feel. There was an ice rink which I thought was a lot of fun at recess!
My late adolescent and teen years were split between Eugene, Oregon, and Minnesota. I graduated from North Eugene High School. After high school, I studied at Concordia University in Portland with the intent to be a math teacher. I always loved math, and my mom was a teacher so that seemed like a logical choice. Two years into the program I was feeling uninterested, so I decided to try a computer science class. It was love at first sight! The next term I transferred to Portland State University to study computer engineering. I graduated at the top of my class and as a member of the Eta Kappa Nu Engineering Honor Society, which was a lot of hard work, but totally worth it and I was proud of what I accomplished.
I landed my first “real” job at ESI. Starting out as an embedded software engineer, my first assignment was to write an event logging method. I laugh at this now because it’s such a cliché. That’s often the first method any new software engineer writes. After a few years on the software team, I became more interested in firmware and that’s where I found my passion. It was just the right amount of difficulty to keep me coming back for more.
Additionally at ESI, I had the opportunity to travel to Asia. I appreciated seeing firsthand how a machine I helped work on was being used to create products – actual things I would see appear later on store shelves. Seeing the user experience first-hand helped me become a better engineer and it taught me the value of designing for manufacturability. During my time at ESI as a firmware engineer, I was also the co-inventor of 2 US patents and 1 trade secret.
In 2013, I joined SIGMADESIGN as a Firmware Engineer. Since then, I have held many positions at the company. After a few years as a Firmware Engineer, I started to manage the Firmware Team and as it grew, I became more comfortable in management and with moving away from individual contributor work. So then, I shifted to the Director of FW & SW Engineering. Things changed dramatically when I was given the opportunity to lead the company’s ERP Optimization Strategic Initiative. This experience opened my eyes to more of the operations and business functions within the organization. I found this area fascinating, and it was something I wanted to learn more about. I took courses outside of work to expand my knowledge and met with others subject matter experts outside of SIGMADESIGN to gain additional exposure to business and finance. Next, I transitioned to Director of Business Technology, VP of Engineering & Corporate Functions. In this role, I oversaw our business technology, finance, ERP, administration, and engineering. All this varied experience heightened my problem solving and communication skills, and I enjoyed the range of challenges which intersect engineering and business.
NOW THAT YOU’RE PRESIDENT, HOW WILL YOU AND THE COMPANY ADAPT TO THE CHANGE?
As previously mentioned above, this transition represents a significant change for everyone involved. It will require time and effort to adapt, and establishing trust in this new scenario is very important. I am committed to understanding the current situation while showing respect for the past and keeping an eye on the future. I’m actively engaging with team members by asking questions such as “What might we do differently?” or “What is the underlying purpose for doing that?” or “What problem are we trying to solve?” These types of questions and others will serve as a bridge between the past and future, instilling more confidence in all of us as we move forward.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BIGGEST STRENGTH OF THE COMPANY RIGHT NOW?
Hands down, SIGMADESIGN’s employee! They always have been, and always will be our biggest asset.
WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT GOALS YOU HAVE FOR THE COMPANY RIGHT NOW?
Great question! I’m confident about where to take the company. It will take some time to clarify the planning details and then execute on that plan, but currently, we are working on several objectives, which include empowering employees to innovate in their jobs. We want to encourage employees to think about how they can make their own position better and as a result make SIGMADESIGN better to drive our initiatives. Currently, these initiatives include increasing revenue, increasing profit, employing the “A” team, and increasing brand awareness, reputation, and exposure.
HOW DO THE CORE VALUES INFLUENCE YOUR WORK?
They are the cornerstone to how we work. Like other Executive Team members, I refer to them often. Our values help guide our decisions and do what’s right for SIGMADESIGN, our clients and our employees.
WHAT TYPES OF PROJECTS OR PROJECT CATEGORIES DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST?
Personally, I find that I am most drawn to projects that require collaboration among individuals from different disciplines. Working together to solve complex problems is incredibly fulfilling for me. In fact, the more facets a problem has, the more I enjoy it as it presents a greater challenge and requires a pool of collective expertise to come up with a solution.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR PROFESSION AND WORKING AT SIGMADESIGN?
As someone who values lifelong learning, I enjoy the opportunity to develop new skills and tackle unfamiliar challenges. You just never know what you’re going to work on next at SIGMADESIGN! This unpredictability, however, can cause some nervousness for me. How can I be sure that I will do a great job if I am unfamiliar with some of the project requirements? Fortunately, I have learned to trust myself and my ability to acquire new skills. This gives me the confidence to embrace new opportunities.
WHAT ARE YOUR INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF WORK?
I love to spend time outdoors, travel and read. I didn’t discover a love for reading until my 20s. One of the first books I was encouraged to read was The Alienist. It’s a historical suspense fiction taking place at the turn of century when finger printing technology was first being discovered. I loved the intersection of history, storytelling and technology that came through the pages of that book. Now, I still enjoy reading fiction, especially historical fiction, but I also have an interest in philosophy and poetry.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed getting to know me a bit better. This new role provides the opportunity to enhance SIGMADESIGN ‘s workplace culture and business structure. Again, I’m aiming to make it an even more remarkable environment. One where collaboration between customers and employees thrives, and the spirit of innovation is highly valuable.
You can read more about my work and stay connected with me on LinkedIn.