Susan Campbell joined the Equilibar team in early 2020, and her years of experience in industrial systems quickly proved useful as COVID-19 brought numerous disruptions to manufacturers around the world.
Susan earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from NC State University, where she worked as a co-op engineer for textile companies Hoechst Celanese and Boehme Filatex. After graduation, she worked with AMP Incorporated and continued to work in connector manufacturing, primarily computer and consumer electronics, for 13 years.
“I served in various capacities—process engineering, quality engineering, environmental compliance, manufacturing analysis,” she said. “I did a lot of work with suppliers, which was fascinating as this role yielded an opportunity to work in Guangdong China for six months. I traveled with a colleague from plant to plant, qualifying suppliers to make connectors as private brand labeled products. Even though the language barrier was difficult, I became comfortable working with suppliers and really enjoyed it.”
At Equilibar, Susan serves as a technical liaison between Production and Engineering, focusing on projects and systems that help internal functions operate more efficiently. She enjoys working on standardization and traceability and digging into the details of a challenging problem. “Details in my mind are very important and something I simply cannot overlook—it’s just how my mind works. I think colleagues who are more focused on the big picture sometimes wonder why I dig so hard to get every detail. I can say from experience, though, that when problems arise, people often come to me knowing I will dig and dig until I find an answer.”
In particular, Susan works on flow control projects and surface finishing, which takes advantage of her chemical engineering background. She especially enjoys working with our suppliers and developing good relationships with them.
Susan offers a unique perspective as someone who has extensive international experience yet also has deep roots to our Western North Carolina home. “I’m proud to say that I am a seventh generation native of Henderson County and a descendant of Revolutionary War soldier James Brittain,” she said. “I, like many youngsters, couldn’t wait to get out and see what the world had to offer, but eventually I longed to come back to the mountains. The natural beauty of this area is like no other. It’s a wonderful place to raise a family and to enjoy the outdoors.”
Returning to her roots, Susan serves on the board of the nearby Mills River Farm Market, which provides a way for small farmers to sell their goods and families to conveniently buy fresh local food. The market also participates in the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Double SNAP program, which provides a one-to-one match on dollars spent through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). “This really maximizes the amount of fresh food that qualifying families can buy,” Susan explained. “In 2020, the market actually quintupled our EBT/SNAP sales, providing access to fresh and healthy food during a challenging time and bringing in more income to local farmers.
In addition to exploring the outdoors, Susan and her family enjoy Asian food of all kinds. “We really enjoy dining at authentic Chinese Dim Sum restaurants when visiting a big city and we occasionally make Asian dishes at home. We had a friend from China visit us years ago and after eating American food for a week we made dinner for him and he was so relieved. It was, by his estimation, 80 percent Chinese!”
After moving back to Western North Carolina, Susan spent several years staying home with her son before returning to engineering at Equilibar. “I have learned so much in the short time that I’ve worked here. The team is supportive so you can work on something completely new without feeling overwhelmed. We’re all learning and making improvements together.”