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Mechanical and industrial engineers draw on an array of fields and skill sets to succeed.
From designing highly refined machines to ensuring that processes run smoothly, careers in mechanical and industrial engineering touch a broad array of fields and products.
While they aren’t among the most popular or talked-about engineering fields, both are in demand as the fields requiring this kind of interdisciplinary expertise continue to shift and expand.
Here five professionals in mechanical and industrial engineering talk about their roles and what makes these engineering fields worth pursuing.
Garcia-Moreno Advances National Security Technologies via Honeywell
It was the chance to contribute to national security that sealed the deal for Francisco Garcia-Moreno.
Garcia-Moreno is a mechanical process engineer specializing in metal additive manufacturing at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Kansas City (MO) National Security Campus, which is managed by Honeywell.
“What drew me to mechanical engineering was my passion to help design better parts for cars,” the mechanical engineer III says. “When I had the opportunity to join Honeywell to better understand manufacturing and contribute to the national security mission, the decision was simple. “
In his role Garcia-Moreno develops digital manufacturing and 3D-printing processes to advance national security technologies. He recently helped design and build a fixture for machining using metal additive manufacturing.
“It was great to collaborate with other process and mechanical engineers to develop a solution that was more ergonomic, and was faster and cheaper to produce,” he says.
While attending the University of Missouri, Kansas City, Garcia-Moreno was fortunate to have a professor who introduced him to Honeywell. “I’ve been with the company for seven years, and I find myself eager to go to work every day to learn and develop,” he shares.
“What I enjoy most about my job is collaborating with other great engineers, and working together on our specific areas of expertise to think big and then make it happen.”
What makes Honeywell a great place to work, he adds, is that the company hires innovators and values diversity. Employees are encouraged to extend their passion outside work and into the community by teaching STEM to students and attending recruiting events. For instance, this past summer Garcia-Moreno was invited to a local middle school to share his story of becoming an engineer in a bilingual setting.
Because putting yourself out there for the world to evaluate and being ready to accept direct feedback can be challenging, Garcia-Moreno advises others to talk to their mentors and solicit advice on their resumes. “To become your best, it’s very important receive feedback with open ears and without judgment. After all, mentors want to help you succeed,” he says.
Garcia-Moreno also encourages young engineers to “work on what inspires you.”
He continues: “Expanding on becoming a good 3D modeler or taking an extra course in welding, for example, will expand your vision of possibilities. This will not only add to your skill set, but it will also connect you with new subject matter experts who can help you find a job in the future.”
Find career opportunities with Charlotte, NC-headquartered Honeywell at honeywell.com/en-us/careers. Connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
Hoynak Engineers Building Efficiency for DOE
Jennifer Hoynak, PE wants to keep U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) buildings running efficiently.
As part of a group responsible for the DOE’s headquarters facilities, Hoynak, a mechanical engineer, manages capital projects to make sure DOE’s mechanical infrastructure and equipment are modernized and operating at their best, among other duties. She’s presently completing a series of projects to replace 14 different building heating systems.
“We started by studying the existing systems and examining what they were capable of performing compared to the building’s needs,” she says.
“The recommendations from the study I managed have led to different design and construction projects to install systems that meet the building’s current and future needs for heating.”
Growing up, Hoynak was always interested in math, science and problem-solving, and was repeatedly told she’d be a good engineer. “By the time I went to college, my mind was made up that engineering was the major and career choice for me,” she says.
With DOE for six years, Hoynak was drawn to the agency for its mission. “Our mission is heavily focused on STEM initiatives with a wide range of jobs and opportunities to grow professionally as an engineer.”
She enjoys that each day is different, with a new challenge, and she also appreciates the chance to work for an organization that helps “to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.”
“Within my office, we get to work with and support all of the DOE programs at the headquarters facilities, which touch on everything from nuclear security to energy forecasts to innovative fossil fuel and renewable energy technologies,” elaborates Hoynak.
“It’s great to know the work you’re doing every day is supporting such a wide variety of initiatives for the country’s energy mission.”
To succeed as an engineer, Hoynak shares advice she received from a supervisor her first year out of college: get out the office to find out what’s really going on.
“He stressed the need to leave your desk to gain information that cannot be obtained from computer data and written reports. [In other words] visit technicians and their supervisors to ask questions and gain a better understanding of engineering’s interaction with other departments,” she explains.
“As a result, I’ve spent less time at my desk analyzing and more time in the field gaining first-hand experience to improve my engineering analyses.”
The ability to communicate with other technical and non-technical personnel is critical as an engineer, too.
“Being able to clearly communicate technical information to a non-technical audience is a trait that can set you apart from others in the field of engineering.”
Find career opportunities with Washington, DC-headquartered DOE at energy.gov/jobs/jobs. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Carpio Melds Engineering & Creativity in Her Work with Combat Vehicles at BAE Systems
As the daughter of a mechanic, BAE Systems’ Jackie Carpio has always been fascinated with how things work. But she also loved being creative and artistic, and when she learned she could merge creativity with mechanics as a mechanical engineer, she was in.
Carpio is a principal mechanical engineer at BAE Systems, working in the combat vehicles business area. She works within the mobility group to integrate powertrain systems like engines and engine accessories into tracked military combat vehicles.
She recently worked on a test plan to help validate cooling analysis predictions. “By conducting the test, we were able to compare the analysis predictions to actual data values, and evaluate the level of confidence moving forward with our plan,” she says.
With the company since September 2007, it was a call from a BAE Systems recruiter who saw Carpio’s resume online that initially introduced her to the company.
“Between the initial phone interview and the subsequent in-person interview, I researched the company’s products, customers and mission. I was very impressed by BAE Systems!” she enthusiastically recalls.
“The company lined up well with my career ambitions - a global company with plenty of room for growth and a mission I could get behind, designing products to equip and protect our men and women in uniform.”
Carpio enjoys working with various engineering disciplines and functions in her role.
“As a powertrain engineer, I need to integrate with electrical and software, while maintaining considerations for structures, safety, human factors, maintainability, and reliability.”
She also appreciates how her role has allowed her the chance to collaborate with different functions and travel across the world to work with foreign suppliers. BAE Systems also offers educational and professional advancement, personal development via employee resource groups, community outreach and more.
In fact, Carpio is president of the Hispanic Organization for Leadership Advancement (HOLA) employee resource group, which provides leadership development resources to its members to promote a more diverse workforce and celebrates employees’ diverse cultural backgrounds.
To succeed in engineering, Carpio notes that engineering is a thinking process, not just learning facts and equations.
“Being able to assess a problem and understand how to approach it is critical. In the real world, engineers will not always receive all of the information up front, so making decisions based on sound information is important.”
She adds that one should be aware of the different opportunities available for development and strive to always keep improving. Networking and being prepared for when opportunities arise are also key.
Find career opportunities with Arlington, VA-headquartered BAE Systems at jobs.baesystems.com/global/en. Connect on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Glassdoor.
Nahata Is Drawn to ASML for Its Fascinating, Interdisciplinary Work in Lithography
For Sudhanshu Nahata, Ph.D., the parts are as important as the whole.
Nahata is a mechanical design engineer with ASML, designing and developing new parts and components for a sophisticated mechatronics system.
“I contribute toward the development of a machine that’s going to touch everyone’s lives and have a huge positive impact on advancements within our society. This is incredibly rewarding,” explains Nahata.
“In my case I play a role in designing lithography machines that are used to print computer chips. These machines are the size of a city bus, contain more than 50,000 components, sensors, programs, and parts, and require two separate 747 flights to ship.”
Nahata was drawn to the field for its interdisciplinary nature. “Mechanical engineering combines mechanics, materials, robotics, manufacturing, reliability, data analytics, etc.,” he says. “It touches almost every field to provide solutions.”
It was his fascination with ASML’s technology that drew him to the company, where’s he’s been now for 14 months. And as a graduate student, he was invited to the company’s headquarters for a three-day recruitment event that explained ASML technology, how it helps make computer chips faster, smaller, and cheaper, and how it works with others to solve design problems.
“The design problems were so extreme and challenging, we could only solve the problem by collaboratively applying everyone’s expertise, “ he recalls, adding that, “in fact, the nature of our work is so challenging that ASML is the only company in the world to attempt to make it a reality.”
As one of his mentors advised him, Nahata recommends reading technical articles: “Reading makes you aware of the latest developments in the field, and how people have approached them, and it eventually helps you develop new ideas.”
Along the same line, don’t be afraid to think about problems from completely different approaches, he adds. “If you think you should use a bolt to join two pieces of metal, consider the total opposite, like using glue or welding. This helps ensure you consider a variety of different approaches in a short amount of time to reach a solution faster.”
In addition to contributing toward the development of a machine that will have a huge impact on advancements in society, Nahata is contributing to positive advancements in the manufacturing workforce.
In fact, Nahata is recent recipient of the 2019 Dave Dornfeld Manufacturing Vision Award from the North American Manufacturing Research Institution of SME (NAMRI/SME), which he received for his idea to develop innovative gamification training programs to change people’s perceptions about manufacturing and address the significant talent pool deficit, which will be about 2.4 million job vacancies in the next 10 years.
“There are a lot of manufacturing jobs in the U.S., but they require a higher level of skill than in the past,” notes Nahata. “Meanwhile, there are a lot of unemployed and underemployed people who may be capable of performing these functions, but do not yet have the skills and aren’t aware of these job opportunities.”
His idea to help with this was to capitalize on the gaming craze by creating games that requires similar skills sets. Players learn skills applicable to a manufacturing job while the game collects data and uses that data to target high performers for direct recruiting.
Find career opportunities with ASML - which has global headquarters in The Netherlands and has offices all over the world including the U.S. - at asml.com/en/careers. Connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Glassdoor.
DeLong Samalik Makes a Difference at GE Healthcare
Michelle DeLong Samalik loves that she gets to make a difference in the world.
DeLong Samalik is a CT mechanical engineer for GE Healthcare, designing hardware for the company’s CT scanners. While she works on many different parts of the system, her main passion is in thermals.
“You get the chance to make a difference in the world,” says DeLong Samalik about her work. “When I was little, I always thought you had to be in the medical field, like a doctor or a nurse, to help people. I love that I can do what I love, math and science, and still help millions of people.”
Growing up, DeLong Samalik loved figuring out how things worked. “When I started thinking about what I wanted to do after high school, I was really not sure. My mother, an engineer herself, suggested mechanical engineering. I decided to give it a shot and fell in love!” she enthusiastically remembers.
When DeLong Samalik learned about GE Healthcare in college, it was exactly what she was seeking: “It was my dream company! I had the opportunity to work on medical systems that would help millions of people, and I’d be able to leverage my skill sets in the STEM field.”
She did three summer internships at GE Healthcare while in college, later becoming a full-time employee. She’s now been there for just more than two years.
What DeLong Samalik enjoys most about her job is that every day is different.
“It’s so fun to have a job where you don’t know where the day will take you,” she shares. “You may be doing analyses on the computer, or in the lab taking a system apart, or a little of both! It’s always something new, and you’re constantly learning in an ever-changing environment.”
As for the company itself, DeLong Samalik loves that it’s not only making a difference in the world, but it’s also making a difference in the lives of its employees.
“I also love how invested people are in developing the next generation of talent,” she adds. “Everyone is so eager to help you develop and be successful in your career.”
To grow in your career, DeLong Samalik advises reacting appropriately to your mistakes.
“It’s not the mistakes you make, but how you react to them,” she says. “Own up to them, learn from them and move on.”
She also recommends being a sponge, being humble and giving back. As she explains: “I spent a lot of time - and still do! - absorbing knowledge from the other engineers I work with. Don’t be afraid to ask all of your questions, and ask again when it doesn’t make sense the first time.”
She continues about being humble: “Some things you’re asked to do might not be as exciting as others. Remember that there’s always something to be learned from even the most mundane tasks.”
And she adds about giving back: “People took the time and energy to invest in your success. Do the same when you can….Pay it forward, even if it’s just a smile and saying, ‘Have a great day.’ Those things go farther than you realize.”
Find career opportunities with Chicago, IL-headquartered GE Healthcare at jobs.gecareers.com/global/en/ge-healthcare. Connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
How Much Does a Mechanical/Industrial Engineer Make?
The national average salary for a mechanical/industrial engineer is $73,811 in the U.S. Average additional cash compensation, which includes cash bonus, commission, tips and profit-sharing, is $3,780, with a range of $1,253 to $12,885.
Job Growth for Industrial & Mechanical Engineers
Employment of industrial engineers is projected to grow 8% through 2028, faster than the average for all occupations, while employment of mechanical engineers is projected to grow 4% through 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Responsibilities of Mechanical Engineers vs. Industrial Engineers
Mechanical and industrial engineers utilize a deep understanding of mathematics, physics, and analysis to develop machines and systems. The former specializes in thermodynamics, combustion and electricity to make complex machines. The latter focuses on designing workflow and making production efficient. Additionally, professionals in both careers may work on teams during the planning stage, along with other engineers and designers.
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