Kayla Chally, Engineering Solutions Advisor

Meet Kayla Chally, an engineering solutions advisor at John Zink. Kayla’s journey with John Zink began as an intern in 2016, and her passion for the company’s culture led her to a full-time position in 2017. In this spotlight, Kayla shares insights into her role, her professional development, and her contributions to John Zink’s innovative environment. Get to know more about Kayla, her achievements, and her beloved pups, Goose and Rooster.



When did you join the John Zink team?

I started as an intern in 2016 and went full-time in 2017. During my internship, I loved the culture, my coworkers, and that they gave me meaningful projects, so it was an easy decision to want to come back full-time.



Describe your role and what your typical day entails.

I support the project engineering team on boiler burner projects, providing technical training and reviewing calculations, documents, and drawings. I also handle Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) for our applications team, which includes reviewing proposals and customer specifications, doing preliminary calculations, and creating document lists and P&IDs. Additionally, I work on standardization and value engineering projects and create Power Bi reports for the business. As you can see, I support a wide range of activities.



What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?

I have a passion for education, so the most rewarding part of my role is training and learning alongside the project engineers, while also working on my own projects that expand my technical capabilities. This role also gives me flexibility to challenge myself to be innovative, which is very fulfilling!



“This role also gives me flexibility to challenge myself to be innovative, which is very fulfilling!”

Kayla Chally, Engineering Solutions Advisor



How has John Zink supported your professional development and career growth?

John Zink has supported my career in several aspects. My first supervisor helped me tremendously with the non-technical professional development, enrolling me in several professional development and manager level classes to help support me in reaching my personal professional goals. To help support my technical growth, I have had numerous mentors, and am fortunate to work in a culture where everyone is excited to collaborate, teach, and learn from each other.



Can you share a specific instance where you felt your skills and knowledge expanded significantly?

One project that significantly contributed to my personal growth was a project in Shanghai. I worked with leaders from the different Koch companies and their teams worldwide and traveled numerous times to Shanghai. I learned so much about the different code requirements and how to engineer different pieces of equipment. This project expanded my technical capabilities, while also pushing me to come up with creative solutions to unique problems. I also strengthened my leadership skills with this project, managing several teams worldwide. I was part of an incredible team and am quite proud of our success.



How does being part of Koch Engineered Solutions (KES) enhance your experience and opportunities?

Building a network in KES has been beneficial to my career. I’ve met several engineers in other KES businesses that have helped teach me about new codes that I was unfamiliar with, new pieces of equipment, procurement strategies and more. This network has also been invaluable during international travel, helping me prepare and navigate new environments effectively.


John Zink is known for its innovation. Can you share how you contribute to this innovative environment in your role?

As an engineering solutions advisor, I oversee boiler burner projects from sales through start-up and commissioning. I continuously talk with our field technicians and incorporate any feedback with the sales and engineering teams. I also work on innovative value engineering projects to reduce costs with creative solutions.



In what ways does John Zink emphasize work-life balance and employee well-being?

John Zink’s culture supports each individual both in and out of work. I find it so special that after my area was hit with tornados, our HR department reached out to me personally to make sure I was okay.


In 2018, I faced a unique personal situation, and my supervisor and I worked together to develop a flexible work arrangement that allowed me to work remotely. I am grateful for John Zink’s accommodating environment, which enables me to work in a role I love and can self-actualize in.


What makes you most proud to be part of this team?

I am proud to be part of John Zink because they’ve helped me realize my potential and make a valuable difference both within the business and in society. I have been given some “stretch” projects that have encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone, aiding my personal development. I have also had incredible role models and leadership who continue to help me every day.


What advice would you give to someone considering a career at John Zink? What should they expect and prepare for?

My advice to anyone considering a career at John Zink would be to embrace change. We are constantly striving to transform and come up with better ways to support our customers.


A few questions just for fun. What’s your favorite book or movie, and why does it resonate with you?

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek is one of my favorite leadership books. I want everyone I work with to feel trusted, valued, and fulfilled, and that is what this book is all about. Simon’s leadership style aligns well with our Principle Based Management (PBM) culture, so it is fun to read this book and get inspiration on how to be a better leader.



Do you have any pets? Tell us about them.

We have two pups that I absolutely adore: Goose and Rooster! Goose is a 3.5 year old mini Aussiedoodle, and Rooster is a 1.5 year old mini Berniedoodle. Goose loves to people watch and sniff everything, while Rooster is completely obsessed with tennis balls! We enjoy going on family walks, evening visits to the dog park, and the dogs have been great travel companions during our long road trips to visit friends and family.



Thrive in a career tailored to you.