Hibbing, Minnesota — After earning his master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2019, new engineer and trilingual talent Kenta Noma had the option to pursue work opportunities anywhere in the country…or the world, that is.
Although his options were bountiful, an enticing L&M Radiator, Inc. job posting for an applications engineer who could speak Japanese led him right to Hibbing, Minnesota, 6,120 miles from where he grew up in Hiroshima, Japan.
“I really like working out here. I never imagined I would be in Northern Minnesota, but — you know — life’s interesting like that,” said Noma. “You never know what’s going to happen in your life.”
Noma has been working as an applications engineer at L&M Radiator for nearly two years and had never lived in Minnesota before accepting the position. The engineer has lived the majority of his life in Hiroshima, before moving to Kyoto to complete his undergraduate degree at Ryukoku University in 2013, then to Oregon State University, where he earned his master’s education in 2017.
A Warm Welcome for a New Minnesotan
Making the move from his home city of more than 1 million people to a town of 16,361 is no doubt a big change. Although the territory is new, Noma says his coworkers have welcomed him with exceptional enthusiasm and support.
“The people at L&M Radiator, and also throughout town, are really kind, very helpful, and super easy to work with,” said Noma. “I think they are extra kind to me because I am not from here, and I really appreciate that.”
While Noma has picked up some new interests since his move — including becoming a Twins baseball fan and watching the Canadian mockumentary Trailer Park Boys — he has taken his passion for soccer and cycling with him across the ocean. He joined a men’s soccer team in Hibbing and Hayward, WI, and on weekends you’ll find him biking the roads and trails throughout the Mesabi Iron Range, such as the Mesabi Trail.
“I biked a lot while I lived in Japan, and a few years ago I even biked all the way around Taiwan,” said Noma.
In addition, Noma has been refereeing Minnesota State High School (MSHSL) soccer games since last fall, and he ran Grandma’s Half-Marathon in Duluth last June with L&M Radiator colleagues Stephen Buss and Rodney Lampton. Noma enjoyed it so much, he’s already registered for next summer’s Grandma’s Half-Marathon.
Pushing the Envelope with L&M
With a passion for gaining new experiences and an ambitious goal of making the world more sustainable, Noma is at the right place with L&M Radiator.
“The job involves a lot of working with customers in order to solve problems and create solutions for their unique designs. I work with mostly Japanese customers like Komatsu and Hitachi in order to design radiators to fit their equipment,” said Noma. “I love the problem-solving aspect of the job because I am always learning something new.”
Noma loves that working with a team of talented individuals who are consistently dedicated to optimizing the performance of their products means he gets to learn from them as well.
“I really recommend working here,” said Noma. “The job is very hands-on, and you’re always learning from the other engineers.”
There are plenty of opportunities to join L&M Radiator’s people-first team. Click here to learn more about career opportunities with L&M.