Happy to Help
At ASG, a service mindset helps our employees do more for both our clients and vulnerable communities
At ASG, interests and talents run the gamut. Each member of the ASG Team brings unique assets when it comes to serving clients. Some of them play music while others are interested in the chemical contents of beauty products. Many ASG team members also make it their business to give back to their communities and to the world.
“You don’t need special skills to volunteer,” said ASG Technical Project Manager Jacob Newkirk. “Interacting with people is a natural thing, and meeting people from other cultures or other backgrounds can expand how you see the world.” Read about Jacob’s latest volunteering experience, as well as how Technical Project Manager Julia Le, Engineering Technical Lead Logan Metzger and Quality Risk Manager Onna Koeneman have made their own positive impacts.
An artistic eye
Jacob Newkirk, Technical Project Manager
Service: Royal Family Kids Camp
Last year, Jacob was interviewed about his experiences volunteering in Peru. In his latest volunteering experience, he flexed different skills. He’s always had an artistic point of view and an eye for detail. When he bought a camera with his own money in middle school, he took pictures of the scenery around the Manhattan, Kansas, farm where he grew up. In high school, he had some photographs published in a local magazine. His father, an engineer, exposed Jacob to the discipline that would become his career. “Growing up in Kansas involved a lot of hands-on engineering work,” Jacob said. “We would work on our cars or tractors. It was hard work, but I started to enjoy it.”
Portraits of hope
Though he pursued mechanical engineering in his college studies, Jacob stayed active as a photographer. Like all engineers at ASG, his work is vital to the efficacy of medical devices, but photography also presented itself as a gift he could share with others. He volunteered at the Royal Family Kids Camp, a nonprofit started to build self esteem in children going through the foster care system. Jacob took photographs for keepsake albums that served as a foundation of positive memories for kids who attended the camp.
“Meeting people from other backgrounds can expand how you see the world,” Jacob said. “I was worried that the kids would be badly behaved or rough characters, but they were very quiet and serious, like little adults.” A lot of the kids Jacob worked with had endured neglect and abuse. “It was interesting to see how they progressed by the end of the camp. For a week, they got a chance to just be kids.”
Jacob also extends a helping hand to his ASG teammates. “I’m an assistant to the project manager, but I’ll help anybody else on the team who needs it. I volunteer for whatever task needs to be done, whatever the most critical timeline piece is. It’s a great way to learn new things.”
Rooted in service
Julia Le, Technical Project Manager
Service: Teaching orphaned children English in Vietnam
Service has always been a big part of Julia’s life. “It’s my upbringing,” she said. “My parents, especially my mom, do a lot of good work for society.” Julia came to the United States from Vietnam at the age of 18 and studied biomedical engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“In Vietnam, we have a saying that ‘without health, you cannot do anything,’” Julia said.
She chose the medical field because it gave her an opportunity to improve the lives of others. “Volunteering was a big part of my college life,” she said. Julia helped nurses and doctors serve patients at UIC’s hospital and also participated in a program to keep seniors company.
In 2021, Julia returned to Vietnam to teach children English at an orphanage. It wasn’t easy work, but Julia found it fulfilling. “When you ask a kid with no money about their dreams, they say, ‘I don’t study well, how can I be an engineer?’ They don’t have a lot of resources to learn.”
Julia made it her mission to help children in the orphanage learn English so they could dream bigger. In order to motivate the kids she worked with, she shared music and films in English. This strategy of meeting people where they are applies to her work at ASG. “Some people have a lot on their plate, so I try to be flexible as much as possible,” she said.
Julia’s volunteer work taught her how to be more patient and open, values that she extends to co-workers and clients at ASG. “Doing volunteer work helped me understand people from different perspectives,” she said.
Logan Metzger, Development Engineering Technical Team Lead
Service: Second Helpings board member and volunteer
On most days, Logan leads a team to serve clients in the high-stakes medical device field, but a few nights a month, he spends hours chopping vegetables and wielding an oar-sized spoon to stir massive amounts of food in an industrial kitchen. For 10 years, Logan has volunteered for Second Helpings, an organization dedicated to rescuing unused but good food in order to fight hunger in Indianapolis. In 2021 he took his service to the next level by accepting a seat on Second Helpings’ board. He now serves as chair of the development committee.
Second Helpings provides up to 5,000 meals a day through social service organizations like Wheeler Mission and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis. “You don’t have to go far to find opportunities to help someone,” Logan said. “There’s a lot of need here in our neighborhoods.”
Second Helpings also provides culinary job training to help community members achieve food security through employment. “There are people who are working hard, working decent jobs and still going hungry,” Logan said. Second Helpings collaborated with other organizations in Marion County to shape the Good Wages Initiative, an organization that certifies businesses offering a living wage, at least $18 per hour, as well as health benefits. Back in June, ASG received a Good Wages certification.
At ASG, Logan uses the servant-leader approach, which places leaders in an ally role instead of an authoritative one. “Flexibility is a two-way street,” Logan said. In the consulting field, projects and demands may rapidly change with the needs of the client. ASG team members may find themselves in unexpected roles, so Logan makes an effort to set his team up for success. “I try to make sure that we give people flexibility to figure out how to support their projects and how to get through life as well.”
What the ASG family values
Onna Koeneman, Quality Risk Manager
Service: Lutheran Child and Family Services board member
When it comes to service, Onna leads by example. She also leads by serving on the board of directors for Lutheran Child and Family Services. Lutheran Child and Family Services is a nonprofit social service organization founded in 1883 that offers both residential and community-based services to families and children.
“The board provides oversight and leadership to staff and volunteers,” Onna said. “We help establish and implement the organization’s strategy and deal with financial matters, fundraising and general operations.”
Inspired by faith and family
Onna’s Lutheran faith has guided her toward outreach throughout her life. Her career has always been centered around healthcare. She entered the medical field as a nurse. Her hands-on experiences with patients give her a valuable perspective when she works with a team of talented engineers to shape standards for medical devices.
Her most memorable mission trip took her to Ukraine. She served as a nurse practitioner on a team of medical professionals. “They put us on a boat, and we went from the northern part of Ukraine all the way down the Kiev River to Odessa,” she said. “We stopped at different ports to help the churches and give out free medicines, treatments and any equipment that might be needed.”
As ASG’s quality risk manager, Onna doesn’t always serve clients directly, but she does a lot to support the team members who do serve clients. “My client, to me, is the ASG team,” she said. “My workflow is always going to be different than anybody else’s because I’m married to the owner of the company (Doug Koeneman). I want the team to have more work-life balance than I do. When you own a company, you’re responsible for everybody.”
Starting ASG was a family decision based on the Koeneman family’s value of service. Onna said, “I like what ASG does because medical devices are needed by so many.”