Immerse yourself in the opportunities you have to learn about other cultures with the international population at UB-the world you will work in post-graduation is international!"
What types of work have you performed? What projects have you worked on?
My career has been in operations supporting the oil and gas and nuclear energy industries. I've worked in both aftermarket and original equipment manufacturing and have spent a couple years in elastomer manufacturing as well. In each role, the underlying focus is making more product, safely, with a better quality and for less cost. Usually we aren't able to do all these things at once, but improving one cannot negatively affect another.
My favorite project was a Kaizen for scrap reduction of a rubber seal in which we had a cross functional team design, prototype, and manufacture a new fixture which eliminated the opportunity for the press operator to cause a defect while trimming flash from the part.
What have been some favorite aspects of your work?
No two days are the same. Working in operations means there is always work to do and people to engage with to get the job done. I love that each day I learn and am challenged in new and unique ways. It is great to have work days go fast and to never be bored at work.
What was one of your most satisfying days as an engineer?
My best days at work are the days I know I positively impacted the work environment of a colleague. Sometimes it's through coaching and helping a colleague self discover a solution to a problem. Other days it's being able to provide a solution to a problem. It's an awesome feeling to be the one people are looking to for help when things aren't going according to plan. I also really enjoy being the data analysis person (excel/access). In my experience, there aren't many data compilation/analysis people in ops.
Was it worth it? What has your engineering background made possible for you? What value has it added to your overall life?
ABSOLUTELY! Having "engineer" on your diploma opens so many doors. I never thought I would be doing the type of work that I'm doing now, but it wouldn't be possible without my degree. The experiences you go through to earn your degree give you the tenacity and confidence to work through tough time management constraints, solving problems, being able to think on your feet, and being comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you're not uncomfortable, you're not challenging yourself enough.
What would you say to the first-year students currently sitting in your shoes?
Thinking how awesome Bill Wild's Nike's were. I thought man, I want a job I can wear Nike's to work every day. Now, I do have that job--I just have to put steel toed shoes on once I get there. Seriously though, I remember feeling overwhelmed with my studies but still got involved with many other activities and some days I wondered what kind of crazy person I was. If I could do it all again, I would. And more. Get involved in SA clubs, be a student leader or RA, give campus tours.
Continue learning the language you studied in high school-I sure wish I did. Immerse yourself in the opportunities you have to learn about other cultures with the international population at UB-the world you will work in post-graduation is international! Don't limit yourself to your definition of yourself coming into college, you have more potential than you realize. And chances are, you'll meet some pretty awesome people along the way. I became friends with my best friend through EAS140 and Small Groups. Study Hard. Put yourself out there. If you want to do it you can, and it's worth it.