What is your role at Synapse?

I’m a Product Quality Engineer. Traditionally “high quality” has meant rugged, reliable, and beautiful, but that is often slow and expensive. Every project has to balance time, cost, and quality, and understanding all three allows us to deliver the best solution. In short, it’s my job to ensure our clients and their customers get exactly what they expect.

Product Quality Engineer Kathy Fedirchuk

How did you first learn about Synapse?

I worked for a big company that hired Synapse to do a lot of projects, both big and small. At some points I was working with Synapsters far more than my actual coworkers. I was intrigued by consulting because it seemed to bring a never ending variety of projects and clients. Fortunately, when I decided to move back to the west coast in 2015, Synapse was looking for someone with my skill set. It was perfect timing and I jumped at the chance.

Where would we likely find you on the weekend?

In the summer, I’m usually hiking, camping, or cycling. Bare minimum, I get outside. In the winter I ski, hit spin class, and catch up on the stack of books I inevitably put off all summer. I like to have a lot of visitors year round and we always do touristy things, which is great since I feel like I’m still getting to know Seattle.

What were you like in high school?

I don’t think I’m all that different now. I was probably a bit quieter back then. I got along with most anyone and did well in school, though I don’t remember taking it too seriously. I played a lot of sports and spent a lot of time outdoors at our cabin on Lake of the Woods. 

Tell us one interesting thing about you that we don’t know already.

When I was a teenager I really wanted to become a cop. My interest in science steered me towards other careers, but I still wonder what that would have been like. Maybe one day I’ll look into what it takes to become a detective. 

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned at Synapse so far?

I’ve learned so much about manufacturing. It needs to be considered early in the design process. As a Quality specialist I’m always driving the team to make the right product for our client, but this year I’ve also been focused on understanding the right way to do that. I’ve learned that sometimes the best thing you can do is slow down (or even stop) to learn about the product. My latest mantra is “Don’t rush to make a bunch of garbage.” It’s not eloquent but it gets the point across. Before that it was, “No liquids on the [assembly] line.”

What’s been your favorite Synapse event?

Some of the best times I’ve had with my coworkers have been unplanned. I travel a lot to visit manufacturers in Asia and that always bonds a team. Every trip is a different mix of coworkers and a new adventure. We definitely feed off each others’ energy. A few weeks ago when the whole office was really busy, 50+ people ended up congregating in the kitchen after a long day for snacks and drinks. I realized everyone had just kind of landed on the same wavelength. The buzz is palpable sometimes and I love it.

Favorite project?

Oh man, some of the new stuff we’re working on is just so cool. The world is asking for products that integrate into their lives in an intuitive, reliable, and useful way; they want it to just work without having to think about it. The projects I am the most excited about are both familiar and brand new.