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8 July 2021

#WhatsYourSkill: “My work has an impact on how affordable new phones will be”

Lee Hee Dong, WorldSkills Champions Trust representative for Asia, is a CNC Milling engineer at Samsung Electronics.

Lee Hee Dong competing in CNC Milling at WorldSkills São Paulo 2015.
Lee Hee Dong competing in CNC Milling at WorldSkills São Paulo 2015.

When Lee Hee Dong’s first saw a CNC Milling machine in use as a young student, it was like a “magic box.” They inserted a simple piece of material, set it running amid noise and sparks until a shiny finished piece emerged an hour later.

“I don’t remember what it was but it looked so cool!” he says. It was a big old machine, as big as a small house, nothing like the state-of-the-art compact machines that he now operates as CNC Milling Engineer at Samsung Electronics.

Despite having worked in the industry for a few years now, the 25-year-old still takes the same joy at looking at his finished pieces for the first time.

“Sometimes it takes seconds, sometimes two days. I cannot see the progress inside, but I believe in my programming,” he says. “Of course, I have previously simulated it on the computer, but it’s fascinating when I see the work I imagined. That’s the moment I like the most.”

Lee, who always dreamed of manufacturing things, is now part of the development of new mobile phones at Samsung. His work, he says, has an impact on how accessible new models will be. “The more effort I put in the manufacturing, the more affordable the phone will be.”

Born in Daegu, one of Korea’s biggest cities, Lee competed in WorldSkills São Paulo 2015 and is now a Champions Trust regional representative for Asia.

Before the pandemic started, Lee used to travel frequently to visit the many friends from across the globe he met during WorldSkills, as well as for work. “I used to travel a lot to Europe or throughout Asia. I miss travelling a lot,” he says, as he acknowledges his good fortune in this being his only grievance in these difficult times.

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