In this series, we’ll be interviewing team members at Quanergy to give you insight into what they do day-to-day at the company and how they spend their time outside the office. In our next installment, we interviewed Quanergy’s Senior Product Management Director, Teresa Liou. In addition to making sure our sensors are top-notch, Teresa also makes the best chocolate chip cookies thanks to a stint at Le Cordon Bleu. Read more about Teresa’s career path and her time in culinary school below.
Quanergy: What is your role at Quanergy? How long have you been at the company?
Teresa Liou: I’ve been the Senior Director of Product Management at Quanergy for almost 3 years where I manage all hardware and software products including the M8 mechanical sensor, our 100% solid state sensors for automotive, smart spaces and security, as well as our QORTEX software. In this role, I’m responsible for roadmap development, product concept and definition, and feature and customer prioritization.
Q: What made you want to join a LiDAR company?
Teresa: I think the product itself is fascinating, and certainly, the application and uses were interesting from a technology point of view. I also saw that Quanergy was more of a systems company — producing both hardware and software — and for me, I was interested in getting more experience in working on system-level products because I’d been working primarily on semiconductors prior to this role.
Q: How long have you been in product management? What does your day to day look like at Quanergy?
Teresa: I’ve been in product management for over 15 years. At Quanergy, my role in product management has a lot of breadth so my days are always busy! It keeps me on my toes, and every day is different — that’s just the nature of working at a startup. Some days I’m in meetings with the engineering team discussing product decisions and strategy, other days I’m working with the sales or marketing team to help close new accounts or help with customer service demos. I get my hands dirty with everything, which allows me to be in this unique position to touch all different groups at the company.
Q: What excites you about working in the LiDAR industry?
Teresa: It’s still a growing and developing market. The possibilities for LiDAR are truly endless, and there are unbounded directions it can go. It’s exciting to be part of a company that is defining the direction of this technology and how it can be used across multiple markets.
Q: How has the LiDAR industry changed since you first started at Quanergy?
Teresa: There’s been a growing number of companies trying their hand at solid state LiDAR. We’re starting to see other LiDAR companies adopt Quanergy’s initial concept of LiDAR solutions in terms of developing the sensor and the software. The rollout of LiDAR for autonomous vehicles has slowed down and LiDAR companies are now looking into other opportunities, but haven’t been able to break through to many markets the way we have. Since I’ve been at Quanergy, we’ve always played in other spaces. We are the first to talk about LiDAR’s uses in other applications like security and smart city — and now we see other competitors trying to follow in our footsteps and come up with their own solutions.
Q: Ok, let’s back up a little. You’re living in the Bay Area now, but what drew you here in the first place?
Teresa: I grew up in Maryland and went to college at Cornell. I moved to the West Coast right after graduation for graduate school at Stanford and got my Masters there in electrical engineering. Obviously, Silicon Valley is the place to be if you’re an engineer so I stuck around.
Q: Rumor has it you make the best chocolate chip cookies. How did you get into cooking?
Teresa: I went to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris for culinary school one summer. The classes took up so much of my time while I was there, so I didn’t get to travel as much as I would have liked, but it was definitely an incredible experience.
Q: What would you say is your best dish?
Teresa: I love cooking for people, but I don’t have a good answer to this one! It depends on what I’m in the mood for. But I must say, my killer side dish is my Thanksgiving stuffing. My secret ingredient: lots of butter.
Q: You said you didn’t get to travel much while at Le Cordon Bleu, but this seems to be a passion of yours. Do you have any upcoming travel that you are looking forward to?
Teresa: I recently took a trip to Scotland. It’s beautiful, but can be freezing and very rainy so definitely go during the right time of year. The people in Scotland are so friendly — and the scotch is very cheap. If you like good scotch, definitely check it out! Next up, I’m staying stateside coupling a trip to NYC with a stop in Charleston, SC. I’m really excited to eat my way through Charleston — they have an amazing food scene.