HomeWork features AHAM members’ insights on careers, success, life outside of work, and AHAM membership. This month, we spoke with Nathan Mouw, Senior Director, Global Product Safety & Regulatory Affairs, Whirlpool Corporation. Nathan is the chair of AHAM's Major Appliance Division.
How did you come to work in the appliance industry?
I came to the appliance industry immediately after graduating from engineering graduate school. After working college internships in several consumer products companies, I knew that working for a consumer products company was the right thing for me. I finished my engineering graduate degree and was pursued by Whirlpool Corporation to do work that was in my field of study. This turned out to be the right fit and I haven't looked back since!
What are your secrets to work-life balance?
I believe that I contribute best to my company when I am able to successfully fulfill my other roles in life, including being present as a father and husband. One way I am able to accomplish this is by rising early. A book I just finished includes in its title "Own your morning, elevate your life!" For me, getting a very early start on the day and focusing on my family, health, and soul during that time is key to having a productive day and effectively managing work-life balance.
Outside of the appliance industry, what would be your dream job?
At my core, I was created to be a builder, meaning I enjoy taking materials, pieces and parts, putting them together, and making something even better. Outside of work, I am able to accomplish this through my woodworking hobby, either my reworking furniture pieces that already exist and making them better or making furniture and other goods from scratch. My dream job would be creating fine furniture for families that can be passed down through multiple generations.
What is the best career advice you've ever received?
I've received a lot of career advice over the years. One that I most remember was "be careful what you ask for because you just might get it." In the early stage of my career, this was important advice as I was very actively trying to manage and moderate by career aspirations, and I'm thankful now that I took this advice seriously.
What do you gain from your involvement with AHAM?
As a member, Whirlpool gains tremendously from having a focused and talented staff at AHAM to represent our company and our industry in important and impactful industry topics. As an individual, I've grown and learned a lot in my interactions with AHAM staff and members, in ways that would be nearly impossible without this involvement.
Predict an innovation that will revolutionize the next generation.
As a father of two, soon to be three, teenagers, I'm continually reminded how different advertising is now than when I was their age, and how impactful it is. I believe the continuing trends around social media, personalized marketing, 5-star ratings, artificial intelligence, sustainability, and always-present digital advertising will only continue. I can't put my finger on it, but I believe that something will emerge at the nexus of these trends that will revolutionize how the next generation assesses the value of the multitudes of goods and services available to them.
What is your best advice for somebody who wants to succeed in the home appliance industry?
My advice is to "be a consumer." Whether you are an engineer, merchant, or government relations specialist, I believe knowing the consumer is one of the most critical things you can do to be successful in our industry. If you start with the consumer, and work backwards, you can have confidence in your priorities and decision-making. The best way to know the consumer is to be one yourself, and use our products every day!