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Ali Nematollahi

Technology Team Manager
4Refuel, A Finning Industrial Service
Ali Nematollahi
Ali Nematollahi
Location Now
Education Pathway

Ali Nematollahi is a Technology Team Manager for 4Refuel, A Finning Industrial Service.

About me

I was born/grew up in: Tehran, Iran

I now live in: North Vancouver, British Columbia

I completed my training/education at: Simon Fraser University (BASc and MBA)

What I do at work

My job at 4Refuel  is to develop technology (hardware and software) for fuel trucks. I’m a curious problem solver at heart. I spend a good portion of my day talking to customers. Building relationships helps me understand better what the users want or need, the issues they have, and what repetitive tasks they do. When I know this, I can build technology to make their jobs easier!

As an engineer, I enjoy brainstorming ideas and solutions to complex problems with other engineers and technicians. I spend some of my day creating useful software, hardware and solutions that can address the issues I discover by talking to the customers. As a manager, I work with other managers to find ways technology can make the business more efficient and more productive. I also make sure that the technology and engineering team run like a well-oiled machine. This helps make sure that the customers get what they need on time and flawlessly.

The most useful skill that engineering taught me is how to think critically. The biggest challenge in problem solving, whether it is for a job or in your personal life, is to find the root cause of the problem. In a highly complex system, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Engineering taught me how to look at an issue as a whole, then to find possible causes of problems, and test to find the actual root cause. Another important lesson from having engineered dozens of products is to find the simplest solution possible. Decision-making is a process of repeating steps. First, I gather as much information as possible. Then I find out the alternatives and weight these options by looking at their strengths and shortcomings. Finally, I make a decision. Then I evaluate the result and get feedback on success or failure and analyze the outcome, and repeat.

My career path is

My parents encouraged me to pursue my passion and they helped me find the right path. I sold my first software when I was 13. I designed my first full network for an internet cafe when I was 15. I always wanted to design and build technology and be creative. Even though I was always into software design, I graduated as an electronics engineer but my career took me back to software engineering. The biggest opportunity for me to grow was when I got into engineering school and got my first job at Ericsson and I was mentored by senior engineers. Every conversation was a learning opportunity. I have had many failures in my career, especially at the beginning. After the initial disappointment and frustration, I used my problem-solving skills to learn from mistakes and not repeat them.

I am motivated by

I’ve always enjoyed challenging myself to learn new things and to be up to date with the latest and the greatest innovations. In my job, getting opportunities to be creative, think outside the box and to build technology that can solve a problem, and then getting positive feedback from the customers, is very motivating to me. When I speak with customers that have had the chance to use the solution I built, and they confirm that it works well and it solves their problems or makes their job easier, it is the most rewarding experience for me.

As a manager, it is rewarding to see members of the team working together. Seeing team members help each other and be happy with their jobs, makes me happy with my career choice!

How I affect people’s lives

The products that I help engineer directly affect people’s lives. My customers rely on my products daily. If there is a technological issue, it will make their jobs so much more difficult and directly affects customer satisfaction. I also create technology that can help reduce fuel spills and air pollution, and increases productivity.

Outside of work I

Weight training, flatwater kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, baking, hanging out with friends, racing cars at local tracks are all things I do in my free time.  I volunteered as web designer, VP and then President of my canoe club. I also helped the club raise money and be financially strong.

My advice to others

Follow your passion. Learn and do as much as you can as early as you can. Don’t be afraid of failing. Always look back at everything you do to find what worked and what didn’t and why. Every opportunity is a learning opportunity. Finally, dont forget the people that helped you.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Foreign languages
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Business & Economics
  • Computer Science
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Liked helping people
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Was motivated by success
  • Wanted to be in charge
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Was really creative
  • Never wanted to be in the classroom
  • Didn't really care about grades
  • Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked

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