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Alumni Spotlight: Jose Tan ’08

Jose, his wife Jojo, and their daughter Izzy. The Tan’s are expecting their second daughter this fall.

Jose Tan, B.S. ’08, describes himself on LinkedIn as a “Malleable Engineer in a Perpetually Changing Market.” A process and quality engineer at Krispy Kreme, Jose is amplifying his chemical engineering degree by starting an MBA from Poole College of Management. Combining a strong scientific foundation with the business acumen gained while earning an MBA has given Jose the perfect recipe for problem solving.

Jose always knew he wanted to be an engineer. A childhood full of tinkering with and “taking things apart, putting them back together…sometimes not being able to put the things back together,” gave Jose an introduction to problem solving. His attraction to the new facilities being developed on Centennial Campus at the time as well as the wide range of degree applications brought him to NC State. After graduation, Jose worked as a process engineer in different markets including optical fiber, kitchen fixtures, commercial windows and food.

At Krispy Kreme, Jose is responsible for developing time and cost-efficient processes. And with what he is learning during his MBA, he provides even more value to the company. For example, Jose is testing a new mixing process for a doughnut, and rather than solely focusing on the mix process, Jose is weighing other factors such as customer experience as well as material and labor costs. Normally a two-person job, Jose is “bridging that gap with just one person.”

The project involves testing a new doughnut making process that will increase quantity while maintaining quality and potentially reducing waste. Stores with a required daily volume of production will be able to end production sooner and the employees will have more time to clean and perform maintenance on shop equipment. With the improved process, customers will get the same sweet treat they know and love while providing more resources for shops to maintain cleanliness and food safety. This change in process could also lead to increased revenue for the business and extend the life of its equipment by providing more frequent maintenance.

Jose’s unique education at NC State prepared him to be a business-minded engineer who can find solutions to problems with processes while also addressing consumer pain points. Being aware of and adaptable to market trends and business principles allows him to infuse process lines with innovative solutions. The academic rigor of a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from NC State launched Jose’s career in industry, but the MBA was the icing on the top.