Featured Employee: Cheng Yang


Cheng Yang mission trip

Cheng Yang is a Benefit and Compensation Analyst at World Headquarters in Milwaukee. She conducts analytical work in areas such as health and welfare plans, group insurance, incentive plans, job evaluations and compensation planning. 

Get to know Cheng...

Q: Where are you from?

I was born in Laos, but was raised in the United States.

Q: When did you start working for A. O. Smith?

I started working at World Headquarters on July 26, 2016.

Q: What hobbies do you have outside of A. O. Smith?

I love to run, read, learn new languages, and learn new things. I have participated in five half marathons so far and many shorter distant runs. I’m also taking Mandarin lessons once a week at the Corporate Technology Center (CTC) and love it so far. Most people think I’m Chinese because of my name and family name, but I’m actually not. I’m Hmong and my family is originally from Laos. My ancestors were originally from Southern China and migrated to Laos over two hundred years ago so Mandarin was new to me. I learned the Pinyin System (using Roman Alphabets to help with pronunciation) within a period of two hours and that helped me to learn how to pronounce the Chinese words. I recently picked up guitar lessons and love that too. I also love to do community service projects. Sometimes I receive invitations to perform traditional songs and sing at the Hmong community events around the region and cultural shows at regional universities. I have performed at churches, community events, funerals, and universities such as UW-Whitewater, UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, Cardinal Stritch University, and Alverno College. I participated in traditional singing competitions in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California and took first place in all three competitions. In addition, I recorded Hmong (language of Hmong people) lessons and uploaded them to my YouTube Channel (moobleeg247) because my church asked me to teach the students Hmong, and I didn’t have enough time to help. I believe if I record these free lessons and upload them on YouTube, I will inspire more Hmong children and anyone who would like to learn to read and write the Hmong language to learn the beautiful language.

Q: Can you tell us about your mission trips to Thailand and Laos?Cheng Yang mission trip

In early 2016, my mother was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer, and she had lost hope again.  This second time wasn’t easy, so I promised to take her on another mission trip to Thailand and Laos, but would cover different areas than the 2014 trip.  My mother went through two major surgeries and got back on her feet again.  After she was cured, I decided to sacrifice my vacation time and take her back to Thailand and Laos for a second mission trip in December 2016.  During the mission trip, we went through 16 villages (some villages were located in the middle of the jungle), held Christmas celebrations for five villages, and held New Year celebrations for two villages.  It was an amazing experience to see every villager smiling because of our presence and the smallest gifts we could provide them.  Since a lot more people knew about our second trip, we received donation blessings from several people at my previous job and my current job at A.O. Smith, families and friends, without asking, so I felt very blessed.

If you are interested in watching the video clips of my mission trips that I posted, you may view them via the links below:

Q: What's the most interesting part of your job?

In general, my whole job is very interesting so far. There is so much to learn and so many people to learn from. I was in Financial Planning & Analysis with the previous company I worked for, so I’m super excited to learn this new role. I get to work with my direct supervisor, the Director of Total Compensation, and with all three other managers that are reporting to her, so between the four of them, there are plenty of new topics and ideas to keep me learning new things on a daily basis, and this is exactly what I love to do.

Q: Who inspires you inside the company?

My supervisor, Sherry Lundell, director of total compensation, inspires me because I can see that she works very hard, and she is very intelligent. I think she’s someone I can learn a lot from.

Q: Who is your greatest Inspiration?

My mother is my greatest inspiration because she’s always been a single mother after my father passed away, but she had the courage to bring all her children, my three siblings and I, from Laos to Thailand to settle in the United States.  I used to live in the smallest hut in the mountains, and now I’m sitting in Corporate America. Without my mother, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.

Cheng Yang family