News Column


July 1, 2014



For the second year, Manufacturing Engineering is proud to celebrate 30 young people under the age of 30 who have demonstrated exceptional talent and leadership in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics-fields that are essential underpinnings to a career in manufacturing. These young people have taken the road less traveled, and we applaud them for it.

As this nation tries to encourage more students to develop their STEM prowess, we at Manufacturing Engineering have learned some valuable lessons in talking to these young students and professionals. Among them: You're not necessarily born with STEM talent-you have to cultivate it.

Several honorÉes said it may not be helpful to treat STEM like one bucket of skills that you have, or don't, because it may discourage some students from a STEM career unnecessarily. For example, some honorÉes said they were good at science but really had to work at math- or vice versa. Some consider themselves more aligned with engineering, which they described as investigating and solving problems. Some said they were more inclined toward technology, good at logic, programming language and coding. Others said they were better with their hands, crafting a vision into reality.

Several honorÉes encouraged other young people to hang in there and not get discouraged by, say, math, if they loved physics and wanted to pursue a career in that direction. Few people are good at all aspects of STEM fields, which is why several honorÉes sang the praises of teamwork, one of the aspects of a STEM career path that they said often goes underappreciated.

"I feel like that's a very overlooked part of engineering school in general, the team player aspect," said Jean Oh, 27, a manufacturing engineer at Boeing Co. in Portland, OR, and one of the 2014 30 Under 30 honorÉes. "There should be more emphasis on it in school." ME

Jean Oh

Age: 27

The Boeing Company

Portland, OR

A lover of science, Jean Oh had always imagined herself going into the medical field. But then, during her coursework at the University of Washington in Seattle, she encountered a roadblock. "I learned I wasn't good at chemistry,'' she joked. That sent her investigating other science-related options.

A friend had mentioned that the industrial engineering program "had a good camaraderie" of students, which appealed to Jean, who also had an aptitude for fixing things. As it turned out, industrial engineering was a good fit. "I found that I understood a lot of it and it made sense to me from both a technical and business perspective," Jean said.

She wished somebody had told her years ago how important people skills are to being successful in engineering. "I feel like that's a very overlooked part of most engineering schools in general, the team player aspect," Jean said.

Since 2010, Jean has been a manufacturing engineer at Boeing, in the production engineering, fabrication division and has newly transitioned to a Quality Engineering role. Her work revolves around providing producibility analysis to accommodate part design changes, executing projects to reduce production costs, and facilitating/planning for process changes. "Working with cross-functional teams is one of my favorite parts of the job, people of different disciplines," she said. "There is a very high level of interaction with others. It forces you to look at the bigger picture of things."

People, she said, have a lot of misconceptions about what engineers do. "It's definitely not all about math aptitude, at least from what I've seen," she said.

Jean said that one of the things she loves best about her job is solving problems. For example, she noticed that inspection reports on a boring operation on a 2-inch pad of titanium for the 747-8 Landing Gear Beams were consistently off by a certain degree, forcing the drilled holes out of tolerance. She did her own research and analysis and came up with a fix. In addition to making her proud, the fix saved Boeing money and helped deliver a higher quality part on critical equipment. "The perception off the bat is that you have to have some sort of fabrication skills in order to get this job, and when I got hired, I had no background in machining," Jean said. "It's more about your willingness to learn and listen and being open minded to everyone's advice."

Ann Simmons, a manufacturing engineer at Boeing in Portland, who nominated Jean as a 30 Under 30 honoree, said Jean is a standout engineer. "The primary job of a Manufacturing Engineer at Boeing is configuration control, but Jean has taken this to a whole new level by utilizing her proactive project management style," she wrote. "She has earned her Six Sigma Green and Black Belt with Boeing and enjoys being able to advise others on projects, while seeing how the data collected correlates with improved part quality." In addition to her work at Boeing, Jean also works to help develop the next generation of STEM leaders. She serves as a mentor for FIRST Robotics Team 2517. "They did not have it in my school," she said, "and I wish they did, because I would have started on the Engineering path earlier if I knew it was that much fun." Jean is also active in several STEM efforts in local high schools and volunteers every year for the Engineering Week with Boeing Portland. ME

"I like being able to work with the cross-functional teams, people of different disciplines.There is a very high level of interaction with others. It forces you to look at the bigger picture of things."

Selin Sirinterlikci

Age.- 19

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

At 19 years old, Selin Sirinterlikci has already mastered time management, which was necessary in order to achieve all of her academic successes, not to mention her sports accomplishments.

"I get involved in everything I am interested in," Selin explained. "My parents encouraged me to pursue whatever I was interested in, to try it out."

Selin said her leanings toward math, science and engineering were evident from a very young age. But it was a chance encounter with an astronaut, the late Rick Husband, as a child that really sparked her interest in engineering.

"I gained as much exposure to the field as possible," Selin said. "I learned AutoCAD design software and the proper operation of a 3D printer to compete in the Toy Challenge Nationals in my middle school years, an event that I found highly worthwhile and educational about product design and manufacturing."

She participated in the toy challenge in both fifth and sixth grade. "Being able to do that at a young age exposed me to the field and made me more interested, she said.

Her father, an engineer, also was encouraging. "I spent a good amount of time in his lab as a kid, so I was able to see things firsthand," she said. "I was able to talk to him about it."

Later, at Moon Area High School, Selin spent much of her time on the honor roll, participating in academic competitions, including the robotics club, as well as competing on the school's bowling, cross country and track and field teams. She also volunteered in several ways, such as tutoring other students in math.

"Selin is truly an outstanding young woman. She excels in the classroom, as a leader in our school and in our community," wrote Judith W. Shuster, Moon Area High School Gifted Coordinator.

Physics teacher Shawn T. Welsh added that Selin is an outstanding leader, "being the vice president of the Robotics Club, President of the speech and debate team, Captain of her Euro Challenge team and secretary of her graduating class. She is also active in the Science and Environmental Club, Key Club and Electronics Club ..."

Today, Selin is a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, studying electrical and computer engineering, and competing on the varsity track team. She's also contemplating minoring in robotics. "The robotics program at CMU is fantastic," she explained.

She's very excited about several computer programming courses she's taken, which have educated her in Python and C Programming Language.

While Selin said it's difficult to determine where her academic career might take her-she's interested in so many topics-her Toy Challenge experience has left its imprint. "I definitely enjoy the hands-on," she said. "Physically developing the products-I find that to be very rewarding. You can't have strong products without a strong development and revision process."

She has some advice for others interested in pursuing a path in science, technology, engineering and math: "Perseverance and dedication are very important," she said. ""l think persistence is one of the more important qualities someone can have."

She also thinks that people may not realize how much teamwork goes into STEM career fields. "I would say that working with my robotics team was one of the most rewarding experiences." ME

"I definitely enjoy the honds-on. Physically developing the products.'

Kelly Hentges

Age: 20

Student, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL

Engineering today comes with social responsibilities to make the world a better place, and Kelly Hentges, 20, a chemical engineering student at the University of Illinois, epitomizes that fact.

From a young age, Kelly was always drawn to science, a fact that was partly influenced by the fact both her parents work in the Engineering Telecommunications industry. "Science began as a fun hobby when I was little; it then grew to a lifelong passion," she told Manufacturing Engineering.

As a 12-year-old, Kelly stood out among her peers as an enthusiastic learner and natural leader, said Ana Kamath, a science teacher at Plum Grove Junior High in Rolling Meadows, IL, and one of several professionals to nominate Kelly for the 30 Under 30 honor. "Kelly had a natural affinity to science," she wrote.

In both the 7th and 8th grade, Kelly attended the "Girls Adventure in Math Science and Engineering Camp" at the University of Illinois. In her second year at the camp, she learned about chemical engineering and was hooked. "I thought it was amazing, how products we use every day are created by engineers," Kelly said.

When she was 15, Kelly received the Girl Scout Gold Award, a rare honor for someone that age, through her volunteering for the "Women in Need Growing Stronger" program, which supports victims of domestic violence. Kelly had decided to build a large sustainable vegetable garden to help provide families with healthy food. The project required a great deal of planning, in terms of produce selection and in creating a large scale garden that could be easily managed. "The garden still stands and is being used to provide produce to many homes throughout the Chicagoland area," Kamath wrote.

While in high school, Kelly also was selected to enroll in the Project Lead the Way Engineering Program. Initially, she was hesitant about participating. "I was one of four girls out of 40 students," she explained. But she noted that "engineering forces you to work with one another to solve problems." Ultimately, she said, the program ended up being a "blast" because "we were given numerous design challenges that helped develop our creative engineering skills."

Paul J. Hardy, Applied Technology Department Chairman at William Fremd High School in Palantine, IL, said Kelly stood out: "I remember her insatiable quest for betterment and how contagious it was."

In the summer of 2013, Kelly participated in a co-op program at Kimberly-Clark Corporation where Kelly said she worked on fun, cutting-edge development of next generation processing equipment. "This summer, I will be at Abbott Laboratories," she said. "My internship focus will go beyond Research and Development, into taking a newly designed product through the technology transfer process to mass production. I know manufacturing is a key area that I want to pursue."

But Kelly's dedication doesn't stop there.

As a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Kelly has been part of a team that is designing a car powered by two chemical reactions, wrote Arkaprava Dan, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a member of the Outreach Committee of the Society of Women Engineers at the U of I, she also introduces elementary and middle school students to the world of engineering. "This," Dan wrote, "is born out of her passion for engineering and industry," ME

"Science began as a fun hobby when I was little; it then grew to a lifelong passion"

Eric Icke

Age: 28

General Dynamics NASSCO

San Diego, CA

At 28, Eric Icke, a program manager at General Dynamics NASSCO, is working on a project that he already believes "is going to be one of the highlights of my career." He is a critical player in the development and construction of the world's first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered containership.

Production of TOTE, Inc.'s new Marlin Class vessels began at NASSCO's shipyard in San Diego in February. Clean burning, LNG offers unmatched environmental benefits, reducing emissions below even the world's most stringent standards.

Eric, who started in the Professional Development Program at NASSCO in 2008, is now program manager of the TOTE project. He's also worked as a production manager and deputy program manager for commercial contracts on a few other projects, such as the ECOclass tankers. "It's historic, and it's unique," Icke told Manufacturing Engineering of the TOTE project. "There are a lot of different folds. It keeps me excited."

Among the challenges: converting traditional vessel designs to a dual-fueled propulsion system with LNG. Eric explained that LNG is stored at about -260 Fahrenheit, and the cryogenic liquid must be converted into a gas that can be used in the engine.

"It's really unique in that this is the first and largest LNG-powered vessel of its kind," said Eric, who believes that "we're just starting to tap the potential" of LNG when it comes to displacing traditionally powered engine systems.

Parker Larson, director of Commercial Programs, General Dynamics NASSCO, said Eric is helping lead the US maritime industry into the future with his "creative thinking and unmatched drive," noting, "The technology associated with this program represents the future-environmentally friendly and efficient vessels that transport goods around the world."

This isn't the kind of work that Eric saw himself doing when he started his path toward engineering. "I thought I would design cars or be an architect," he said.

"I've always been interested in math and science," explained Eric, whose mother manages civil engineering projects and whose father is an IT manager. "I never really thought of doing anything else."

Eric was attracted to the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY, because of its distinguished curriculum, regimented lifestyle, and athletics program. Eric played men's varsity basketball at the Academy. It was there that Eric had his first exposure to sea going ships, and he found their complex infrastructure fascinating. "As part of the program at Kings Point, students are trained to operate large ships. While sailing, I studied the shipboard systems, and had to figure out how they worked with each other to power the ship," he explained.

While Eric confesses a natural inclination toward math, science and problem-solving, he said he still had to work at his studies in college. "Kings Point is a very difficult curriculum," he said.

But failure was never an option for Eric, who is also a Lieutenant in the Navy Reserve and, at the time of his interview, had just returned from reserve duty in Korea.

Eric said working on ships is very exciting, even though the process can take years. "Every day there's always a new challenge," he said. And in the end, "you get to see your concepts take shape and become massive, operational vessels." ME

"Eric's ability to comprehend and construct the complex mechanical and electronic systems onboard these ships makes his skill set unique and invaluable."

Jonathan Grocott

Age: 27

The Boeing Company

Turkwila, WA

Jonathan Grocott clearly has the education and hard skills needed to excel in his position as a numerical control programming engineer at The Boeing Company, but he also shares a personality trait possessed by many other truly successful people-humility.

Douglas C. Genord, Jonathan's colleague, mentor and a technical fellow for Boeing Information Technology in Tukwila, WA, describes Grocott as exceeding everyone's expectations, being extremely capable, demonstrating leadership skills and sitting at the top of the talent pool.

But ask Jonathan, 27, why he's so successful, and at first he talks about others-his great colleagues and mentors. "I do work hard," he said, adding: "And it's something I want: to be successful."

Jonathan said he also watched how his dad ran the family construction business and adopted the elder Grocott's work ethic-seeing things through to completion, being fully engaged in processes, communicating with others, and encouraging everyone to work toward the same goal.

The goal for the project team Jonathan was on with Genord was to develop a best-in-industry composite wing skin fabrication system for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This involved research, development, implementation and production hardening of software, hardware and the corresponding processes, Genord explained.

Jonathan, who's keenly interested in robotics and automation, said he considered himself blessed "to get on such a technically challenging project very early on."

He obviously exceeded the challenge.

"Jonathan has already left such a large impact on high volume composite part lamination," Genord wrote. "He has directly impacted the design, functionality and efficiency of both the hardware and software used to apply composite tape which have and will enable Boeing to increase 787 production rates."

Jonathan joined Boeing in 2011 after earning a bachelor's of science degree in manufacturing engineering technology at Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA). Boeing is only his second full-time position, not counting framing houses for his father's construction business, but he's already considered a pro.

"Without knowing Jonathan's background of recently coming out of school you would have thought he had been in industry for at least 10 years," Genord wrote in his nomination.

Jonathan provided numerical control programming support to the team, including drafting implementation plans for improvements in production. That's where his leadership skills really shone. "He quickly brainstorms and itemizes tasks to be performed, contacts the impacted team members and subject matter experts for input and concurrence, and works with the project manager to capture the details into a formal project plan," Genord said.

Working at Boeing seems a natural choice for Jonathan. He grew up in Washington, and his school tailors its engineering program for Boeing jobs.

"Manufacturing engineering really has the most diverse opportunities," he said. "Everything has to be made, everything has to be manufactured, so you have a lot of options." ME

"Without knowing Jonathan's background of recently coming out of school you would have thought he had been in industry for at least 10 years."

Jesse Srpan

Age: 24

Raw Iron Choppers

Chardon, OH

When a casting producer for the Discovery Channel's #BikerLive custom motorcyclebuilding competition watched chopper fabricator Jesse Srpan's audition tape and called to say he was interested, disbelief broke out on both ends of the phone.

The producer couldn't believe he was talking to a 23-year-old, because he assumed someone with that much experience would be a lot older. And Jesse, president and owner of Raw Iron Choppers, who's since turned 24, couldn't believe what he was hearing: "To be honest, I actually thought it was a prank phone call from a few of my buddies."

But this was no joke. He answered yes, of course, prompted by his desire to promote blue-collar welding and to inspire the next generation of welders. The segment featuring Jesse and his team building a 1940s style bike aired in June.

Building a bike from scratch for the TV crew took five weeks instead of the typical half-year, resulting in a very crunchy production schedule that forced him to delay his planned graduation with a combined associate's degree in industrial welding technology and mechanical engineering.

"It was a hard decision with being only two classes away, but sometimes you must put 110% energy and focus into other areas," Jesse says.

Because Jesse teaches welding at the same school he attends, Lakeland Community College (Kirtland, OH), works up to 15-20 hours a day to keep up with orders for the custom motorcycles that roll out of his 11-year-old shop, and takes them to trade shows and competitions three to four months a year, it took him four years to finish his degrees, instead of the typical two.

"We're pretty much slammed with work constantly," he says of Raw Iron.

But his big workload hasn't harmed the quality of his craft, according to one of his professional peers.

Greg Coleman, marketing group leader for The Lincoln Electric Company, a Cleveland welding firm, wrote: "With considerable passion, talent and focus, Jesse has built his own path to achieve his goals.

Weaving traditional educational experiences with hands-on knowledge from a number of sources, it's clear that Jesse is fast becoming a success in a field that merges technology, art, design and specific metalworking skills."

Part of Jesse's success stems from the thorough training to which Coleman refers. He's accumulated 11 American Welding Society/American Society of Mechanical Engineers welding certifications, and has also learned sheet metal fabrication, 3D CAD and practical designing and engineering skills. Next up are certifications in engine building and motorcycle mechanics.

In addition to his head-turning motorcycle metal work, he's had jobs ranging from making iron staircases and multistory fire escapes to non-disclosure projects for aerospace and nuclear energy clients. "We still do nuclear, but aerospace is really big," Jesse says.

His talent and skills have earned Jesse awards usually won by much older, more experienced welders. He placed 15th out of 50 in the Skills USA National Welding Competition in 2010 and won the International Show Car Competition'sRising Star award at the Cleveland Auto-Rama in 2012.

How is he so successful?

"It's about being creative, different, and doing what you love," says this young entrepreneur. ME

We're pretty much slammed with work constantly"

Sonja Riley

Age: 26

Harvey Tool

Rowley, MA

Dave Malrick, sales manager for industrial cutting tools distributor Walter R. Hammond Co., Minneapolis, met Sonja Riley a year ago during a meeting about the future of the product she makes and he sells. "Throughout our conversation, I came to gain lots of respect for this young woman," says Malrick, who's been in the cutting tools business 44 years. "I have rarely come across a person of this quality so young in life."

Not only did Sonja hold her own in the meeting at Harvey Tool, Rowley, MA, where she's manager of product development, she often led the discussion, says Malrick. Their business relationship one year later has only led to a deeper respect of Sonja's knowledge and problem-solving skills.

No surprise then that Sonja's nickname at work is E.F. Hutton, after the brokerage firm whose advertising slogan in the '70s and '80s was "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen."

Sonja, 26, was hired at Harvey Tool as a trainee for the technical sales staff that promotes its specialty carbide end mills and cutting tools for the metalworking industry. Part of her training was to spend time in different departments to learn; inspection, quality control, technical customer support, special quoting, and new product development. Her knowledge grew quickly, and she was soon asked to teach a technical training course for company employees.

It was when Sonja worked in new product development that she found her niche. With her good grasp of the product line and her ability to positively interact with customers, she joined the team, and has since been promoted to manager of two other employees.

"Sonja's skills and work ethic resulted in her early promotion to manager at the age of 25," says Harvey President Peter P. Jenkins. "Her role within the company and her reputation with customers as a go-to person for technical expertise have already positioned her as a leader in the machining and cutting tool industry."

Since Sonja became a member of the New Product Development Team in 2012, the number of new tools launched each year has increased from 800 to up to 2,000. A bullet on her resume says Sonja identifies potential new product lines, and it's hard to get her to claim individual credit, but when pressed she admits to designing a new, longer-lasting threading tool for the difficuIt-to-mill hardened steel.

Her success at Harvey surprises Sonja only because she was on track to work in the bioengineering field after graduating from Syracuse University with a bachelor's of science degree in biomedical engineering.

She interned at Zoll Medical, Chelmsford, MA, where she worked on software for quality testing of automated external defibrillators. Her senior thesis project at Syracuse focused on bone cement for orthopedic applications.

Her interest in the biomedical field stems from her dad, a software engineer for biomedical applications. Her mom's a math teacher. "We did square roots at the dinner table," Sonja says.

In addition to her math and engineering skills, Sonja has an "uncanny ability to process and retain information," Jenkins wrote in her 30 Under 30 nomination.

"You never have to tell her something twice," says Jeff Davis, vice president of engineering at Harvey. "It's almost kind of frustrating that in just a few short years she has learned what it took me 20+ years to learn on my own." ME

We did square roots at the dinner table."

Rebecca Kurfess

Age: 19

Student, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA

Rebecca Kurfess, 19, and a freshman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, readily admits she comes from a nerdy family. Her mother has a master's degree in mechanical engineering from MIT (Cambridge, MA). Her father has a doctorate in the same field from the same school, and teaches at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The school not only employs Rebecca's dad, it once was a source of entertainment for the Kurfess children, and introduced them to aerodynamics.

"I remember, gosh, when I was probably 7 or 8 my dad used to take me and my brothers to a building at Georgia Tech with a high staircase and we would fly paper airplanes," Rebecca recalled.

She's following in her parents' footsteps by majoring in mechanical engineering, with a minor in German. Rebecca was an exchange student in Germany in high school. Her father, whose grandparents immigrated to the United States from Germany, speaks the language fluently. So, if Rebecca needs help with her engineering studies she can call on either parent, and on her dad for her minor.

The same summer Rebecca was an exchange student, she did an internship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, in the additive manufacturing lab. Her internship included designing and 3D printing an artifact to test the accuracy of an additive manufacturing machine, a task that whetted her interest in the manufacturing technique.

"For (admission to) MIT you have to go to an interview," she explained. "And for most of my interview I talked about additive manufacturing."

Rebecca isn't 100% nerdy, however. After all, she grew up in Clemson, SC, home of Clemson University and the Clemson Tigers football team.

"The people there are very intense about football," she said. "In fact, the population triples on game day."

The focus on football in her hometown also gives Rebecca an analogy for her love of science and math, which she said matches the fervor of the Tigers' fans.

Growing up in a college town also made for some pretty smart classmates, but that allowed her to soar, not blend into the woodwork.

"It is typical for 20% or more of my AP (advanced placement) class to have parents with doctoral degrees in some form of math or science," wrote Gary DuBose, AP chemistry teacher at D.W. Daniel High School, Central, SC, where Rebecca earned top academic honors and graduated valedictorian. "Even in this environment Rebecca managed to stand out as one of the top students."

She stood out in another way as well. Like her MIT alumnus mother who prefers to teach seventh grade science rather than work in industry, Rebecca loves to teach others. She taught Sunday school at her church, flute to middle school students, and would help classmates who were struggling in school.

"In this respect, she was somewhat unusual," wrote DuBose. "As many of our top students are so competitive that they are unwilling to help their peers."

Rebecca plans to earn a master's degree in mechanical engineering, and possibly a doctorate so she can teach at the university level like her dad. Either way, her mother's story has inspired a desire in Rebecca to continue to help others learn.

"I enjoy helping others both because it helps me learn and because I really enjoy helping others make sense of things," she said. "And seeing it on their faces when the concept 'clicks' with them." ME

For most of my (MIT admissions) interview I talked about additive manufacturing."

Travis Bengtson

Age: 29

Caterpillar Undercarriage Business Unit

East Peoria, IL

About the time that Travis Bengtson was interviewing with Caterpillar for its Manufacturing Professional Development Program, it seemed as if everybody was jumping out of manufacturing. Travis saw that as an opportunity because at some point there was going to be a shortage of manufacturing experts.

Prior to his experience at Caterpillar, Travis had studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Travis didn't think that he was going to end up in manufacturing. He thought he would do more mechanical design, but after meeting with the Caterpillar recruiters and talking about the MPDP program, he thought the cross functional experience and manufacturing looked especially attractive.

Once in the program, Travis held various roles such as Facility Engineer, Section Manager in Operations, and finally as a Logistics Planning Analyst at various facilities within the Caterpillar Business units. "The insight gained from this cross functional experience allows one to make decisions that are not only good from an engineering perspective, but also good from a business perspective," he said.

His final rotational role as a Logistics Planning Analyst in the professional program led to a permanent Manufacturing Engineer position in the Technical Services group for the Undercarriage Business Unit. In this role, Travis executed lean manufacturing concepts as he has integrated AndÓn systems throughout the facility and enabled monitoring of equipment effectiveness (OEE) through development and integration of Statuswatch.

In his current role as Manufacturing Project Engineer at Caterpillar's Undercarriage Business Unit, Travis Bengtson is using modern IT resources to collect and analyze data on tooling, maintenance, resource utilization, and scheduling methods, among other manufacturing factors. "There's a wealth of knowledge to be gained, giving us valuable insights into what I call the real operation of the machines. It challenges the preconceived notions about processes so that decisions can be made based on facts and not on hearsay," Travis said.

Travis has led the manufacturing engineers in the conversion of a legacy IBM ERP system's data to a current SAP platform. The scope of the conversion involved a master data plan that could support the way the subcontracting business and cell level manufacturing systems have evolved over the years. The conversion was executed successfully with 100% Routing and Bill of Material accuracy to support the operation in the new ERP system.

Travis is currently leading a project with the goal of radically reforming supply chain planning in a component facility that operates in SAP through a combination of demand management practices, strategic managed inventory, and heijunka planning. A pilot is underway which will deliver a template for development into an enterprise level solution to support a stable supply chain for a component value stream with volatile demand, while reducing enterprise inventory. Travis recently completed a Six Sigma Black Belt curriculum within Caterpillar and he continues to develop his technical capabilities and change management skills to improve manufacturing in each functional area. ME

"There's a wealth of knowledge to be gained, giving us valuable insights into what I call the real operation of the machines."

Ali Rizvi

Age: 27

Student, University of Toronto

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ali Rizvi is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. He combines rigorous academic research with an entrepreneurial drive to bridge the gap between a proof-of-concept invention and commercialization. Ali is developing innovative and industrially viable technologies to manufacture low density porous plastics with super-absorptive properties for oil-spill cleanup applications. He holds patents that have been favorably received by the industry, including a major Japanese chemical company.

He is the co-founder and director of manufacturing at a start-up company and leads the company's product development for rapid prototyping, material selection, material research and development, incorporation of advanced manufacturing technologies, and plastics mold design. The start-up, which received the VentureStart grant from the Research & Innovation Commercialization Centre - Ontario, has achieved substantial success and continues to grow at an exponential rate.

Ali graduated with High Distinction with an Honours B.S. in Environmental Chemistry and a minor in Economics from the University of Toronto and was fast-tracked into the Ph.D. program in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. Ali said that he wanted to study manufacturing because it is the key to commercialization of an idea: "A great idea that can't be produced and scaled-up economically will fail. The reason I pursued manufacturing engineering was to develop insights that will facilitate commercialization of scientific breakthroughs. During my undergraduate work in chemistry, I engaged in cutting edge research in various disciplines of chemistry. What I noticed was that scientists evaluate research by considering whether it makes an original contribution to our understanding of the world and often overlook or not address the more pragmatic factors, like cost of manufacturing, and scalability."

Ali has been awarded a number of grants including a challenge grant from the Canadian government aimed at addressing health-related problems in third world countries. The proposal is aimed at developing a fieldcapable device based on the mobile phone that would overcome the difficulty of field-diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) in third world countries where sophisticated equipment and electric power are typically not available.

Ali has two patents and ten technical publications in refereed journals and conference proceedings. His scientific contributions have received academic and industrial recognition.

In 2013, Ali received the NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship. In 2012, Ali was awarded the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) PerkinElmer Award: Composites Division for the best paper. In 2012, he also received the Queen Elizabeth ll-GSST Award: DuPont Canada Scholarship in Science and Technology.

Ali, as a graduate assistant, has been active in the academic life of the university. He has supervised six summer research students who came from countries across the globe.

He served as a judge at the LIVE Competition 2013, a two-day national business competition; Show Me the Green Conference 2013; and the University of Toronto Engineering Kompetition 2012-2014.

"A great idea that can't be produced and scaled up economically will fail. The reason I pursued manufacturing engineering was to develop insights that will facilitate commercialization of scientific breakthroughs."

Patrick M. White

Age: 28

Caterpillar, Inc.

Joliet, IL

Patrick M. White found his niche early on taking high school drafting classes, something he was so good at that others would ask him how to work in AutoCAD and other programs. When he studied at Moraine Valley CC, his teachers were engineers by day and instructors at night. Initially, Patrick wanted to be a teacher who communicated to young people why keeping manufacturing in the US is so important. The example of his college teachers who went out and worked in industry and in some cases retired to teach, motivated him to earn a B.S. in Industrial Technology from Illinois State University and pursue a career in manufacturing.

Patrick started at the Caterpillar Decatur facility as an operations supervisor at 22 with responsibility for leading hourly employees in achieving their safety, quality, and cost and throughput requirements. Patrick made immediate improvements to the Lower Power Train production areas through his ability to lead and motivate his employees. While in Decatur for three years Patrick managed production areas in machining, fabrication and final assembly before pursuing an opportunity at the Caterpillar Joliet facility.

At the Caterpillar Joliet facility Pat managed the Heat Treat production line. During the first year in his role, Patrick yielded positive improvements in an Employee Opinion Survey. He empowered his employees to be self-sufficient and make decisions that positively impacted the Heat Treat Value Stream business. Patrick also propelled himself by sharing and utilizing the "best practices" he learned at the Decatur facility and helped to implement those practices at the Joliet facility.

Following his first year at the Joliet facility, Patrick inherited additional production areas and employees. He demonstrated the same type of improvements by coaching his employees and helping them understand their impact on the customer and business. When Patrick was a shop floor supervisor, he went above and beyond to foster pride in his team by showing them how the components being manufactured played an important role in the overall product.

In the previous two years, Patrick managed through an employee work stoppage that lasted three months and three rounds of reduction in the workforce. Although unfortunate, these experiences helped Patrick grow as a leader and demonstrated his ability to withstand pressure and make difficult decisions.

Because of his excellent communication and presentation style, Patrick was asked to deliver training to key leaders on the shop floor about 5S and lean manufacturing principles. This demonstrated how 5S makes the jobs on the shop floor safer and more productive.

As of this year Patrick has transitioned into a Six Sigma Black Belt role. In this role Patrick is currently involved in a project aimed at optimizing gas and power usage throughout the plant. If successful, it could serve as a model for other Caterpillar plants. Patrick is also part of a new deployment of Lean Manufacturing that is being piloted at select Caterpillar facilities.

Patrick believes in giving back to the community and is an active member of the Caterpillar Joliet Women's Initiative Network (WIN). As a member, Patrick organized various activities to raise money for tornado victims in Washington, IL, a plant-wide event that exceeded the WIN fundraising goal.

"I learned to first show respect before trying to gain respect. It has given me a strong foundation for which my career is built upon."

Olivia Girod

Age: 23

Student, Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR

The future is bright with opportunity for recent engineering graduates who have demonstrated leadership. Olivia Girod, a June graduate of Oregon State University with an Honors B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering, said that passing the defense of her Honors thesis paper was a pivotal moment in her college career. The honors thesis has resulted in a conference publication and will be submitted for journal publication, according to her faculty thesis co-advisor.

A second pivotal moment was learning about the possibilities of internships during her Junior and Senior years. "While I love engineering, I also love working with people so an internship in an operations management position seemed like a great opportunity for me. With persistence, I was able to make contact with the Intel representative, gain an interview and be offered the position."

Intel was one of two companies where Olivia earned a competitive MECOP six-month industry internship during her last two years of school. As an intern at Intel, Olivia had served as Captain of the Ship for Consolidated Die Prep Manufacturing. As such, Olivia was responsible for daily manufacturing operations and had direct responsibility for 60 employees during her shift. Her responsibilities included line management, tooling, and staffing decision making.

In her second MECOP internship with Precision Castparts Corp. (PCC), Olivia was able to save PCC over $180,000 through her projects. While on her internship at PCC last year, she organized the Student Industry Presentation Night during which several interns presented their projects to members of engineering professional chapters in Portland, OR.

Olivia's positive influence during her college career has led to being recognized by students and faculty for her leadership. Over the past two years, Olivia has stepped into her roles as OSU SME Chair and Chair Elect with responsibility for organizing meetings and recent elections, assisting in industry tours, and coordinating mock interviews with industry for OSU students.

Olivia has been recognized for her academic achievements, having received the SME Directors Scholarship (2013), the SME Future Leaders of Manufacturing Scholarship, and the SME Myrtle & Earl Walker Scholarship in 2012.

Having excelled academically at OSU, where she carried an overall 3.79 GPA, Olivia was initiated into the Tau Beta Pi and Alpha Pi Mu honor societies and she was nominated as the Outstanding Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Graduate for 2014's class. Olivia volunteered in the Society of Women Engineers to get girls interested in engineering and community involvement and has participated in the OSU Mentors and Mentees program where she was a mentor to first-year women in engineering.

In June, Olivia began work as an operations manager at Intel Corporation in a position she had previously interned in. "I am looking forward to this position as it is a balance of the technical engineering side of manufacturing and the challenges of personnel management. I will be managing a team of approximately 10 to 15 people ranging in age and background and am excited for the opportunity to apply what I have learned so far about management."

"While I love engineering, I also love working with people so the internship seemed like a great opportunity for me.'

Adam Prante

Age: 19

Sattler Machine Products

Sharon Center, OH

Adam Prante blew away the competition in the 2013 SkillsUSA CNC Lathe turning challenge-beating his competition by a full 45 minutes. That was last year, and this year, Adam is in an NTMA apprenticeship program working as an apprentice CNC setup and machine operator at Sattler Machine Products (Sharon Center, OH).

Adam was nominated for the 30 Linder 30 honor by Toni Neary, business development for ToolingU-SME, who wrote that Adam was a pleasure to work with during the Regional Skills USA for Ohio.

Adam's interest in working with machines began with exposure to his father's woodworking and carpentry. For the last two years of high school, Adam chose to go to the Medina (OH) Career center where he spent two and a half hours a day in the shop learning to run a Bridgeport, an engine lathe, or program on Mastercam.

Adam was particularly motivated by his getting a 1996 Chevrolet S10 truck when he was sixteen and a half. "I wanted to make some pretty cool stuff for the truck rather than buying it. I painted the truck and lowered it, and last winter I got an aluminum block 5.3 V8. Then I tore the motor back out and boosted it up to 450 hp."

Typically, the NTMA apprenticeship has two or three Tooling U online classes a week: for example, two classes on controllers for a mill and lathe, a Maxi lathe or mill, or a Haas lathe or mill.

"Tooling U Classes covered machining different materials including plastics, steels, and other metals. Then we'll do a materials part in plastic, in different metals, steels and how they're made and their chemical makeup," said Adam.

During his senior year, Adam was pretty much on his own in learning CNC. His teacher was an experienced manual machine operator, so they worked together on learning the CNC ropes. Adam read everything he could about CNC and eventually his teacher said that he was good enough to win the nationals, which he did as well as winning state and regional machining skills competitions.

"The time that I spent learning CNC from the ground up paid off in the competition, and I was able to use that knowledge to my advantage," Adam said.

Adam's future plans, after finishing his apprenticeship, of course, are to become more involved with designing parts with emphasis on their manufacturability.

Recently, Adam had the opportunity to see the "American Made" movie. A local shop, Automation Tool & Die, sponsored showing the movie, which is a documentary about two small American businesses and how they moved forward and how consumers, business owners, and government can cooperate to bring business back to the US.

Adam returns to his high school regularly where he serves as a part of the school's advisory council. He is involved in touring the shop and offering advice on how to make the class better. He also talks to students about the opportunities for good paying jobs and the bright future that a career in manufacturing can offer them. He tells them that they can look forward to good paying jobs in environments that aren't anything like the negative image that has been portrayed about manufacturing.

'The time that I spent learning CNC from the ground up paid off in the competition, and I was able to use that knowledge to my advantage."

Anthony Murphy

Age: 29

Plex Systems

Irvine, CA

Some people are born to manufacturing; others-such as Anthony Murphy-have manufacturing thrust upon them. Anthony was just 13 years old, sleeping in on a humid Michigan summer morning, when he was prodded and cajoled into waking up by his father:

"He unceremoniously woke me up one day during summer vacation and drove me over to RLM Industries (Oxford, Ml)," Anthony recalled. "My dad didn't have all the best opportunities growing up, and he wanted to be sure I did. To teach me the value of a good day's work and managing my money and being responsible, he took me to the company where he himself was working. He dropped me off near one of the bay doors of the foundry, and I remember I could feel the heat as I walked closer and closer to the door. I started out sweeping floors and shoveling steel, and worked my way up from there."

In total, Anthony spent 13 years working there, fitting it in around his studies from junior high all the way through college. He held several positions-from laborer to IT and process improvement, earning a reputation for being a "fixer." A self-proclaimed "tech geek at heart," he was constantly finding ways to augment the features of company's ERP system. He tweaked the system so that it was able to monitor capacity and productivity, doubling shipments to $14 million annually. He also created a touchscreen system to capture manufacturing data and implemented a program that dramatically reduced the time to produce outside work orders.

Anthony's happiest success at RLM was transforming the company's least profitable division into one of the most successful in record time. And by doing so, he was able to save jobs in what's been a tough Michigan economy.

Here's how it happened. RLM had a full-scale tooling department on site so that tools could be made quickly and at a low cost for customers, but when the overstaffed department was deemed a liability, it was Anthony who was tapped to reduce it to a single machine and toolmaker.

To Anthony, letting those hard workers go wouldn't feel right. This "fixer" needed a way to fix the situation without having to cut jobs. He attributes his solution to a brief moment of reflection. As he looked out his office window, he noticed the company's delivery truck taking parts to a supplier to be machined. He thought "Why not repurpose our CNCs to machine parts as well as build tooling?"

He got the team to work immediately. Instead of shutting the department down, he was able to move it from a loss leader to a profit sanctuary in under six months and even add a second shift.

That anecdote comes from Katy Teer of Plex Systems, where Anthony now works. "As a Plex Delivery Executive, Anthony works hand-in-hand with our customers to implement Plex Cloud ERP throughout their manufacturing operations," Teer said. "He recently received a company award recognizing his dedication to customer satisfaction.

"Anthony is an example of what manufacturing represents," Teer concluded: "Innovation, hard work, creativity and determination; quietly working behind the scenes to make things better, faster and stronger." She, like Anthony himself, is grateful for what his dad got started on that warm summer morning in Michigan.

"Anthony is an example of what manufacturing represents: Innovation, hard work, creativity and determination

Natalie Byler

Age: 30

Medtronic Spinal and Biologies

Warsaw, IN

When Natalie Byler was a kid, she occasionally was able to watch her dad and others at the GM powertrain facility in Bay City, Ml. Years later, she went to a Women in Engineering summer camp at Michigan Tech, but Natalie says that it was back there at GM, standing to one side and watching camshafts being formed in their multitudes, that "the seed was planted" for a career in manufacturing.

That seed is in full bloom now at Medtronic Spinal and Biologies, where Natalie has worked for seven years-as a quality engineer and, more recently, as Technical Supervisor of Metrology.

This facility manufactures spinal implants and instruments for the medical device industry-titanium, stainless steel, and cobalt chrome devices. It's a very fast-paced manufacturing environment. Natalie has "consistently performed at a high level" here, thanks to her "strong technical skills and her ability to communicate with others," said her supervisor, Senior Quality Engineering Manager Tom Tracy. "She is a very high performer" who has helped to implement standard work in the metrology lab and who manages the facility's microbiology lab, which monitors the site's water system for biocontamination.

"Last year, Natalie worked on a project to bring LALendotoxin-testing in house. She purchased an LAL test machine so that we could perform the testing in house" instead of having an outside lab do it, Tracy explained. Natalie trained employees and wrote the work instruction on how to use the equipment and how to review the test results. The result: "A cost saving of $191,061."

Natalie is the SWE-Society for Women Engineerssite lead for the Warsaw facility, and has "taken the program to the next level," by organizing fundraisers and working with the community on such programs as Adopt a Family and Tools for Schools during her time as site lead, according to Tracy.

Natalie, who is also currently pursuing a Masters in the Biomedical Engineering program at Purdue University, knows that there is more to manufacturing than many people realize.

"It's not just making the parts. There's so much support that goes along with that. You get so many opportunities to problem-solve. And occasionally you get those days where you actually get to see the impact that your product makes," she said."Those are the best days."

As an example, she offers something that happened when she was a quality engineer responsible for the facility's spinal rod product, which is mainly used for treating scoliosis. She was showing a tour group of high school students the shotpeening process: how variously sized rods are shot peened.

"A student asked if we also make the larger rods, and I said yes, we also make the longer, 500-mm rods," she remembers. "And he said, 'Oh! I have those!' I said, what do you mean? He said, "Yeah, I had my surgery about a year ago and I have Medtronic rods in my back.'

"To see this boy standing there, standing straight, and to think that I might have held those same rods in my hand at one point in time-I can't describe the feeling. It was amazing." ME

''Occasionally you get those days where you get to see the impact that your product makes.Those are the best days."

Bradley Bilacic

Age: 24

Star Cutter

Tawas, MI

"As long as can rememher I have always had an interest in how things were made," says Brad Bilacic. Brad's father was a rural carrier for the post office and was responsible for maintaining his work vehiclea weekly task. His father had Brad assemble his first Volkswagen engine at the age of nine.

"My dad raced cars and was always building or working on a car," Brad remembered. "The very first engine he ever built was a VW engine, so he had me do the same thing. I remember cleaning parts in a pan of gasolinethis was when gas was cheaper-on the floor of the garage. We built the whole thing from the ground up from scratch." Brad's interest in mechanics would grow as he started driving and building race cars at age 12.

During high school Brad took two years of machine trades and competed in the SkillsUSA competition and worked at XLT Engineering as a CNC Mill operator. He also earned 21 Tooling University certificates and eight National Institute for Metalworking Skills certificates. It was during this time, he said, that he realized "I wanted to take what I had learned about machining and apply it from an engineering stance."

Brad attended Ferris State University (Big Rapids, Ml), where he worked as a laboratory aid or teacher's assistant each semester in his four years. In his final two years, he served as secretary and then president of the university's SME chapter, Chapter 138. Going into his senior year he served an internship at Case New Holland, "my first experience with engineering from more of an industrial side instead of dealing with the machining aspect," he recalled. "I was able to be a part of the development of a complex kanban system that would be used at both the Burlington, IA and the Racine, WS site."

Since finishing at Ferris, Brad has spent much of his career working two jobs concurrently. The first is at Star Cutter, a gear hobbing manufacturer based in Tawas, Ml. "Gear hobbing was completely new to me and I loved the challenge of learning a new product," Brad said "Eyen/day has been filled with new challenges and I am able to apply various skill sets that, acquired in college He deals with CNC programming and machining there, along with trying to improve product flow using lean manufacturing principles.

The second job is as an instructor at Delta Community College in Saginaw, Ml. "I teach basic manual machining and CAD/CAM at night after I work my engineering job during the day. I love being able to share my experiences with others and enjoy lighting the manufacturing fire within others."

For a person who grew up building engines in a garage, there are benefits in teaching old-fashioned manual machining, even after a full day in a modern factory. "Nothing beats turning the handle of a Bridgeport Mill and feeling the cutting pressure," according to Brad.

"It is too easy to get caught up in the fast-paced CNC-driven world-sometimes you need to revert back to the basics before you can try to improve forward. Watching the chips fly off and adjusting the RPM as needed manually is a nice way to make sure that you never forget where it all started."

Nothing beats turning the handle of a Bridgeport Mill and feeling the cutting pressure."

Morgan Montalvo

Age: 18

Student, California Polytechnic State University

San Louis Obispo, CA

Morgan Montalvo "was a force to be reckoned with from day one," former teacher and robotics mentor Nancy McIntyre wrote when recommending Morgan for an SME Education Foundation (SME-EF) scholarship. 'Day one' was when Morgan, in the summer before sixth grade, wandered into McIntyre's robotics class-a class Morgan took only because she wanted to fill the time between an earlier class and when her mom could pick her up. It was "a class that was filled with mostly boys," McIntyre remembered: "Morgan was never intimidated by the boys." As the summer progressed, she became someone the rest of the class learned to listen to.

Others learned to listen as well. Morgan graduated high school after achieving a 4.2 GPA in AP and honors-level courses, leading her field hockey team as captain, and earning a Black Belt in karate. She is now a college freshman studying aerospace engineering at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo-aided by that $70,000 SME-EF family scholarship. But she still remembers that longago summer class fondly-how they made robots from kits and worked to get them to do simple tasks in the context of games. She's been learning how to design and build robots ever since. "I became addicted to the thrill of working with others to create a solution to a complex problem, which explains why I continue with robotics."

That first summer class got her involved with the Eagle Engineering Robotics team-. She has managed to qualify for the VEX Robotics World Championship-an annual competition of over 600 top robotics teams from around the world-every year since 2008. And she has done more than compete, becoming in effect a goodwill ambassador for robotics, engineering and STEM education both in the US and abroad. As SME-EF told us when recommending Morgan for recognition, "Morgan has traveled to Hawaii to teach students and teachers how to develop similar robotics programs, to New Zealand and Tokyo to work on service-related projects, to Cork, Ireland to conduct workshops for new teams and participate in that city's Inaugural VEX Robotics Competition."

When asked about her travels, Morgan said that the experience has been "mindboggling, especially places like New Zealand and Japan-places that seem so completely different from what we're used to. Mindboggling to see these people across the world, miles and miles away, playing the same robot game as we do-but having completely different ideas about it."

Morgan has no doubt as to how she wants to put her education and experiences to work after she graduates: She looks to the stars. Years ago she visited the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena-the lead US center for robotic exploration of the solar system, according to NASA-and the experience was, she says now, "an epiphany, which combined my love for space and engineering. I want to work in aerospace because I want to be directly involved in designing a satellite or rover to help launch the world into a new age of discovery."

Morgan's early champion, teacher Nancy McIntyre, doesn't doubt her on this: She wrote that Morgan "will likely end up at JPL building and running the robotics missions throughout the universe."

"I became addicted to the thrill of working with others to create a solution to a complex problem."

Moneer Helu

Age: 28

Student, University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

"I've always been fascinated by huge maI I with them, making them, I trying to figure them out. I'd decided to be I a mechanical engineer,'' said Moneer Helu. He's Associate Director of the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability (LMAS) at UC Berkeley'sCollege of Engineering, the school where he earned his PhD and MS after earning an SB at MIT. That fascination has brought him pretty far already:

"Throughout his career, Dr. Helu has been a talented and extremely motivated researcher who has consistently been a leader in many of our group's activities," wrote Moneer's supervisor, LMAS Director David DÖrnfeld, chair of the Mechanical Engineering Dept. "His research accomplishments are substantial and well recognized in the manufacturing research community even at this early stage of his career."

Moneer's PhD thesis research analyzed the link between manufacturing process operations and precision and the environmental impacts, energy, and material and resource utilization of a product over its entire life cycle. His most recent research involves developing data-driven tools for manufacturing. He has already authored or co-authored four peer-reviewed journal articles, seven peer-reviewed articles in proceedings/ symposia; and chapters in two textbooks, as well as given numerous presentations.

Not a slouch, then. But if you're tempted to think that this is a fellow for whom everything comes easily, you might be surprised to know that an event that helped to lead Moneer toward manufacturing engineering was a decided failure.

"While at MIT I took a course in design and mechanisms, and a nice component of the course is that the final deliverable required is a robot that you make-a robot that's supposed to accomplish a particular task," Moneer explained. "At the end of the semester there's a big competition. And throughout the entire semester you're continually iterating the design of this robot to achieve this one task and, hopefully, win the competition. It was really a fun class and it allowed me to explore the machine shop.

"I didn't do well in the actual competition," Moneer admitted, laughing: "I lost in the first round. One of my mechanisms, which had been working continuously up until that point, decided not to work. My robot suddenly wasn't able to lift an object high enough to compete with its adversaries. It was pitiful! But the whole thing really was a great experience. It opened my eyes to the machine shop and the different things you could do in manufacturing."

Moneer hopes that the eyes of other young people can get opened to the modern world of manufacturing. "People still think of it as drudgery. They don't realize the types of skills that are used and positions that are vastly available in manufacturing these days," he said. "Manufacturing engineers call up different technologies to improve systems and make cooler products-from turbine blades for a jet engine to biomedical devices. Machinists are always making something new, always figuring out interesting, clever ways to, say, fabricate a particularly challenging geometry. To think of manufacturing as still some person on a line screwing in the same screw over and over every day-that's just not accurate anymore."

Moneer has recently accepted a position with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) where he expects he'll continue to work on problems very relevant to manufacturing. ME

"To think of manufacturing as still some person on a line screwing in the same screw over and over every daythat's just not accurate anymore."

Paul David Filler Jr.

Age: 25

Workshops for Warriors

San Diego, CA

As a member of the US Marines, Paul David Filler Jr. first started learning the machinist trade while stationed at Camp Pendleton near San Diego. His aptitude for machining techniques and quickly learning CNC programming led him on the path to becoming an apprentice and CNC instructor for Workshops for Warriors (WFW; San Diego). Later he was named head of the Machining Department of the organization that helps train US military veterans for machining jobs in the manufacturing industry.

A native of Ohio, Filler grew up in a small town near Akron. As a boy he recalled always being fascinated with building things out of Legos and Lincoln Logs, with only a week of training as a manual machine operator in the Marine Corps., Filler steadily rose through the machinist ranks to obtain nearly 30 national accreditations and becoming WFW's first Mastercam Certified Instructor. He currently is working on his degree in Machining Technology at San Diego City College and he plans to eventually finish his four-year degree in Mechanical Engineering.

"I always knew I wanted to be an engineer," said Filler, who initially worked on manual Bridgeport mills and lathes. "Manual machining is a great way to learn the fundamentals of everything."

After his honorable discharge from the Marines, Filler quickly earned his stripes at Workshop for Warriors.

"Paul proved to be an excellent machinist and distinguished himself among his peers," noted HernÁn Luis y Prado, founder and president of Workshop for Warriors. "He began his teaching career at Workshops for Warriors in the fall of 2013 under the tutelage of his mentor Patrick Dorris. With his help, the CNC machining program was developed and implemented. The machining area grew from one machine and no CAD/CAM programming, to four Haas CNC machines and 10 seats of Mastercam. He was responsible for assisting and developing the curriculum for our first National Accreditation."

Within three months, Workshops for Warriors was accredited through the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS; Fairfax, VA), the shortest amount of time in the history of NIMS, noted Luis y Prado. "He is deeply committed in providing the best training for his fellow brothers and sisters of the armed services," he added. "With his perseverance and dedication, his students have been placed throughout the United States in manufacturing jobs."

Today, Filler performs multiple roles, as one of the two instructors at Workshops for Warriors and head of the Machining Department, while finishing his studies at City College, Luis y Prado said. "In conjunction with those roles, he also has earned over 30 industry-recognized certifications and is our first Mastercam Certified Instructor."

At the Workshop for Warriors facility, approximately 30,000 ft2 is allocated to the machining area, where various machine tools help US veterans find a place in the manufacturing industry. The latest machine at WFW is a new $1 million laser metalcutting machine donated by Amada America (Buena Park, CA), Filler said.

In his current role, Filler finds a lot of gratification in teaching the machinist trade to his fellow veterans. "I noticed that a lot of guys when they come out, they don't have a plan. As long as you want to learn, you can do it," Filler said. "For a lot of them, it gives them a purpose, and it's real rewarding to go out and help people be able to find good jobs in the manufacturing industry." ME

"Manual machining is a great way to leam the fundamentals of everything."

Rebekka Neumann

Age: 19


Farminglon Hills, MI

Hands-on from an early age, Rebekka Neumann liked to take things apart and rebuild them. But it wasn't until she joined her high school's FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) 862 Lightning Robotics team that she really knew she'd make a career in the manufacturing field.

Neumann, who just turned 19, is now working as a mechatronics technical apprentice for EMAG LLC (Farmington Hills, Ml, and Salach, Germany), a builder of machine tools for cutting and grinding gears and other components, while going to school at Henry Ford Community College (Dearborn, Ml). She's in the first class of the new Michigan Advanced Technical Training program where students study technical programs while working at a sponsoring company like EMAG.

"Young adults such as Rebekka are the future of our industry and prove that there is a place for highly skilled talent in manufacturing," said Kristal Kilgore, marketing manager, EMAG LLC, in her nomination of Neumann. "Foregoing a traditional four-year university, she is participating in a joint educational-working program that allows her to gain both college credits and industry experience. In three years she will graduate with an advanced associate's degree and with realworld working experience."

Already proficient in AutoCAD, as well as fluent in German and conversational in Spanish, Neumann is still eager to learn as much as she can about how machines work, and howto build and repair them, noted Kilgore.

"Rebekka is worthy of this nomination because young adults like her are essential to filling the growing skills gap in manufacturing," Kilgore added.

A 2013 Plymouth Salem High graduate, Neumann's team won the FIRST Robotics district championship in her senior year. A good student in math, Neumann found that the robotics competitions stirred her interest in manufacturing. "I always liked drawing and I would always take things apart, things like pens, and I was interested in mechanical things. On the FIRST robotics team, you build a robot to compete in a different game each year, like shooting Frisbees in a goal," she said. "It's a wonderful program because they don't focus on winningit's more about the teamwork.

In high school, Neumann took a class to learn AutoCAD and also became proficient using the Autodesk Inventor design program. Her father works as an engineer in automotive, designing lighting products for Hella Electronics. A native of Herzebrock, Germany, Neumann moved with her family to Michigan in 2006.

"My dad's an engineer and I've always been leaning toward that," Neumann said. "I only joined the robotics team in my senior year because I didn't know about it before that. Once I did, that really changed everything."

Her hands-on work also includes pitching in with working on home remodeling projects for her family's business. She and her younger brother have worked with her parents on refurbishing homes, doing work including carpentry, electrical, and plumbing.

For the future, Neumann's working toward establishing herself in a technical career, learning mechatronics at EMAG and attending classes at Henry Ford. "I definitely want to stay in manufacturing and I really like working at EMAG. But I want to own my own company someday." ME

"Young adults such as Rebekka are the future of our industry and prove that there is a place for highly skilled talent in manufacturing,"

Andrew Osborn

Age: 26

United Grinding North America

Miamisburg, OH

From the time he first tinkered with his grandparents' go-kart at age ten, Andrew Osborn probably knew he'd be an engineer one day.

Osborn today works as a product engineer at United Grinding North America (Miamisburg, OH), developing and supporting new solutions for the internal cylindrical grinding business. A fast study, Osborn's gotten rave reviews from his days at Miami University (Oxford, OH), where he earned his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering, and from his current work colleagues.

"At just 26 years old, Andrew already has a quite impressive manufacturing career," said Ted Neckel, United Grinding, director of corporate marketing, in his nomination of Osborn. "Having only been with United Grinding North America for a year, Andrew has proven to be an extremely dedicated and highly skilled individual. He has single-handedly paved the way for the company's internal cylindrical grinding business."

While four product engineers typically work within each grinding division, "Andrew is a 'one man band' who carries out all of the major responsibilities of his division," Neckel said, working with customers to increase their understanding of grinding technology.

Prior to hiring Andrew, the UG team was highly impressed with the work he did for his previous employers, Neckel said, especially his performance in the design and production of automotive ball joints, tie rods and control arms for aftermarket customers. "He handled the entire design and engineering process for this new product program from start to finish," Neckel said. "Such a feat requires someone who is highly organized and has an extraordinary multifaceted skill set-and this describes Andrew to a tee."

Osborn honed his passion for manufacturing in college, noted Neckel, adding key skills including advanced working knowledge of welding, CNC machine tools, CNC programming and a slew of other technical skills started while studying mechanical engineering at Miami University. "Andrew is a critical member of the United Grinding North America team, as his work and accomplishments have been transformative for the company," Neckel stated. "He is a shining example of what it means to be talented engineer and an excellent role model for encouraging a career in manufacturing."

For his senior capstone project at Miami, Osborn was a highly regarded member of the university's SAE Baja Team, an intercollegiate competition in which he was named suspension team leader, leading design and fabrication of off-road Baja vehicles for two competitions.

A Cincinnati native, Osborn credits his university for giving him a great foundation for his current work. "I think the biggest part of that is your independence in the machine shop," Osborn said. "There's such a huge gap behind theory and actually applying it in manufacturing." One of Miami's requirements is to take a project from the planning and design stage straight through manufacturing. "You do the entire project-from design, determining the funding for the project, and manufacturing," Osborn said. "We did an off-road machine that we raced in competitions in Alabama and in Rochester, NY."

As for the future, Osborn's excited to continue building UG's internal cylindrical grinding business, where he works with teams in Switzerland and develops products for US-based automotive and aerospace buyers. ME

"He is a shining example of what it means to be talented engineer and an excellent role model for encouraging a career in manufacturing."

Thomas J. Swistro

Age: 30

ebm-papst Inc.

Farmington, CT

An experienced welder and fabricator, Thomas J. ("TJ") Swistro, 30, recalls always being intrigued with making, fabricating and customizing products. After working as a welder to help pay his way through college, Swistro earned his BS degree in Industrial Technology at Central Connecticut State University. He's currently working on his MBA at the University of Hartford.

Today, Swistro is a manufacturing engineer for ebmpapst Inc., where he designs and develops custom tooling and fixtures for production at the manufacturer of electric fans and air movers. "Being able to make something totally new and unique or modify an existing item to increase its ability or efficiency has always been something I innately gravitate towards," Swistro said. "The idea that someone is willing to pay for a product that I had a part in creating is pretty awesome!"

While in college, Swistro's experience as a welderfabricator helped hone many of the hands-on skills he possesses, he said. "These skills combined with the theoretical knowledge I learned in school give me the ability to recognize problems and quickly and efficiently generate 'real-world' solutions for these issues. In my current role as a Manufacturing Engineer, this ability is crucial to maintain production quality, meet deadlines and provide a solution for the customer."

Swistro's hard work and dedication drew raves from ebm-papst Director of Operations Brian Ladegard, who recommended Swistro for 30 Under 30. "I have had the distinct pleasure of having TJ in my Engineering organization at ebm-papst Inc for the last five years. TJ is extremely hard working and motivated in his engineering duties at ebm," Ladegard said. "He displays a truly amazing amount of professionalism and poise for an engineer of his particular experience level. He is thoughtful and insightful and always strives to solve problems with a strong balance of applied engineering principles versus true cost considerations. This is, by definition, the key trait of the best and most effective engineers."

Swistro championed two of ebm-papst's primary production processes-deep drawing of large inlet cones and robotic welding of aluminum wheels, he noted, and has worked diligently to design and organize many new custom tool sets for the deep drawing process. "With each new one, we are able to in-source a new part and save considerable part costs and reduce part lead time. With our robotic welding cell, TJ was able to come up with a completely unique strategy for clamping and holding parts during the welding process to reduce and correct part variations."

Swistro has taken a rigorous class in welding inspection, Ladegard added, furthering his abilities and credentials, and passed a certification test to become a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI).

Swistro sees lots of potential for the industry. "I like the new technology that is developing. Fiber lasers, 3D printers and robotics are an example of how things that weren't possible yesterday are now possible today," he said. "The ability to make complex parts, especially at a production level, is becoming more viable every day.

"I feel very lucky to have the career that I have and to be a part of the team here at ebm-papst," Swistro added. "I plan to use that higher-level business education to secure a managerial role at ebm-papst...This will allow me to have in-depth knowledge of all the different aspects of a business while still using my engineering skill set to meet real world demands." ME

"The idea that someone is willing to pay for a product that I had a part in creating is pretty awesome!

Jeffrey Leone

Age: 27

Standadyne Corp.

Windsor, CT

A certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Jeffrey Leone, 27, has already had a highly varied career. He has worked in the recreational vehicle industry and in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, before moving to his position as a manufacturing engineer at the facility in Greenville, NC, of Stanadyne Corp. (Windsor, CT), a manufacturer of fuel pumps and filters. Leone credits his studies at the University of Dayton (Dayton, OH), where he earned his BS in Industrial Engineering Technology, for fostering skills needed in his manufacturing career.

''The college I went to definitely shaped me to become as successful as I have," Leone said. ''They have a unique engineering program that not only stresses academics but also hands-on application as well." The knowledge of engineering tools and functions made Dayton students very prominent, he noted, in procuring co-ops and internships.

While in college, Leone worked at the premium travel trailer manufacturer Airstream conducting lean manufacturing events and doing time studies as well as creating detailed CAD layouts for modifying plant layouts and other projects. As a contractor at Health-Mor, he did more CAD work and participated in a 5S lean event to optimize warehouse distribution, as well as other projects. Leone also worked as an engineering technology contractor for Hospira, a specialty pharmaceutical and medical delivery company, before joining Stanadyne.

Leone recalls being attracted early on by the prospect of building, fixing and assembling products. "As a kid I loved to build models, play with Legos, and help repair things when they broke," he said. "Later in life that translated over to building fixtures for the machines I work on or fix."

His work impresses both peers and colleagues, like Kevin Rowley, Southern Region manager, Cinetic Landis Corp. (Greer, NC), who recommended Leone for 30 Under 30. "He is a proactive problem solver," Rowley wrote in his recommendation letter. "He tackles things head on, possibly from his hockey playing background."

Becoming a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt at a young age, Leone "leads and trains five other associates at Stanadyne by the example of a great work ethic and takes on all challenges," Rowley said, noting his involvement on the Engineering Change Board. "He has expanded his role at Stanadyne to include not only all aspects of grinding, but parts washing and industrial chemicals used at the plant."

Leone said the diversity of experiences really prepared him for the challenges of manufacturing. "What I like the most about the manufacturing field so far is the ability to create, fabricate, and assemble many different things that eventually are used in society," he added.

In his current position, Leone said he likes being responsible for multiple machines, assisting multiple operators, and always looking for new ways to improve the current process.

"I work with many amazing people who help me with my projects because I am always there to help them when they need something," he said. "The working relationship with my operators is what truly makes implementing an improvement a lot smoother. With their help I am able to modify their machine, process, or work area to increase their productivity and quality."

Leone hopes to acquire his Six Sigma Black Belt and ASQ certification in the future, and eventually become a manufacturing manager or a plant manager. ME

"As a kid I loved to build models, play with Legos, and help repair things when they broke."

Harper Behrens Fry

Age: 21

Student, Wichita State University

Wichita, KS

For some 30 Under 30 honorÉes, the path to their degree or career wasn't always clear. After graduating from her alternative high school with honors at 16, Harper Behrens Fry wasn't exactly sure of her next step.

In high school, she had shown real potential in math and science and wanted to pursue an advanced degree, but she wasn't sure what she wanted to study. After spending a year at a community college, Harper decided to pursue mechanical engineering and transferred to Wichita State University. She chose mechanical engineering, she said, because of the potential the degree offered her.

"I see mechanical engineering as a very open field, and I wanted a more general engineering degree that would lead me to either design or to being more hands-on," she said. "It's given me more options for what I could do with my degree in a career setting."

She was encouraged by Ken Winder, a facilities equipment engineer with Spirit AeroSystems and a longtime family friend who nominated Harper. "Harper is a down-to-earth, hardworking and humble young woman who has shown great strides in advancing herself and others while being involved in the field of her studies," Winder wrote.

As part ofthat involvement, Harper is a library student assistant at WSU. This past academic year, she was an undergraduate research assistant with Dr. Donald Malzahn, an industrial and manufacturing engineering professor. In her position, Harper worked with him on revising and editing papers for publication. She also cites Dr. Malzahn as a mentor who encouraged her to pursue mechanical engineering.

"I was really excited when he approached me about the position," Harper said. "It really made me want to be more hands-on in my studies."

The 2013 academic year also had Harper working with her school's Robotic Implementation Group (RIG) to design a robotic drawing machine-a Computerized Numeric Controlled (CNC) machine that will draw with a marker. Using three motors, each running a single axis, the machine will draw any design that is uploaded to the software. The machine can move a marker up, down, and around a page, allowing it to draw almost anything.

The project also reinforced Harper's desire to study mechanical engineering. She sees it as a way of understanding various engineering processes, which she says is necessary no matter what field she ends up in.

"I designed this machine, but the result is nothing like what I designed," she said. "I think that's going to happen across the board in engineering, so I think understanding the manufacturing process is key."

In addition to the Robotics Implementation Group, Harper is a member of The Society of Women Engineers and a member of SWE's student chapter at Wichita State. This summer, she is interning full-time at Spirit AeroSystems in a quality engineering position. She's also working with her Robotics Implementation Group to start a summer outreach program to get kids interested in robotics and manufacturing. ME

"Harper is a down-to-earth, hardworking and humble young woman who has shown great strides in advancing herself and others while being involved in the field of her studies."

Kanesha Overton

Age: 22

Student, University of Oklahoma

Norman, OK

For Kanesha Overton, college wasn't always an option. Growing up in a low-income family in Washington, DC, college was a very distant dream, not only for Kanesha, but for her peers as well.

Most people, she said, never graduated from high school and typically worked in retail or the service industry. Today, she works to make sure that all students, especially those from low-income areas, know they have the power to be anything they want to be.

"There's nothing wrong with those jobs," Kanesha said. "But I think it's important to know that you have options, that college is indeed an option."

Kanesha cites her local chapter of the Boys & Girls Club of America as the place where she started to realize that college was her best choice in order to make a difference in her community. After talking with her mentor there, Marchlarina Davis, she began asking her high school teachers for advice to ensure she succeeded in college. During her junior year, Kanesha participated in a workshop hosted by Purdue University that introduced her to more rigorous STEM courses. After being educated about engineering coursework, she knew she wanted to be an engineer.

Kanesha chose to major in industrial and systems engineering because it combined engineering with the business aspects of the field. "I love engineering, but I also wanted to be business-sawy, so I chose a major where I could have the best of both worlds," she told Manufacturing Engineering.

Before she even began classes at the University of Oklahoma, Kanesha joined the university's Multicultural Engineering Program (MEP) and attended the AT&T Summer Bridge Program. This opportunity allowed her to build relationships with incoming minority engineering students, meet her future professors, and also work on group projects relevant to engineering.

As a member of MEP, which provides academic services for minority students pursuing engineering degrees, Kanesha currently works in the office as a student assistant and tutor coordinator, where many parents of her classmates comment on her knowledge and willingness to help. She previously tutored students in calculus, chemistry, and other industrial engineering courses. "Kanesha is a model tutor and student," wrote Lisa Morales, director of the MEP, and one of several people to nominate Kanesha.

In addition to the MEP, Kanesha mentors students at a local elementary school and volunteers weekly at the Center for Children and Families in Norman. "There are many qualities I admire about Kanesha," Morales wrote, "but her work ethic and perseverance to overcome adversity and succeed is what I love so much about her."

For Kanesha, volunteering is a labor of love. "I'm committed to helping others, no matter what it takes," she said.

Kanesha is also a member of several organizations, including OU's SME student chapter, the National Society of Black Engineers, the National Society of Women Engineers, the Black Student Association at OU, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

This summer, Kanesha has a supply chain management internship with Flalliburton. She plans to finish her last semester at OU this fall and graduate in December. Her ultimate career goal, she said, is to become the CEO of a manufacturing company that serves its community and the world.

I think it's important to know that you have options, that college is an option."

Brian Davis

Age: 24

Student, University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

For most students, education goes beyond the classroom. For Brian Davis, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Florida-Gainesville, education takes over his weekends, nights, and just about any free time he has.

"He always stays very late in the lab and comes to the lab over the weekends," wrote Dr. Yong Huang, a professor who nominated Brian. "You will not be surprised that you may spot him conducting research after midnight."

Brian belongs to a research group overseen by Dr. Huang at UF's Center for Manufacturing Innovation. Working with other graduate students, Brian works on projects related to innovative manufacturing and surface technologies. So far, Brian has worked on two projects: improving the cutting performance for titanium machining and an optimization process for 3D printed metallic structures.

Over the last academic year, Brian has made progress in understanding machining theory and applying ionic liquid-based minimum quality lubrication to improve the cutting performance of commercially pure titanium, Dr. Huang explained. The goal of the project was to cut costs, which Brian achieved by using a lubricant additive mixture instead of a pure lubricant. A report on Brian's findings has been submitted to Wear, an international journal on the science and technology of friction, lubrication and wear, for publication review.

Dr. Huang praised Brian's willingness to learn, pointing to his dedication to understanding ionic liquids. "Brian overcame the barrier in picking up his chemistry knowledge and successfully mastered the nature of ionic liquids through intensive reading."

But Brian is not satisfied with making contributions only in machining-he's interested in cutting costs for all manufacturing sectors. His current research project aims to address some critical machining challenges related to direct metal deposition (DMD) titanium alloy parts, which may eventually help enable broader adoption of 3D metal printing. This topic reflects his broader research goal of studying material behaviors related to the development of manufacturing processes.

Brian is also the safety officer of his research group. He maintains the laboratory and materials safety manuals, arranges laboratory renovations, and trains others on the lab's five-axis Mikron machining center.

"I really am blessed to have Brian be my student," Dr. Huang wrote.

When Brian finds free time on the weekends, he works on and races go-karts with his friends. While an undergraduate at the University of North Florida, Brian worked with his classmates to design and build a gokart using CAD and FEA software at the University of North Florida.

Brian expects to graduate in 2016. While he doesn't have a definite career in mind, he has a definite objective: to bring about a manufacturing renaissance. As he explained it, "the ultimate goal is to bring the state of manufacturing back to the US so that it's sustainable at a reasonable cost."

"Brian is highly self-motivated and clearly knows his career development plan-to be an entrepreneur in the area of advanced manufacturing and revive US manufacturing competitiveness," Dr. Huang wrote. "I am sure that UF and my group will be proud of his achievements in the future."

"Brian is highly self-motivated and clearly knows his career development plan-to be an entrepreneur in the area of advanced manufacturing and revive US manufacturing competitiveness."

Jennifer Kruger

Age: 27

Allmand Brothers

Hold rege, NE

Unlike most 30 Under 30 honorÉes, when Jennifer Kruger, 27, started her manufacturing career, she had no experience in manufacturing. But after working at Allmand Brothers as a front line assembly worker for six months, Jennifer was promoted to secondin-command on her assembly line. Another six months later, she had taken the lead assembly supervisor position. Now in her second year at Allmand, Jennifer finds her job as lead assembly supervisor very fulfilling.

"As a lead assembly supervisor, I find it very rewarding to help my team succeed and be the best they can be, and to help in any way they may need, to make their job easier," Jennifer said. "I motivate my team by trying to make it fun, exciting and challenging. I also try to always lead by example."

"Jennifer has embraced this new role with extreme passion," wrote Afton Hollertz, a continuous improvement engineer at Allmand who nominated Jennifer and is also a Manufacturing Engineering30 Under 30 honoree herself (2013). "Our customer demands drive her every day and she will do whatever it takes to make things happen."

Before working at Allmand, Jennifer had worked as a clerk at a local variety store. When her husband was sent overseas with the National Guard for a year, Jennifer stayed at home with their three daughters and started looking for work after her husband returned. She heard an advertisement on the radio that Allmand Brothers was hiring, and after asking her husband, who had worked at Allmand a few years ago for his advice, she decided to apply.

In her nomination letter, Afton wrote that Jennifer bridges the gap between veteran manufacturers and newcomers, and that her enthusiastic leadership style has improved performance on her team. Morale has improved dramatically on Jennifer's team, leading to a decrease in turnover rates and record highs in productivity. Product quality has also increased.

"Her peers describe her as dynamite, driven, consistent, and humble," Afton wrote. "I would describe her as inspirational. Jennifer is a prime example that anyone can be successful with little-to-no experience. Her passion and enthusiasm are contagious."

When not working at Allmand, Jennifer enjoys doing anything that involves a little time outdoorscamping, fishing, gardening, hunting and spending time with her family. She also volunteers with her husband's family readiness group for his National Guard Unit.

As for future career plans, Jennifer says she's content to lead her team and work on the line as needed, but she's keeping an open mind about her future. She encourages those without manufacturing experience or education to follow their dreams.

"Push yourself to be all you can be," Jennifer said. "Never give up on yourself, no matter how frustrating it is. Believe you can do it. I always say the word 'can't' is not in my vocabulary-I can do anything. Work hard towards your goal, even if nobody else believes you can do it." ME

Our customer demands drive her every day and she will do whatever it takes to make things happen."

Sean Humes

Age: 28

Choice Mold Components

Clinton Township, Ml

Sean Humes, a lifelong lover of all things computers, came to manufacturing for the technology. He stayed for the rewarding career that, he says, provides challenges, learning opportunities, and is "constantly engaging your brain."

Sean's path wasn't always clear. Sean's dad, James, is the owner of Choice Mold Components, a shop that specializes in both standard and custom mold and die components. Despite growing up around manufacturing, Sean wasn't sure he wanted to follow suit. He started out at Michigan State University hoping to go into the medical field, then changed majors to computer science. Eventually, he transferred to a school closer to home, and began spending more and more time at the shop, working mostly in the IT department. Something suddenly clicked.

"It just happens where manufacturing now is very heavily computer-aided, with CAD and CAM and all the programming and all the designing, and I kind of saw that transition," Sean said. "It really just started captivating my attention."

One of Sean's earliest accomplishments had a huge impact on Choice Mold. Initially, the shop was using software that only created 2D prints, and oftentimes, the dimensions would be inaccurate or the math wouldn't add up. For certain custom components with very tight tolerances, particularly for medical applications, this created a huge bottleneck. Dimensions would have to be verified with the customer, parts would be scrapped, and time and money wasted.

Since Sean had a background in computers, he was tasked with researching a solution. He knew the shop need to update its software to a program that could also create 3D models. He chose SolidWorks, and quickly learned and implemented the program. "It actually makes sure that everything is correct. You can't really make an incorrect part."

Once the shop implemented the new process, all of the delays went away-and Sean's dad has him to thank. "When I talked to my dad, he said that he would have never had done this had I not been here," said Sean. Sean's technology takeover didn't stop with SolidWorks, either-he installed GibbsCAM and CAMTOOL, and he updated and improved the entire network infrastructure, including the server that stores all of the shop's data. His next goal is to go wireless, so programs can be placed directly onto a machine.

However, Sean's achievements don't end in the IT department. After Choice Mold invested in a high-end CNC mill several years ago, Sean decided to learn every part of the process. "That was kind of the point where I said if I'm going to be a part of this, I want to know every side of it-all the machining, all the manufacturing, all the designing," said Sean, "so I pretty much just said I'm gonna dive in."

Foreman Steve Peltier, who nominated Sean, agrees that he can do it all. He wrote that Sean "can be asked to program, operate, run, or setup a machine...manage the server, network, or one of the many software, build a new computer or fix an existing one, update the website or one of the social links or advertising online, help train a new or existing employee...or help in sales."

Despite Sean's many accomplishments, he isn't done learning yet. He says there are still processes for him to master at Choice Mold, and he's optimistic about the shop's future and the economy. ME

"It just happens where manufacturing now is very heavily computer-aided, with CAD and CAM and all the programming and all the designing.... It really just started captivating my attention."

Andrew Steiner

Age: 27

Sandvik Coromant

Albany, NY

As a Territory Productivity Engineer for Sandvik Coromant, Andrew Steiner is responsible for bringing the latest in metalworking tools and tooling solutions to the job shop masses. And people like Andrew-knowledgeable sales engineers who are passionate about manufacturing-are essential to seamless communication and exchange of technologies between suppliers and machine shops.

Andrew covers the eastern New York area, and most of his time is spent onsite with clients, since he needs to be attuned to the fluctuating needs of different customers. "My role is to go in to any number of these customers and help them out on different applications where they might be struggling or they think they might be able to get better productivity or tool life," said Andrew. From there, he can recommend different tooling solutions and products to help the customer meet goals.

Andrew's manager, Aaron Petrosino, who nominated him, says that he "has an excellent background in helping people, both colleagues and customers, become more comfortable and fluent in digital approaches to manufacturing and communication. Andrew's team of colleagues and his customers benefit from this exchange of experiences: knowledge flows in both directions." Aaron also credits Andrew's previous work experiences in IT operations and consulting as keys to his success.

Despite his diverse resume, Andrew's passion has been engineering since his senior year in high school. He was required to do a semester-long internship, and he chose to work at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where his dad is a professor, in the various manufacturing labs. His interest in engineering was sparked in no small part by rapid prototyping, which he says he became "very fascinated" with during his internship.

That experience compelled Andrew to continue his education at RPI with a major in industrial and management engineering, a field that includes systems engineering, operations management, quality control, manufacturing processes and statistics. His main area of interest became operations, specifically productivity. That path led him to his roles as an IT Operations Manager and Consultant, before leading him back to the engineering industry again.

Now, Andrew's taking the opportunity to not only share his knowledge with customers and coworkers, but to become an ambassador for manufacturing among the next generation. While he was a student at RPI working in the labs, there were two summer programs for high school students who were interested in manufacturing. When Andrew began working at Sandvik, he remembered these camps, and reached out to offer his expertise. Andrew and Aaron put on presentations about manufacturing, specifically machining, and some machining demonstrations in the Haas Lab at RPI.

He's also a big believer in dispelling outdated notions about manufacturing. "I think there's an image about manufacturing today that fits older stereotypes," Andrew said, "and people aren't aware of how high-tech the work that we do is." Part of this change in perception, Andrew feels, needs to happen at the high school level.

"No one says go into trade school and become a machinist," Andrew said, but "there are tons of opportunities. It kind of bothers me that some people don't think that going in as a machinist is a valid occupation choice. Going into a program to become a machinist can provide opportunities comparable to those of someone coming out of engineering school." ME

"I think there's an image about manutacturing today that fits older stereotypes, and people aren't aware of how high-tech the work that we do is."

Michael Casey

Age: 24

Workshops for Warriors

San Diego, CA

Mike Casey spent five years serving his country as a Marine Infantryman. Now, he's part of another movement to help the United States-the effort to bring back manufacturing jobs.

After stepping on a pressure plate I ED while serving in Afghanistan, Mike spent time recovering at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. It was there that he first heard about Workshops for Warriors, a nonprofit organization that provides vocational training for manufacturing careers to returning, wounded, and disabled veterans. A friend of Mike's at the hospital had been through the program, located just down the street from the Medical Center.

Mike was intrigued. Initially, he planned to stay in the Marine Corps, but he had always been interested in engineering and the process of improving things, especially weapons, and he knew the skills he acquired in the Marines would serve him well in manufacturing. So, despite having no formal manufacturing or engineering experience, he changed course and arrived at Workshops for Warriors a month early to learn everything he could before classes started.

That decision certainly paid off. Since starting the program in June 2013, "Mike has been one of our top students," wrote Education Coordinator Long Huynh in her nomination letter. She credits his success to his hard work, dedication, and motivation to learn. In his short time with the program, Mike has earned 14 nationally recognized certifications, which include programming, setup, and operations of CNC mills, lathes, waterjets, lasers, and SolidWorks. In fact, Mike has been so successful that he is now a Teacher's Assistant for a beginning class-CNC Mill Setup Operations and Programming.

His next step is to become a certified Machining Instructor. "I've pretty much taken every machining class available," Mike says, "so I'm going to eventually instruct the machining classes. I'd like to instruct the programming class."

But Mike's ambition isn't limited to Workshops for Warriors. He already has his Associate's Degree under his belt, and is currently taking math and CAD classes at San Diego City College. He hopes to transfer to San Diego State University and earn a mechanical engineering degree. "I started taking classes while I was at the hospital," Mike said. "I was able to get all the general classes out of the way and right now I'm just finishing the required courses specific for engineering-math mostly."

Ultimately, after he receives his degree, he would like to work in the aerospace industry. But for now, he's "taking advantage of the area and all the transition opportunities" for veterans-a group whose skills, he says, he has complete confidence in.

"Being a veteran, I just have a lot of confidence in the ability of veterans," Mike said. "I think sometimes people think that those skills, infantry skills, don't translate to the civilian side, but I really feel that the skills and the character learned there can't be learned anywhere else and that they're valuable and applicable everywhere." ME

"With his hard work, dedication and motivation to learn, he earned over 14 multiple nationally recognized certifcations here at Workshops for Warriors.... He hopes to becoming a machining instructor."

Honorable Mentions

Derrin Barber

Age: 18


Fairfield, OH

Matthew Combs

Age: 19


Farmington Hills, Ml

Ralf Drauz

Age: 29

RWTH Aachen University

Aachen, Germany

Garrett Dunn

Age: 22

Michigan State University

East Lansing, Ml

Ivan Dusper

Age: 25

PCC Airfoils LLC

Mentor, OH

Jaclyn Eisenhauer

Age: 27


Miamisburg, OH

Eric Grenz

Age: 24

PCC Airfoils LLC

Mentor, OH

Swapnil Gupta

Age: 26

Sandvik Coromant

Schaumburg, iL

Larissa Hofmann

Age: 24

Edge Factor

Ontario, Canada

Josiah H. Johnson

Age: 23

University of Wisconsin Stout

Dululth, MN

Andrew Lawniczak

Age: 21

University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA

Blake Lawson

Age: 28


Sterling Heights, Ml

Martin Miglio

Age: 13


Chesterfield, Ml

Justin D. Morrow

Age: 26

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, Wl

Peter Panopoulos

Age: 25

New England Metal Finishing

Rindge, NH

Nicole Pelletier

Age: 22

University of Mass.

Dartmouth Eng.

North Dartmouth, MA

Sandra Rhee

Age: 19


Fullerton, CA

Tyler Rigby

Age: 19

Pennsylvania State University

Erie, PA

Kelsey A. Scheppers

Age: 19


Holts Summit, MO

Jonah Smith

Age: 28

Sandvik Coromant

Fair Lawn, NJ

Jose Sosa

Age: 25

Richard J. Daley College

Chicago, IL

Brad Stropes

Age: 27

SigmaTEK Systems LLC

Cincinnati, OH

Lance Thrailkill

Age: 30

All Metals Fabricating

Dallas, TX

Christopher Tyler

Age: 27

UNC Charlotte

Charlotte, NC

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

Source: Manufacturing Engineering

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