Panda Spotlight: An Interview with Dice Specialist John Zhao

Published: 02/27/20

This year, we will introduce you to some people on our Production Team who have played an integral role in the great games we've manufactured over the years. First up is John Zhao, our Dice and Plastic Tray Specialist. John is responsible for all of our dice and plastic tray requests.  He is very often involved in brainstorming new ways to make these components, as well as the process of designing a plastic tray to fit the components in a game or needs of our clients. We asked John a few questions about his position, some things he's been really excited about, and what a day in the life of our premier Dice and Tray Designer looks like. 
What are three things you find interesting or cool about your position at Panda? 
This year, we increased our plastic tray production by 50%, and clients have been very satisfied with the quality of the trays we've created. We've also expanded our dice capabilities for both acrylic and resin dice, including one dice sample that featured five different colors of material mixed together. We'd never made dice with that many colors before, and the client was really happy with how the sample turned out. Finally, we've begun working with urea as a material and have explored dice as well as urea chips as possible components. This has been an exciting development and we've been impressed with how the urea products have turned out so far. 
Do you have any tips for clients to make the production process easier?
One thing that is very helpful when designing plastic trays is when clients send a mock-up of their concept for the tray design. I always want to make sure to honor the client's vision for the organization of the tray, so if the client can prepare a PPT or PDF to explain which components will need to be assembled in each compartment, or any other specifics they are hoping for with the design, it is very helpful in my design process. It makes it much easier for me to have text instructions as well as images to reference, as well. 
What does a typical day look like for you? 
Every morning I try to go for a run with my puppy, and then I have breakfast and head to the office. I take a quick look at my emails and handle any urgent issues right away, and spend most of the morning receiving and looking over samples and sending out samples to clients. In the afternoon, I reply to all of my emails, provide pricing and any other quote inquiries to the team at Panda West, and follow up on the progress of projects that are currently in production.

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