Do you like solving problems? Alwyn Pryse does. From his military service to his transition to the world of 3D printing, Alwyn (pronounced Al-win) has relished every challenge placed before his path.
In our latest Velo3D Employee Spotlight, we chatted with Alwyn to learn more about his professional experience, his pizza-filled interview process with Velo3D Founder and CEO Benny Buller, and what he finds most fulfilling about his role as Velo3D’s Director of Customer Service in Europe.
Please tell us about your professional background.
After school I joined and spent five years in the military working with electronics. And after I left the military, I spent eight years working in the semiconductor as a field service engineer. From there, I started working in the 3D printing industry, where I worked with both polymer and metal systems. I’ve spent over 18 years working in 3D printing.
What brought you to Velo3D?
I think I fancied a new challenge and looked at it as an opportunity to begin a new journey and establish a new team. I joined my previous company when it was more or less the same size as Velo3D, so I was excited at the prospect of having a hand in helping the company grow its presence, especially in Europe.
So yeah, I went through the interview process, and after several phone calls, and a pizza and beer with Benny, I was offered the position.
What kind of pizza was it?
[Laughs] It was PizzaExpress, nothing too fancy!
Tell us a little bit about your day-to-day at Velo3D?
I’m supporting the engineers with all the little challenges they face, and I’m supporting the technical sales team when it comes to questions regarding topics like machine installations and machine planning. A big part of my role is also building out the team, I’m planning for the next members as we need to grow quite quickly.
Of course, processes and compliance for service is also something I’m heavily involved with. So, making sure our paperwork and processes are compliant. And then I also work to get them translated, because Europe is more than just one language.
How would you describe the culture at Velo3D?
Definitely friendly and collaborative. I think people here really try to work together and support each other. People talk about companies being agile, and I would say Velo3D is very agile; we are continuously adapting and changing the way we do things for the better on a daily basis.
Supporting is another way I’d describe the culture. Everybody you speak to wants to support you and help find solutions to whatever challenge you’re facing.
What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
I like to be challenged. Maybe that’s a bit cliché but it’s true. I like to deal with problems, and I like to find the solutions. I left school with minimum qualifications, just my GCSE, and joined the military. It wasn’t until after I was out of school for a bit that I got my first degree, my BSc in Electrical Electronic Engineering. And then recently I finished my BA in business management and leadership, with a first-class honors.
What in your opinion differentiates Velo3D from other additive manufacturing solutions?
I would say a lot of the value is the people. But if we’re talking technically, then I would say our non-contact recoating mechanism, and then of course all the metrology that goes on in the machine during a build. We have a lot of metrology going on to ensure successful builds, and we are doing a lot of things that other companies aren’t doing. So, we are doing more on the powder bed for system monitoring than any of our customers or any of our competitors, I would say, which is what will differentiate us a lot as we go forward into industries like aviation and space.
What has been your favorite project so far?
Bringing in more people. Bringing in engineers, talking to the engineers that we want to have join the team. I think that is one of the most rewarding aspects about my job. You get to hire someone and support them with training at the start of their professional journey, and then continue to support them so that they are successful.
Another favorite project was putting our first system into our Augsburg technical center. This was the first real system that the whole European team was part of, and this was a good team experience. It allowed lots of us to come together and get to know each other better for sure.
What do you like to do for fun? Any interesting hobbies?
I played rugby for many years but then I stopped playing rugby and started running. But I had to stop that too when I was doing my Open University course. Now I want to get back to running again. I turned 50 recently, so my goal this year to finish my first marathon.
That’s all our questions—thanks for chatting with us, Alwyn!