REDCOM EMS, a unit of REDCOM Laboratories in Victor, provides contract electronics manufacturing services for a variety of industries, including aerospace, defense, transportation, telecommunications and medical. This mainly involves making printed circuit boards, but also includes cable assemblies and box build assemblies.
“People come in with their design and we take it and build it,” says Lauren Iuranich, the company’s 31-year-old quality engineer and a $2500 winner of FuzeHub’s 2019 Millennials in Manufacturing Award. At REDCOM EMS, Lauren is responsible for implementing, maintaining, monitoring, and continuously improving a quality management system according to ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D. The quality expectations that she sets help mitigate the risk of defective components and products.
“Manufacturing wasn’t on my radar.”
Yet REDCOM isn’t an environment where Iuranich ever envisioned herself. She entered Rochester Institute of Technology as a chemistry major, with the goal of becoming a forensic scientist. “When I was a kid, I wanted to be a detective, sort of like Sherlock Holmes,” she says.
After a year of college, Iuranich decided to try a different program. She remembered liking a digital electronics course she had taken through Project Lead the Way–a national nonprofit which provides STEM curriculum to schools–and made Electrical Engineering Technology her new major. Even then, she wasn’t thinking about manufacturing. Her interest lay in the nuclear power industry.
“Manufacturing wasn’t on my radar,” she recalls. “They don’t really push that too much in standard four-year colleges. Especially with the engineering side of things, it is more about the design work. So, it was just something I never really considered when I was in college.”
That changed when she accepted a co-op position with Allworx, a Rochester-based telecommunications equipment company, managing one of its contract manufacturers. “While I was there, I realized it would be interesting to be on the manufacturing side of things,” she says. “It just seemed like a much more dynamic and interesting environment.”
Taking care of business
REDCOM EMS was formed from the manufacturing operations of REDCOM Laboratories, when that company shifted its focus primarily to software. Iuranich started work there in June 2017, during a time of expansion.
“I basically manage everything quality related,” she says of her job as quality engineer. “It is always interesting. Every day there is something new, something different, “ she continues. “I like the challenges that come up. We have this issue or this potential issue. What can we do to fix it or prevent it? It is brainstorming with different people and coming up with solutions, implementing those solutions and then seeing them actually help. In a way I am doing forensic detective work. How did this happen? Why did it happen? I think that is the fun part of my job.”
REDCOM EMS had achieved its ISO 9001:2015 certification shortly before Iuranich came on board, so she took charge of securing additional certifications to enable the company to move into the aerospace and medical products markets. Through her efforts, REDCOM obtained its AS9100D certification for aerospace in July 2019. ISO 13485:2016 certification for the medical industry is now in the review process.
In addition to pursuing certifications and ensuring the quality of every product manufactured at REDCOM, Iuranich tries to do “as much continuous improvement as I can,” working to make the facility’s processes leaner and more reliable.
Looking to the future
Now that she’s working in manufacturing, Iuranich is not turning back. The mother of two young children plans to keep climbing the ladder in the field. “I’d like to stay at REDCOM for a while because I feel like I am helping to build it up to be a larger force in the local New York State contract manufacturing world,” she says. “But whether I stay at REDCOM or end up somewhere else, I do plan on staying in manufacturing.”
Asked what she would tell other young people about manufacturing, Iuranich says they should understand that it is “more than working on the line building products” and is a field with opportunities for everyone.
“If someone is going for an engineering degree or even a business degree, there are the back-office support positions like purchasing, quality and production engineering, program management, managing customer relationships, all that stuff,” she said. “There is a lot more to manufacturing than a lot of people think.”