Peggie Wever joins Arnell J. Ignacio to talk about her professional journey at Inductive Automation. In this discussion, they explore Peggie’s experiences from the early days all the way to her current role. Peggie also shares insight about what it is like to work at Inductive Automation, what makes IA such a unique place, her journey at Inductive Automation, and much more. We also get a peek into Peggie’s interests and what she sees for the future.
“Customers are going to continue to innovate and push the software to its limits, and then because of that, we're also going to have to innovate on our end and improve the software so that they can do that better and solve their problems more efficiently.”
Peggie is a driven professional who began her career at Inductive Automation in 2012 as a receptionist after graduating from the University of California, Davis. With a passion for delivering exceptional customer service, she quickly moved up the ranks and joined the Software Support Services division, where she honed her skills in triaging technical support tickets and building strong relationships with customers. Peggie's success in this role led to her next challenge as the Events Manager for the Public Relations team. In this role, she has successfully managed a wide range of events, including internal employee events, conferences and tradeshows, and the company's flagship annual event, the Ignition Community Conference (ICC).
Arnell J. Ignacio: Hello and welcome to Inductive Conversations. My name is Arnell J. Ignacio, and we're here again with another episode of How Did You Get Here, where we explore the professional journey of an IA employee. Today joining with me is Peggie Wever, and she's the Customer Engagement Manager with the Community Alliances Division [note: Peggie is now the Events Manager in the Public Relations Division] here at Inductive Automation. Peggie, welcome.
Peggie Wever: Thank you.
Arnell: Before we begin, I just wanna say congratulations. I hear you got married recently.
Peggie: Yes, thank you. I got married in early October.
Arnell: Excellent, excellent. And just before we started this conversation, you shared something very interesting, so your last name is Wever, so can you talk about how that came about? And so there are some cool details about that.
Peggie: Yeah, so my maiden name is Wong, and in California, they passed the Name Equality Act, and so both partners can change their name when they get married, and so instead of me taking on my husband's name, we decided to create a brand new name by combining both of our names, Wong and Clever, and my new name is going to be Wever.
Arnell: That's pretty cool. Well, thank you for sharing that. So before we jump right in, can you tell me a little bit more about yourself and what you do currently here at Inductive Automation?
Peggie: Yeah, so like you mentioned, I'm the Customer Engagement Manager in the Community Alliances team, and I kind of act like a jack-of-all-trades in my department. I help coordinate both internal and external events, I nurture the relationships, both with our direct customers and our integrators, I look for and place customer speakers at events, and I also dabble in a little bit of public relations stuff, like writing news announcements and editing video case studies.
Arnell: It sounds like you've been traveling quite a bit recently, since things have eased up a little bit with restrictions. How has it been like for you?
Peggie: Oh, it's been amazing. I love traveling, but when I first moved into the Community Alliances team, it was March of 2020, so unfortunately, all of our conferences, all of our trade shows and traveling got canceled and we were just put on hold as far as in-person events for a couple of years, and then this year, we finally started opening up and traveling again, and it's been really nice to visit some cities that I've never been to before.
Arnell: So you talked about going into the Community Alliances Division. So let's kinda back up a little bit. And prior to working at IA, can you talk about where you were at that time?
Peggie: Yeah, Inductive Automation is actually my first job out of college. So yeah, all of my previous jobs were part-time and very physical. So, I was a waitress, I worked in animal husbandry, I did a couple of lab jobs in college.
Arnell: So coming out of college, how did you find Inductive Automation?
Peggie: Inductive Automation was actually posted on my college's job board at UC Davis, so yeah, they were looking, I was looking, it just was a good fit.
Arnell: And so when you started, how has that experience been like?
Peggie: Well, the company was a lot different when I first started, which was 10 years ago. It was a very small company, we had maybe between 20 and 30 people, and since then we've grown tenfold, so it's been a huge change over the years.
Arnell: And at the time, what made you wanna join IA? What was something that stood out to you?
Peggie: I think something that I noticed, even through the interviews, was the company culture, the way that everyone was really welcoming and friendly, and I think that was one of the main reasons that I chose Inductive Automation over my other prospects.
Arnell: Taking a look back at your journey at IA, let's talk about your progression in the organization. Can you talk about the different roles that you've had, what skills did you start off with? What skills did you pick up along the way? And then are there any projects that you worked on that put on the path to success?
Peggie: Sure. So I'll be honest, when I first started here, I probably had very few skills. I was fresh out of college, so not a lot of job experience. No experience with software. No office experience even. I had a little bit of customer service experience from being a waitress. And yeah, my first role at the company was actually the front desk reception, and then I really enjoyed that job. I loved seeing everyone come in every day and greeting them and getting to know them. After a couple of years, there was a need for an admin in the Support Department, and it was a really good opportunity because there had not been that role before, and so it was a chance to kind of build up a brand new position, and I just sort of jumped in and saw where there were gaps that needed to be filled, and then I found a way to fill them. And it was a good way to figure out what needed to be done, but provide great customer service at the same time. And then a few years ago, a position opened up on the Community Alliances team to work on conferences and trade shows, and like I mentioned, when I moved was March of 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic in the United States, so we shifted to remote and virtual events for a couple of years, and then now as everything's opening back up, starting to go to in-person shows again.
Arnell: That's great.
Peggie: And then probably the most important project for me was, actually this year, going to ARC in Orlando. It was the first time that I had gone to an in-person conference, and I had actually done all of the coordination for the conference leading up to it, and in my opinion, it was a really good success, so I think that was probably my most successful project to date.
Arnell: And how was that experience, with being at ARC?
Peggie: It was amazing. Like I said, it was my first trade show, so I didn't know what to expect really, and it was really good to see how the industry leaders and customers view Inductive Automation in the world, because I know how we view ourselves, but obviously we're bias because we are Inductive Automation. So...
Arnell: Yeah. Well, I think that's great that you're able to get out there and you're able to go to a lot of our shows. And I think it's kind of a unique role where you're able to interact with our customers and get kind of a firsthand interaction with them, and then be able to find out what they're doing with our product, what they're doing with Ignition. Our community has been building some amazing projects, and it's just nice to be able to just talk to them and see what they've been working on, so I think that's great. So throughout your journey here at Inductive Automation, did you envision being in the position you're in now?
Peggie: Oh, absolutely not. I've taken a very roundabout way to get where I am. So I actually studied geology in college, so what I was expecting to do is completely different from what I'm doing now. And in my journey at Inductive Automation, I've just kind of gone with the flow and seeing where there's been a need, and any time there's been a need, and I was a good fit for that position, that's where I went. So yeah, it was a lucky happenstance that I ended up where I am now.
Arnell: Very cool. Well, I'm glad you're here at IA. What are some of the things that make you excited about working or what you're doing here at Inductive Automation?
Peggie: Yeah, so I am really excited to be able to see what our customers are doing with Ignition. And both my time in Support and my time in Community Alliances, I've had a really good opportunity to see, to have visibility into what people are doing. Like people would call in to Support and with their problems and people would... The managers would be like, "Sorry, they're doing what with Ignition?" And yeah, so it's been really interesting to see that people are using the software in a way that we never intended for them to use, and it really keeps us on our toes because we're like, "Oh well, people are using it that way, so we should make it easier for them to use the software that way."
Arnell: Yeah, our community is quite amazing. Their feedback has been essential at giving us the information to help build Ignition to where it needs to be. And so when working for a company, what are some of the things that are important to you?
Peggie: I think the most important thing would be, one, the culture: make sure that you get along with your team, first and foremost, and also the other people who you work with. And I think the second most important thing is that the company cares about what you are passionate about and is invested in placing you in a position where you can follow those passions.
Arnell: And do you feel like Inductive Automation has given you those tools here?
Peggie: Absolutely. Like I said, I've jumped around a bit and I think that I finally found the position that best fits my goals and my passions, and yeah, the company has been really good at not only finding a place for me, but making sure that I am able to succeed in my new position.
Arnell: We talked about the culture here at Inductive Automation. How would you describe the culture here?
Peggie: Well, it's interesting because when I started, we were such a small company and we had that small company feel, and now that we're a lot bigger, I feel like we still have that small company feel. I still walk down the hallways and say good morning to everyone I see, and it just feels like a little family despite how big we are.
Arnell: And we recently became a remote-first company, and so we have a lot of individuals who are working remotely across the United States. So do you feel like, with having remote individuals on our team, do you feel that we still have that dynamic that you've experienced early on at Inductive Automation?
Peggie: Yeah, absolutely. I think our company tries to make sure that everyone feels included, not just our local employees, and I think we're always open to new ideas to improve upon that, but I think we do a really good job currently about that. For example, for ICC, we flew in all of our remote employees and made sure that they were included and involved in our conference. I've also been to other conferences in other states where some of our remote employees have actually met us there, met those of us from California. And yeah, it was great to be able to interact with them outside of just the conference.
Arnell: Yeah, it was great to meet a lot of our fellow employees at ICC and then meeting them for the first time, but I think it's really cool that you're able to go out to all these different locations, and then our remote staff is able to meet up and be able to meet customers as well, but also to talk to us, and just, again, I feel like, yeah, it's been great where even though we've been remote and as you said, it's we still maintain that, that feel that we've had at the beginning, so that's really cool. So along those lines, from your point of view, what makes IA unique? Is there something that stands out to you in that regard?
Peggie: I think the thing that makes IA unique is the people. So everyone's just so open and friendly, and I can... There is not a single person at the company that I don't get along with, and I think, yeah, everyone's just super easy to get along with, and I feel like I could approach anybody and just strike up a conversation with them, and I think that's really the number one reason why I've stayed at this company for all these years.
Arnell: You've been at Inductive Automation as long as we've had ICCs really. What is something that's... What is the most memorable moment or moments for that matter here at Inductive Automation for you?
Peggie: I think the most memorable moment is probably going to be the first ICC, 'cause I remember sitting in some of those meetings, those first planning meetings, and we had a lot of doubts and we weren't sure if anybody was even gonna show up, but since that first ICC, year after year, our expectations are always exceeded by both the turnout and the passion that our customers bring to every single conference.
Arnell: From my perspective, when I came in six years ago, we've come a long way. So I can imagine from the very beginning, there's a lot that we've done, but we're always finding new things to incorporate into the conference. It's always great to see our community, they're incredibly excited. It's always amazing to meet our customers, very passionate and they enjoy conversing with each other, with all the projects that they're working on, which is kind of a, I think it's a unique thing. There's no gating on information, they're just trying to look for a solution that'll work, and it's just amazing to see how that progression has come along, and yeah, I think that's a great perspective that you have to see all of that from the beginning until, up until now, where you said there's a lot of uncertainty and now it's kinda like, "Well, what can we do next to deliver an experience to our community?" So that's pretty cool. In regards to your work, you talked about all the different things, all the different roles that you've had here at Inductive Automation and being able to provide support wherever it's needed. Do you find that Inductive Automation gives you what you need to succeed?
Peggie: Yeah, absolutely. I think that Inductive Automation is really good at making sure that people go where they wanna go. So if you're in a position and you've got great skills and talent, but it's not exactly the right position for you, maybe you're not thriving as much as you could be, Inductive Automation, I feel like they really try to put you somewhere where you are going to thrive and something that you're really passionate about.
Arnell: So for you, what does the future look like? In terms, where you are, the company, possibly the industry, since you're working, working with a lot of our customers in your role. What does the future look like for you?
Peggie: I think that customers are going to continue to innovate and push the software to its limits, and then because of that, we're also going to have to innovate on our end and improve the software so that they can do that better and solve their problems more efficiently. I think, yeah, as they keep innovating, we're going to have to keep innovating as well, just to keep up with them.
Arnell: Yeah, and again, that's the mutual relationship that we have with our customers and our community. They will continue to find new ways to use Ignition, and so it pushes us to innovate, and I think that's kind of the sentiment that our software development team has mentioned, that it's great to have that ability to be able to work with our customers and know what would be the next upcoming features or technologies that we should look into that could help a lot of people get a lot of things done, so no, thank you very much for that. So we talked about your journey here at Inductive Automation and talked about the different roles and what you've been doing here, so I wanna jump outside and see what you like to do outside of work, what are some of the things that interest you and that you're involved in?
Peggie: So I love to travel, which is great because of my new position. I love having new experiences, meeting new people from all walks of life. I've been to over 10 countries and a handful of states so far, and I'm always looking for new places to go. I also love food, eating it, cooking it, styling it, snapping photos of it. Anything to do with food, I'm there.
Arnell: Excellent. Is there a location during your travels that stands out to you?
Peggie: Oh, Iceland, 100%. There is just... Got so much natural beauty and there's anything that you could really ask for. There's glaciers, there's volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, waterfalls, you can even go snorkeling or scuba diving between two tectonic plates there.
Arnell: Oh, that's cool. And you mentioned that food is also of a big interest. I would imagine that would naturally be something that you incorporate in your travels. Is there any food that's your favorite?
Peggie: My favorite? I don't know if I have a favorite, but I definitely have a most unique dish that I've tried.
Arnell: It's okay.
Peggie: So the weirdest dish that I've tried, no offense to Icelanders, is called Hákarl, and it's this traditional Viking food that's like a fermented shark dish.
Arnell: Oh wow. Okay.
Peggie: And if you look online, there's actually a bunch of travel shows highlighting the hosts trying it for the first time and actually gagging due to the taste.
Arnell: Oh no.
Peggie: It, actually, it tastes kind of sulfurous to me, which is really weird, really an odd thing, not something that you come across in everyday cuisine.
Arnell: And are there any places that you've been to where you enjoyed the cuisine there?
Peggie: Yeah, the best place that I've gone for food is probably Hong Kong, and I might be biased because I have a lot of family there and I visit often, but it's... Hong Kong is just a huge international hub, so there's cuisines from all over the world, and the food is also pretty affordable compared to here in the US, and so you can basically walk down any street and find some really good food.
Arnell: And then you also mentioned that you like cooking food and styling food. Is there certain foods that you like making quite a bit?
Peggie: Not really. I kind of like to go all around the world when I cook, all over the place. So some days I'll make Chinese food, which is where my family is from, and then maybe the next day crème brûlée and then the day after that fajitas, I pretty much like to go anywhere when I'm cooking.
Arnell: And when you cook, do you also bake quite a bit or...
Peggie: I do, yeah.
Arnell: Okay. Excellent. Are there any items that you like baking often?
Peggie: So I like baking bread, but I'm not very good at it, I just don't have the patience. So most of the time I bake sweets, which is a lot more successful for me. One of the more successful things that I've baked is this cherry and chocolate port brownies.
Arnell: Oh nice.
Peggie: Very rich. Definitely need to save room in order to eat this dessert.
Arnell: Yeah, I'm a sucker for brownies, but that does sound really good. Is there anything else that you are involved in or...
Peggie: I'm trying to think, 'cause I do enjoy gardening, but I'm like a plant killer.
Arnell: No, thank you for coming to, of course, to our interview. If you had a chance to talk to an applicant to IA, what would you tell them? And if they're on the fence about joining Inductive Automation, what would be something that you would say to them?
Peggie: So if somebody has some hesitations about joining the IA team, I would say that even if you don't end up staying as long as I have, IA has a great environment, a really nurturing environment, and it's a great place to get experience and further your career goals for future positions. And then if you do end up staying, then my advice would be to just work really hard, be open to criticism and advice, and if the position that you started isn't a good fit, don't be afraid to reach out and find out what it would take to move into a position that would benefit you more.
Arnell: Well, Peggie, thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you for sharing your journey here at Inductive Automation, and thank you for all that you do here.
Peggie: Thank you.
Arnell: Okay. Have a good day.