Meet SAE International: Devshan Perera, Senior Product Manager
Devshan Perera loves to help people.
It’s that passion for aiding others that led him to pivot from his more technical software engineering background to a product manager role that allows him to guide others through product launches with his balance of business and technical skills.
Perera, born in Sri Lanka and raised in Dubai, started his career in Sri Lanka, and came to Pittsburgh to continue his education and enable that pivot. When he started the job search, Perera courted offers from five different employers in different locations, but ultimately decided he wanted to be in Pittsburgh as he’d developed a love of the city and his fiancé was already working in the area.
After joining SAE, Perera found many opportunities to grow, and enjoyed the wide network of professionals he’s been able to connect with in his role.
“It’s very different to see what you learn in the classroom compared to the hands-on experience when you work with folks. I never thought that I would go into a meeting room and for 90 percent of the people I’m meeting with to be from NASA and the other 10 from the Department of Defense,” Perera said. “It was a bit daunting at the start, but my managers have been really encouraging, which propelled me to go towards the goals I really want to achieve.”
Perera has helped grow business for SAE’s main product line of Standards and has been an integral part in the digital transformation bringing these products and new platforms online. But beyond his responsibilities as a product manager, Perera has found another way to provide support to his colleagues.
He sits on the Fullsight DEI Council, a group made up of employees at affiliate organizations SAE International, Performance Review Institute (PRI), and SAE International Technology Consortium (ITC) to advise the organization on matters related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. He’s also a member of the BIPOC (Black Indigenous and People of Color) employee resource group at SAE.
As a new employee, Perera initially observed limited racial diversity in the workplace. Over time, representation at the organization has improved, and he wanted to be part of the movement to make the organization a more inclusive place for folks from all different backgrounds. So, when the invitation came to join this council designed to do just that, he quickly accepted.
“I’ve seen things growing in a very short time and I feel like it’s great and we’re moving in the right direction,” Perera said. “I feel inspired when I see my colleagues speaking loudly for DEI, and that gives me the confidence to really share my thoughts and engage with leadership.”
The transformation happening in workplaces across the world is one that requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, Perera said, and in true SAE fashion, he likened the successful operation of an organization including diverse perspectives to the performance of an engine.
“If the engine has the oil flowing through its pistons, we know that when you shift the gear, you’re able to have everything going,” Perera said. “So it’s the flow of ideas through every part of the organization, touching every person, that keeps you moving toward the goal. That’s what I want to see from every person, and one day, I want to say that the DEI Council is everyone.”