May 20, 2015 | Atlanta, GA
Stan Chia, IE 2005, grew up fascinated with anything that had to do with outer space and especially space shuttles. So it should come as no big surprise that he originally wanted to be an aerospace engineer. So how did he become an industrial engineer?
As a Singapore citizen by birth, he served in the military right after high school. It was through that experience that he realized he didn’t want to pursue a career in such a specialized field as aerospace engineering. He still wanted the discipline of engineering, but preferred a broader discipline, and “lo and behold, [he] discovered industrial engineering.”
“Once I was set on industrial engineering, it was clear to me that Georgia Tech was the best choice. I had already applied to the Aerospace Engineering program, so I requested a switch over to IE,” says Chia.
Since graduating ten years ago, Chia’s colorful career is one that many IE’s dream of having. And the main theme of his dream is delivering value to his customers.
Chia currently serves as senior vice president of operations at GrubHub (https://labs.grubhub.com/), an online and mobile food ordering and delivery company that connects you with a plethora of takeout restaurant choices delivered right to your door.
In this interview, Chia brings us up to speed on his life as an industrial engineer as well as how many times a week he orders through GrubHub.
Start from the beginning and tell us how you got to where you are now.
I like to think of myself as a Singapore born New Yorker. I was born in Singapore and moved to New York when I was about 10 months old. So consider me a Yankee loving pizza snob. I had the privilege of living in New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and then served in the Singapore Armed Forces as an Armored Infantry Lieutenant. I credit the diversity of my upbringing and the amazing experience in the military for helping me to develop into who I am today.
Right out of school, I started in General Electric’s Operations Management Leadership Program, a fantastic entry-level program that allowed me to gain some core supply chain knowledge and develop my leadership skills. Upon finishing the program, I took on a variety of leadership roles at GE in Six Sigma, Operations, and Business Management. While there, I also pursued and received my MBA from Emory. I transitioned from GE to Cisco systems, because my inner geek always told me that eventually I wanted to get into the hi-tech space, and while I loved my experience at GE, I wasn’t involved in one of their hi-tech businesses.
At Cisco, I was able to transition some of my knowledge and experience from a long-cycle business to a shorter-cycle space – as well as engage deeply with the customer base. I then had the opportunity to join Amazon, where customer obsession rules, you work hard, play hard and make history. My first role with Amazon was leading the World Wide Amazon Customer Excellence Systems Supply Chain team. It was a wild ride, working with critical vendors, and technology, and operations teams, determining innovations in the rapidly changing e-commerce world.
From there, I had the opportunity to run the U.S. Amazon Retail Toys business. If you ever thought that the toy industry was a fun place to work, it is. Working with the toy companies you grew up with, determining the best way to delight customers, while working for a technology company obsessed with customers – was the most challenging and fun job I’ve ever had the privilege of having.
Most recently, I was presented a new challenge and opportunity – to help grow and develop the operations infrastructure at the nation’s leading online and mobile food ordering and delivery company, GrubHub, where I began in April of 2015 as Senior Vice President of Operations.
As the senior VP of operations, what exactly do you do?
I’m responsible for developing and managing the operational infrastructure of the company, as well as the P&L (profit and loss) for our delivery business units.
Describe a typical work day.
I begin by reviewing a summary of the previous day’s performance in our various markets to identify issues with our diners or restaurants that require immediate attention. I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future, as our priority will always be our diners and restaurants. Other than that, I don’t have a “typical” workday, as each day brings new and exciting challenges.
How do you pull in restaurants to work with you?
We strive to provide a valuable offering to our restaurants so they want to work with us. Their success is our success. To continue being that positive business partner, we are always looking for ways to bring even more value to both our diners and restaurants. This has proved to be an effective strategy that is enticing to our growing two-sided network.
How do you optimize your fleet of deliverers?
Every decision we make regarding our drivers is in consideration of our customers. We want to make sure that our restaurants and our diners are getting the optimum takeout experience.
What is on the biggest challenges you face in this business?
As with everything in a digital and technologically-advanced age, the landscape we deal with is always changing, with innovation happening at historically unsurpassed rates. Ensuring that we stay ahead of the curve to continue delivering value remains our utmost priority as well as our biggest challenge.
What do you find the most enjoyable about your work?
I love working in an organization with amazing people that are unwaveringly focused on customers. It’s a recipe for success, and it’s what GrubHub is all about.
How often do you order using the GrubHup app?
Honestly? When I consider lunch and dinner, and with a 20-month-old at home, I use it at the very least 5 – 6 times a week, but often more than that. It’s so easy. Click, click, food.
Are there any new developments on the horizon for GrubHub that you can talk about?
I would simply say that our focus on continuous innovation on behalf of our diners and restaurants has us consistently focused on new developments. Keep watching!
Industrial and Systems Engineering