THE PEOPLE OF U

Hear from our team members. Discover how our team members around the world are challenged by our dynamic work environment, our technology, how they came to join our team, and how they reflect on their overall career path.

Hadassah joined us in 2015 as an entry-level Software Quality Engineer after working in Higher Education/Non-Profit and graduating with a Master’s in Systems Science from Binghamton University. This was her first role in an engineering discipline. Today she is a Quality Assurance Manager where she uses her knowledge of our products, peoples, and processes to apply quality principles to ensure our high-tech products meet the strictest of quality requirements.

In her free time, she participates in Toastmasters International, American Society for Quality, and likes swing dancing (when there isn’t a pandemic), as well as public speaking.

Hadassah Mativetsky

Quality Assurance Manager

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Hadassah Mativetsky –  Quality Assurance Manager 

Hadassah joined us in 2015 as an entry-level Software Quality Engineer after working in Higher Education/Non-Profit and graduating with a Master’s in Systems Science from Binghamton University. This was her first role in an engineering discipline. Today she is a Quality Assurance Manager where she uses her knowledge of our products, peoples, and processes to apply quality principles to ensure our high-tech products meet the strictest of quality requirements. 

In her free time, she participates in Toastmasters International, American Society for Quality, and likes swing dancing (when there isn’t a pandemic), as well as public speaking.

Please describe your role in more detail.

In my role as Quality Assurance Manager, I ensure and drive validation, qualification, and process compliance for new product introduction, cost reduction, obsolescence, and sustaining revenue risk mitigation. I lead quality plans for all new products aligned with project timelines with the ultimate goal of ensuring strict product quality is built from the beginning. I rely every day on my fabulous direct report who is a Quality Analyst with extensive manufacturing expertise.

What do you like most about your role/career?

Everyone at Universal says the people. I stand by that. I also enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes from uncovering an issue or risk and driving towards a solution.

Would you recommend Universal to others?

Yes! When I speak with students, I encourage them to consider the size of the company. Is it so large that you are a cog in a wheel? Is it so small that there is no upward mobility? At Universal, you get the opportunity to work on many projects and learn so much. As you learn and grow, there are positions available to grow into. People want you to succeed so it is a great environment for learning!

What is something about Universal that surprised or delighted you that you want people to know?

Coming from a non-profit/higher education work background I realize now I had stereotypes about what the people in an engineering company would be like. I am delighted to report that there is no one correct personality type to be successful here.

Describe Universal in three words or less:

Friendly, Mentoring & Learning 

Phil joined Universal in 2000 after graduating from Clarkson University as an entry-level mechanical engineer. Shortly after that, he advanced into a position as a lead mechanical engineer (while attending Binghamton University to pursue an MSME degree at the same time).  He moved to Shekou China for a 6-month assignment to manage a small cross-functional group of engineers. Upon return, he became a project manager and technical manager.

In 2017 he was promoted to the engineering product manager for our Uflex and Automation product lines.  In 2020 he was promoted to Director, Platform Engineering responsible for both mechanical and electrical engineering, and then in 2021, he took the reigns as our VP, Engineering.

Phil Castoro

Vice President, Engineering

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Phil Castoro- Vice President, Engineering

Phil joined Universal in 2000 after graduating from Clarkson University as an entry-level mechanical engineer. Shortly after that, he advanced into a position as a lead mechanical engineer (while attending Binghamton University to pursue an MSME degree at the same time).  He moved to Shekou China for a 6-month assignment to manage a small cross-functional group of engineers. Upon return, he became a project manager and technical manager. In 2017 he was promoted to the engineering product manager for our Uflex and Automation product lines.  In 2020 he was promoted to Director, Platform Engineering responsible for both mechanical and electrical engineering, and then in 2021, he took the reigns as our VP, Engineering. 

In his free time, Phil likes to spend time with his family; coaching youth Ice Hockey; woodworking, boating & fishing.  

Please describe your role in more detail.

I manage the engineering organization which is responsible for the technical development and sustaining of all Universal’s standard products through their entire product life cycle. Our engineering organization consists of many engineering disciplines and spans 4 sites, including Conklin, NY (Headquarters), Rochester, NY, Charlotte, NC, Bratislava, Slovakia. 

What do you like most about your role/career?

I am a person who strives to make a positive impact on people and the organization. Given my experience, there is no other position in which I feel I can contribute more to both the people and the organization. 

Would you recommend Universal to others?

If you are a person with the initiative, determination, and desire to advance your career then Universal is the place for you!  I believe I’m fortunate enough to serve as an example of how the possibilities here are great. Universal has provided the right level of autonomy for me to create my path. Albeit true to my heart, engineering is only a part of what makes up the Universal team. We are a worldwide team consisting also of marketing, sales, support, field service, manufacturing…….. I truly feel that if someone has the desire, determination, and work ethic they can advance towards whatever path they choose.

 What is something about Universal that surprised or delighted you that you want people to know?

When I started in 2000 I was intrigued by the technology and the people. The same holds true today. You will never learn ‘everything’ there is to know about our products and the industry they serve. Both are complex, and both are ever changing!

Describe Universal in three words or less:

Dynamic & High-Tech   

Denise joined the company in 2005, with many years of broad-based experience in technical writing, and has worked at several different technology companies, including IBM. Universal appealed to her because the company puts great importance on customer documentation and product support. She has held a variety of roles in our Technical Publications Department, including as a technical writer and most recently as the Manager, Technical Publications. 

In her free time, Denise likes to spend time with her family, Bible study, and baking. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Binghamton Figure Skating Club.  

Denise Kowal

Manager, Technical Publications

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Denise Kowal – Manager, Technical Publications 

Denise joined the company in 2005, with many years of broad-based experience in technical writing, and has worked at several different technology companies, including IBM. Universal appealed to her because the company puts great importance on customer documentation and product support. She has held a variety of roles in our Technical Publications Department, including as a technical writer and most recently as the Manager, Technical Publications.

In her free time, Denise likes to spend time with her family, Bible study, and baking. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Binghamton Figure Skating Club. 

Please describe your role in more detail.

My role as the Technical Publications Manager is to provide support, guidance, and technical leadership to my team. My department is responsible for creating and maintaining detailed hardware and software documentation about all of our diverse products for our customers. Our goal is to provide our customers the information they need and to reduce calls to technical support. We also strive to continually develop world-class product information delivery systems. 

What do you like most about your role/career?

I enjoy documenting how to use our software and hardware, and I hope that what I do makes it easier for our customers to use our products. However, this is not an independent effort, and customer feedback enhances our content. After 16 years, I’m still learning new things; I never get bored.

Would you recommend Universal to others?

I would recommend Universal to others because you get to work on product development, not just push paper. I call it, “getting your hands in the dirt”…you don’t just plan the garden, you get to work in the garden. Our products are fascinating and high-tech. The work challenges you to learn and think creatively. The people we work with like what they do and are passionate about our products. Plus, this company has been in business for 102 years…how many companies can boast that?

What is something about Universal that surprised or delighted you that you want people to know?

The people. We all care about each other, we care about the product, and we are passionate about the work we do.

Describe Universal in three words or less:

Continuous learning.

Zdenka joined the company in 1997 and has worked in a variety of different roles with varying degrees of responsibility, starting as an Administrative Assistant then being promoted to an HR Generalist, and finally to her current role as the Customer Order Center Manager, EMEA. She is multi-lingual and is fluent in several different languages including English, Slovak, and German as well as, some Russian.

In her free time, Zdenka likes to spend time doing yoga, walking, and traveling throughout the world with her husband, Richard – who is also a Universal team member.     

Zdenka Mitchell

Customer Order Center Manager EMEA

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Zdenka Mitchell- Customer Order Center Manager EMEA

Zdenka joined the company in 1997 and has worked in a variety of different roles with varying degrees of responsibility, starting as an Administrative Assistant then being promoted to an HR Generalist, and finally to her current role as the Customer Order Center Manager, EMEA. She is multi-lingual and is fluent in several different languages including English, Slovak, and German as well as, some Russian.

In her free time, Zdenka likes to spend time doing yoga, walking, and traveling throughout the world with her husband, Richard – who is also a Universal team member.  

Please describe your role in more detail.

I, along with the support of my team, ensure our customers receive their orders satisfactorily by executing the sales and order management process from receipt of purchase to delivery at the customer site. This involves precise coordination between the customer and Universal’s sales and operations teams to ensure the solution is built to match the customer’s specifications.  I also help to manage the logistics and compliance requirements for shipping our machines and accessories across borders to our customers across all corners of Europe.  As part of a smaller regional team, I also act as the local HR Generalist, this requires a knowledge of labor and hiring practices for the many different countries of the European Union.   

What do you like most about your role/career?

Continuous change meaning that I have successfully worked in a variety of different roles. It’s always very challenging to learn new processes and to interact with new people throughout the organization. 

Would you recommend Universal to others? 

Yes, I would. Very flat structure, international environment, technology, and great people. 

What is something about Universal that surprised or delighted you that you want people to know? 

When I started in 1997 I was intrigued by technology and the people. The same holds true today.  

Describe Universal in three words or less: 

Great people.  Great technology.