Technical Knowledge and a Clear Vision
Restoring vintage cars is not for the faint-of-heart. It takes technical knowledge coupled with a clear vision of the desired outcome, a dedicated budget, and a good dose of patience. It’s no surprise then that when Tecplot was seeking to fill the newly created role of Strategic Account Manager – a role that would blend advanced technical ability with the demeanor of a customer-focused consultant – it found Alan Klug, a Stanford-educated engineer who has spent the past four years breathing new life into his 1988 BMW M5.
Helping Clients Solve Problems
“It’s my project car,” Alan said. “When working on cars, I find satisfaction in being able to use my experience to solve problems and get them working again. Similarly in my role at Tecplot, I’m excited to use my engineering background and experience to help our clients solve problems and work as efficiently as possible.”
As Strategic Account Manager, Alan will work closely with some of Tecplot’s largest and most loyal customers to see how the company can better serve them. “I’ll also look for new groups within those customer-organizations that might benefit from our technology to improve their tool chain and speed their processes,” Alan explained. “We’re successful as a company when our clients are successfully leveraging our products to improve their work, and I want to make sure they get the attention they need.”
Every Engineer and Scientist Has Very Specific Needs
When asked what he expects will be the most challenging aspect of his job, Alan chose to focus on the positive. “Every engineer and scientist has very specific needs of the software they use,” he said. “In my position, there’s always the fun challenge of having to problem-solve with a client about how to best meet their requirements in the most efficient way. In addition, I’ll work closely with our internal technical and product management teams to make sure the voice-of-the-customer is heard.”
Challenges aside, as a former engineer himself, Alan knows exactly what will be the most rewarding aspect of his job. “Anytime you work with a client and get to experience an ‘AH-HA’ moment with them, where they fully grasp how Tecplot software can do something they want to do, but haven’t been able to do before, makes it worth coming to work in the mornings,” he said with a tone of satisfaction in his voice.
Working Closely with Aerospace Clients
So what was it about Tecplot that lured Alan away from his previous employer where he worked in business development and project management? “Back in the early 2000s, I interned at Tecplot for two summers in the quality assurance group while I was an undergrad and thoroughly enjoyed the experience,” he explained.
“Tecplot is a group of talented and kind people, and I appreciated the values and transparency of the management team. After spending the better part of a decade as an aeronautical engineer focused on CFD-based design and analysis, I transitioned into program management and finally business development. Coming back to Tecplot gives me the opportunity to work closely with interesting clients in an aerospace setting, with a group of people I know and like.”
Coming Back to Tecplot
Coming back to Tecplot is a common theme in more ways than one. Alan grew up in Bellevue, a mere three miles from where Tecplot’s corporate headquarters is located today. Alan and his wife, Leah, have two young daughters – ages two and three. The family lives in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle, about 20 minutes from his Tecplot office if the traffic is light.
Leah is currently a chaplain in the University of Washington Medical System, and when the couple is not cycling, hiking or involved in snow sports, their two young girls and a “slightly crazy” Catahoula Leopard Dog named Eddy keep them on their toes. Catahoulas are the state dog of Louisiana. They were bred for hunting feral pigs, “so you can imagine the frenetic energy Eddy has,” Alan said.
As a native son of the Evergreen State, you might think that Alan would have pursued his higher education at one of Washington’s many outstanding universities, but he chose instead to attend Stanford University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics. “From a young age I knew I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer and Stanford has one of the best programs in the country,” he added.
Although he spent several years in Palo Alto, Alan couldn’t be happier that his family now calls the Seattle area home. “As a well-traveled business professional, I’ve seen pretty much every major metropolitan area in America, and I’ve yet to find a place that offers the combination of cultural, natural, and business opportunities that Seattle does. We have the business diversity of a major metro area, as well as great arts and music, and we can enjoy the ocean or the mountains within an hour.
What could be better?” he asked rhetorically.