The Incredible (and True) Story of Y.B. Lee

In 1980, Doosan Machine Tools sold its first machine in the United States. It was only the second CNC machine we built; an A20N with a 10-inch chuck and FANUC 6T control. It went to a shop in a suburb of Beaumont, Texas, a tiny town of 1,300 people, one motel and one restaurant—a chicken shack.

The machine needed service, and Beaumont was thousands of miles away from our factory. We weren’t sure what the problem was, all we knew was we needed someone to fix it. So a conversation was had at our Korean HQ: Who’s our best guy? The most well rounded employee who knew programming, machine construction and more.

The answer was Y.B. Lee. Four decades later, he’s still in the States, and still an integral component of Doosan.

That initial time in the U.S. wasn’t easy for Y.B. He was far from home in a small Texas town, so there wasn’t much to do besides work on the machine and eat chicken wings.

The machine’s ballscrews were identified as the cause of the problem. They made a lot of noise, and Y.B. worked hard on a fix. When he had a break, he had a daily routine: grab some fried chicken from the only restaurant in town, sit at the same spot on top of a hill, and add to an ever-increasing chicken bone pile.

Y.B. also developed a friendly relationship with his customer, even eating dinner at the owner’s home. After the ballscrews were repaired, they were totally satisfied with the performance of their machine. They cut a check and Y.B. was on his way, ready to add to Doosan’s reputation in the States.

Along with the check, Y.B. also collected a few lessons. Namely, how important it is to be customer-focused. He learned how crucial it is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and to learn their pain points, a lesson that is still with him 37 years later.

Y.B. lives in New Jersey today, and his experiences in Texas serve him well in his current role as the VP of Customer Support at Doosan. He’s a key resource for Doosan Machine Tools globally, sitting on our board of directors and heading up our Global Task Force. The group meets twice each year to discuss R&D, service, quality control and more.

We’re thankful we’ve had him all this time. The traits he displayed in Texas in 1980 are ones we believe in to this day: work ethic, dedication and a desire to make sure customers are happy and productive.

He’s practically a textbook when it comes to Doosan machines and their applications, service, spare parts and systems. And of course, fried chicken.