YKK Stories

Jonathan Sharpe talks about what drives him to be innovative in the workplace

April 10, 2020
Author: YKK
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Jonathan Sharpe, product design engineer at YKK (U.S.A.) Inc. Snap and Button Products, has been working at YKK for 13 Years. He has always enjoyed figuring out what makes mechanical things work and drawing them. He’s been able to make a career out of engineering and design, two things he’s very passionate about. One of his favorite things about being an engineer is working with the sales staff and customers to solve problems.

Jonathan is one of the 2020 Patent Award Winners. We asked him to share about his latest inventions as well as his advice for the people wanting to work in the industry.

Tell us about your new invention in a few sentences.

We have been making a plastic snap at YKK USA in Macon, GA and purchasing a plastic snap from YKK Japan for many years. We see a lot of potential for plastic products if the strength could be the same as metal. We finally got around to developing something that fits into our existing SK-50 product line. Metal has a much longer life span and more consistent snap action.

What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered in your professional career? How have you been able to overcome them?

I only have an Associate’s degree, so I don’t have the formal education of other engineers I’ve worked with, but I have a good thought process and a good amount of on-the-job experience to make up for it.

What is your advice for young people interested in your field?

I think this is one where YKK’s Fundamental Behaviors can really help answer. I took the little business card sized booklet and started underlining all the ones I felt were important in my job and the ones I felt I had already been doing. I got to the last one and realized I had checked them all off as being important or being done. For someone thinking about or coming into the field, I know one that has helped me and one that I have witnessed from co-workers, managers, and on up the corporate ladder is “Be A Lifelong Learner” –  keeping new fresh ideas in your mind will drive innovation.

“Keeping new fresh ideas in your mind will drive innovation.”