Before Kevin Sargent creates something, he thinks about the way people will use it.
This simple concept is quite complex to harness and requires a keen eye toward the science of construction and the art of application.
Kevin is a software engineer by training and an end-user advocate by design.
“I gravitated toward software engineering after being captivated by the intuitive nature of Apple products,” Kevin said. “I later realized the true beauty of experience lies in thoughtful, user-centered design.”
A breadth of knowledge came from his time as a senior user experience designer. Here he considered the macro and micro interactions people would have with products he helped bring to life and aimed to deliver an experience as thoughtfully crafted as the one that inspired him to enter the field of design.
This breadth of knowledge was bestowed by an equally diverse set of experiences in the role, from the luxury of months of prototyping to the pressure of delivering new design concepts in just days. No two days or experiences are the same, and that’s perfect for a creative engineer.
"User experience is a unique field," Kevin said. "It is not just one discipline. You’re synthesizing information from many different sources to form new insights. It’s an iterative process built on research, design, and empathy for our customers. Done right, we can deliver something truly innovative and differentiated in the market."
Own Your Product and Your Process
Kevin was intrigued by product management – being responsible for every part of the process from idea generation to market delivery – and decided to take his experience to the next level.
As a newly promoted product manager, right now is an exciting time for Kevin and his team as they work on developing the next generation of FactoryTalk® software and expanding Rockwell Automation’s ability to deliver Software as a Service (SaaS) value to our customers.
Kevin’s experience at Rockwell Automation and a culture of innovation and idea generation spurred him to become a product manager, a role he decided he wanted when he saw how Rockwell was transforming its operations and then helping customers with their own digital journeys.
"Here, it is not about a title; it is about the work," Kevin said. "I wanted to be part of a culture that gives me the freedom to create processes that allow me to do my best work. At Rockwell Automation, I can do just that."
Being a naturally curious person, Kevin wanted to understand how his work contributed to the whole. He made it a point to understand the motivations and contributions of others and how they fit into the puzzle that is product development.
“As I was trusted and challenged to take on more responsibility, I took on more ownership of that puzzle, collaborating with my peers to build a deeper understanding of customer needs and values and our opportunities to deliver more intuitive solutions. Our exploration of the problem space breeds creativity, and that is where innovation is born."
Kevin is most creative when he is free to move physically and mentally. Coupled with a strong sense of ownership over his ideas and the balance of his day, he can do his best work for the business and its customers.
"I'm an active person who enjoys creative writing, music production, and mindfulness practices," Kevin said. "These habits are a big part of my life, and that is why I love working here so much. I own my schedule and have the flexibility to do my work in a way that works best for me."
Positioned for Success
A big part of Kevin’s job is removing ambiguity to position teams for success.
"A little gray area leaves room for interpretation and inspires creativity, but too much results in confusion and misalignment," Kevin said. "We have to have a clear vision in mind and be aware of the constraints. As a product manager, I focus on the ‘what’ and the ‘why.’ Then collaborate with the teams to define the ‘how.’"
Having been in software development and user experience design roles helps Kevin collaborate with his teams more effectively.
"I tend to look at problems and potential solutions from different perspectives," Kevin added. "I can put on my designer or developer hat to look at the technical details of a problem, then zoom out to strategize from a business perspective. Success in our industry is often a combination of analytical, creative, and collaborative skills. It’s having choices and the freedom to learn and discover."
Kevin is proud to be part of Rockwell Automation’s transformation.
“As a software engineer joining an industrial automation company, I didn’t readily recognize the opportunity for career growth," he said. "After a few short years, I realized the unique opportunity we have as a company. We use software to connect and enhance our hardware platforms, we have redefined how we build solutions by adopting agile principles, and we are embarking on a digital transformation that will change the way we deliver value to our customers. My career potential here is limitless."