A minute with

Oiled Garcia

Mechanical Design Engineer

10 years with Atlas

Q: IN YOUR ROLE, HOW DO YOU HELP ATLAS METAL “MAKE METAL PERSONAL?”

The only way to ensure quality and to get continuous improvement is for me to be on the floor, working directly with our team, making sure I’m getting my eyes on everything. It’s also very important that I talk face-to-face with our other departments as often as possible, to keep the designs on track.

That said, I know my knowledge is not a substitute for that of the guy who knows how to weld. I might have what I think is a great idea, but he is going to tell me when and why that idea might not work.

In the end, I feel a great sense of pride when we get to a finished piece. I think the whole team does.

Q: Atlas is known for its superior craftmanship and durability. Can you talk about how you make sure the products deliver on these qualities? What shortcuts do you avoid? How do you keep your team focused on the craft?

Atlas has a quality control department with lots of check points. Every time a part moves from one department to another, it’s checked. All the welded areas, the polish, the finish and so on.

Engineers provide significant support to quality control, taking a hands-on approach and taking on accountability. 25-30% of my time is probably spent ensuring that the quality meets Atlas’ standards.

I also use software to deliver quality. Within our system, I’ve designed a library of standard items. Everything starts standard but then is usually customized by the customer and then is checked against a digital format before moving to production. This leads to less trial and error.

Also, schematics and directions exist for every stage of construction. We look at each piece after it is cut and compare it to the plan. If it checks out, it can move to assembly or welding or whatever step is next. It’s all very methodical.

Q: What is your favorite equipment feature that’s unique to Atlas, and why?

I’m a big fan of the raised beaded edge on our drop-in. It’s unique to us because we stamp, while others “bang.” We also factory-install the gasket that helps seal and insulate the cart from the drop-in, while other companies require the gasket be installed onsite. It’s a special and personal step that we take to deliver value. I know people might not be wowed at first, but once they see and understand it, they appreciate how much we’ve thought about the small details.

Q: What makes Atlas special to you? What makes you proud?

It may sound simplistic, but I feel good working at Atlas. I’ve been here for 10 years and every day, I wake up and coming to work is easy. I get in at 6:15 AM and I’m happy to be there. Happy to work for a great company and with great people.

I’m proud of a lot of things but one thing is definitely how we communicate as an organization. I believe that in order to be successful, you need open lines of communication between everyone. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard and valued. It makes your work better. People can’t be afraid to speak up when they believe something is wrong or that it can be done in a better way. We want and need people to speak up. I always do my best to encourage it in my department and I appreciate that everyone seems to share the same mentality. You have to or else it doesn’t work.

Q: What’s the most fun Atlas project you’ve worked on? Most challenging one?

For me, the most challenging ones are the most fun. Like recently, we were developing CSG food guards and we wanted to increase the glass-to-tubing ratio. The tricky part was that the same solution needed to work across all of the units. It took over 4 months, but we were able to make it work. Plus, the product is NSF certified, which is another win.

Q: Can you discuss a time when you had to pivot or adjust a build based on a customer request or unexpected development?

A large manufacturing client had a unique cafeteria project where they needed six different lines for various cafeterias across their campus. We started with the BL base and ended up completely modifying everything as the project developed. There were a lot of requirements but in the end, we were able to deliver everything they had asked for, which made me happy.

Q: We were told you were instrumental in the development of the INFINITI FIT line. What can you tell us about your role?

Well, if I’m being honest, I was a little reluctant to take it on at first. Mostly because I really believe in INFINITI and enjoy when we create custom lines. But obviously not everyone has the luxury of creating a custom line for their operation. Plus, we realize having something that’s modular can be more efficient in a lot of cases. To do it right, we had to start from scratch. I think all in all we ended up with over 2,000 parts drawings. What was challenging about it was having to think through the potential custom requests we might get across all of the carts, and making sure that regardless, they would all work together seamlessly. In the end, we were also able to translate many touches available in the INFINITI line into a small cart format for INFINITI FIT, which was cool.

Q: If you could create an INFINITI serving line for any property in the world, where would it be?

Wherever I can get more people to see it! How about a hotel in Vegas, like Mandalay Bay? I know consumers aren’t thinking “Hey, look at that terrific serving line,” but I’m proud of the products we put out there and want as many people to use them as possible.

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