For the Record with Katelyn Tasto, Engineering Manager, FactoryTwin

May 24  

Katelyn Tasto is the Engineering Manager at FactoryTwin, where she leverages her diverse background in both Theatre and Computer Science to drive innovation and excellence in software development. With a BA in Theatre from St. Cloud State University and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Katelyn brings a unique blend of creativity and technical expertise to her role. Based in Minnetonka, MN, she resides with her girlfriend, Allexus, and their two rabbits, Pepper & Basil, and cat, Nebula. With over three years of experience at FactoryTwin, Katelyn is dedicated to leading her team towards continued success.

What is FactoryTwin?

FactoryTwin is a software company located in Hopkins, Minnesota, with a dedicated focus on supporting complex manufacturers, particularly in the aerospace, medtech and industrial sectors. Through our past as manufacturing consultants, we bring a wealth of experience in manufacturing, where we’ve gained unique insights into the intricacies of shop operations management and optimization.

FactoryTwin® platform helps manufacturers simplify the complexities of their operations and unlock productivity of their workforce. We provide a user friendly and affordable approach for SMEs (Small & Medium Enterprises) to exploit existing factory data, offline information, and tribal knowledge of their senior associates to achieve double digit improvements in shop KPIs using FactoryTwin® platform.

What was your professional journey that led you to working for FactoryTwin?

My professional journey to FactoryTwin began when I graduated from St. Cloud State University with a bachelor’s degree in Theatre. During my time studying theatre, I had fallen in love with stage management and after graduation I quickly discovered that the exact things I loved about stage management also applied to project/program management. For several years, I embarked on a career in program management. Later on, my love of math and science eventually led me to pursue a second bachelor’s degree in computer science at the University of Minnesota.

It was during my time at the U of M that I joined FactoryTwin as an intern. This initial opportunity provided me with hands-on experience and a glimpse into the world of manufacturing and software development. I later transitioned into a full-time role within the company, where I’ve had the privilege to immerse myself in all aspects of our software – from tackling technical coding challenges to shaping user interface designs. Today, as the Engineering Manager, I’m proud to lead our team of developers and contribute to the ongoing success and innovation at FactoryTwin.

Can you share some things your organization has done that you are most proud of?

What I’m most proud of at FactoryTwin is undoubtedly our exceptional team of developers and the remarkable culture they’ve fostered. Their dedication, curiosity, and creativity are truly inspiring. Each member of our team approaches their work with a sense of ownership, constantly striving to enhance our software and develop innovative features and modules. It’s rare to find such a cohesive and passionate team, and I’m incredibly proud of each one of them. Moreover, I take immense pride in the environment we’ve created at our organization – one where every employee feels valued, motivated, and excited to come to work each day. Did I mention we are a 100% work-from-office team? Knowing that our team members leave the office every day feeling fulfilled and proud of their contributions is incredibly rewarding.

What motivates you as a leader?

As a leader, my greatest motivation stems from the opportunity to serve my team. I firmly believe in the concept of leading through service, where my primary goal is to support and empower each member to reach their full potential. Effective communication is at the heart of this approach, as I strive to create an environment where everyone feels heard, valued, and understood. I’m driven by the joy of seeing my team come together in harmony, each member contributing their unique skills and talents towards a shared goal. It’s like a captivating puzzle, where the challenge lies in orchestrating the many diverse perspectives and abilities to create something truly remarkable together.

What advice would you give to aspiring healthcare leaders who are looking to make an impact in this industry?

For aspiring leaders looking to truly make a difference, my advice would be to listen and empathize. Take the time to understand the real issues facing those within the industry and the people they serve. In this way, you’ll gain invaluable insights for shaping impactful solutions.

Furthermore, by keeping your focus on the end-users you can tailor your innovations to meet their specific needs and preferences. This customer-centric approach not only ensures your solutions are effective but also builds trust and leads to lasting relationships. At our organization, we’ve seen firsthand the power of this approach. By truly understanding our customers’ needs, we’ve been able to develop solutions that make a real difference in manufacturing.

How do you see the healthcare industry changing in the next 5-10 years, and what is your organization doing to stay ahead of those changes?

Healthcare and manufacturing sectors are gearing up for a significant shift, with data emerging as the cornerstone of this change. Fueled by exponential data growth, technological advancements, notably AI, and the demand for more efficient and personalized solutions, organizations are embracing the principles of Industry 4.0. Data analytics plays a pivotal role in this transformation, from fortifying supply chain dynamics to enhancing operational efficiency. At FactoryTwin, we recognize the paramount importance of data analytics in molding the manufacturing landscape. By integrating data analytics with an intuitive user interface into our software, we’re not just adapting to the evolving landscape of manufacturing; we’re actively shaping it.

How does your company prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in terms of your workforce and the services you offer?

At FactoryTwin we foster an inclusive environment where every individual, regardless of experience, is encouraged to contribute ideas, all of which are taken seriously. From interns to seasoned professionals, every voice is valued, promoting a culture of respect and collaboration. As one example of our commitment to diversity and inclusion, my colleague and I participated in a Scitech Internship panel aimed at inspiring female students in STEM fields. By sharing our experiences and insights, we hoped to encourage these students to pursue internships and careers with software companies. We actively promote diversity and inclusion both within our workforce and in the software we develop. By listening to diverse perspectives, we ensure our products are innovative, accessible, and equitable for all users.

What do you see as the biggest opportunity and challenge facing the healthcare industry in Medical Alley?

In my opinion, the healthcare and manufacturing industries face a dual opportunity and challenge concerning data utilization. The challenge lies in effectively harnessing the data that is generated. Despite possessing vast amounts of data, many small and medium-sized manufacturers struggle to extract meaningful insights due to scattered and disparate data sources, or gaps and inconsistencies in data collection. This lack of a unified data strategy prevents optimization, resulting in inefficiencies and missed improvement opportunities. However, this challenge also presents an avenue for innovation. By unlocking existing data’s potential, manufacturers can drive operational efficiency and informed decision-making.

What are your hobbies or things you enjoy doing when not at work?

When at home, I enjoy relaxing by playing Minecraft, watching Netflix, or working on jigsaw puzzles. I love cuddling with my (somewhat aloof) cat, Nebula, though it is as of yet inconclusive if she shares the same sentiments towards the activity. I can also often be found planning my next trip, as traveling has always been one of my greatest passions. Whether checking out a new state park down the road, or exploring a different state or country, I love the new experiences and perspectives that come with exploring a new place.

What is your favorite thing about the Medical Alley community?

What stands out to me most about the Medical Alley community is the genuine dedication to making a difference in people’s lives. For many of these organizations, it’s not just about business; it’s about a shared passion for improving healthcare outcomes and advancing medical technology. I’m inspired by these organizations’ drive to innovate and improve others’ lives, whether that be here in Minnesota or around the world. Having only recently joined Medical Alley, I look forward to contributing to the shared purpose and am excited to network with and help the manufacturers in the community.

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