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Global Columbus: Jia Guo

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Jia Guo, of Cummins, Inc., in Columbus, Indiana (Boris Ladwig | The Republic)
Jia Guo, of Cummins, Inc., in Columbus, Indiana (Boris Ladwig | The Republic)

Name: Jia Guo

Date of birth: Feb. 16, 1981

Place of birth: Xuancheng, China.

Came to U.S.: In 2005 to go to school.

Came to Columbus: In February 2011 to work at Cummins Inc.

Job title: Senior engineer for advanced engineering, research and development.

Job duties: We develop software for engineers to develop engine tuning. The software creates an engine model that allows engineers to determine the outcome of changed parameters.

Education: Doctorate in mechanical engineering from University of Missouri-Rolla, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Hefei University of Technology in Hefei, China.

Family: Wife, Bo Liu.

Hobbies: Golf, tennis, pingpong, basketball, badminton, watching movies (especially comedies, action and science fiction, such as “Inception”) and traveling around the U.S., where I have visited more places than in China.

Q: What was your first job?

A: In graduate school, I was a research and teaching assistant.

Q: What was your first impression when you came to the U.S.? What did you notice immediately as different?

A: The first thing I noticed was the cleanliness. The St. Louis airport was really clean. I saw people lying on the carpet, which you would never do in China. Also, the traffic was much better organized. Here, cars will yield to pedestrians. In China it’s the other way around. Also, everyone seemed to be really nice here. Strangers smiled at me, which made me feel comfortable.

Q: How have you adjusted culturally?

A: I already started enjoying American movies in China. You pick up the culture a little bit there. It took me a while to get used to the food, especially cheese. When I first came to the U.S., I did a lot of cooking. For the holidays, my wife and I usually will go on vacation in the U.S., to New York City or Washington, D.C., where we watched fireworks once. While I was in school, I stayed with a host family, so for Thanksgiving we had big family reunions and turkey dinners.

Q: What’s it like to live as an international in Columbus?

A: Columbus is my second favorite city, after Rolla, where I went to school. I like small towns because I grew up in a small town. Life is peaceful and not very hectic. Most people are very friendly and helpful.

Q: What do you like best about your job?

A: What I do is exactly what I did in research in my doctoral program, so I’m really happy that what I learned is very applicable to the real world. I also really enjoy the different technologies that we employ to improve the engines. There’s lots of innovation we try to integrate in the engine architecture.

Q: What advice do you have for internationals who are just now arriving in Columbus? What can they do to adjust more easily?

A: Join local organizations. Make friends with colleagues, especially within your own team.

We have team lunches, share food, and we recognize people for birthdays and anniversaries. Get connected by joining clubs or playing sports.

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