Future 30: Meeting the next challenges
Manufacturing's future is in the hands of people like the 2010 Future 30 honorees. That's good news for manufacturing.
By Bob Vavra, Content Manager
The 2010 Future 30 honorees
Christopher Burrell, 35
Lead Systems Mechanical Engineer, General Dynamics C4 Systems
- Years in Company: 1.5
Christopher’s contributions: “Christopher Burrell serves a vital cross functional role at General Dynamics C4 Systems. He started his career as a manufacturing engineer in our high reliability space products division and later as a mechanical design engineer.”
Kevin Butler, 36
Manufacturing Manager, Treatt USA
- Years in Company: 5
Kevin’s contributions: “During a period of significant change we depended heavily on Kevin for the execution of daily operations in the absence of a Plant Manager, as he performed the duties of Plant Engineer and Manufacturing Manager. He met the challenge graciously,” said Craig Shipman, Butler’s supervisor at Treatt USA.
Why a career in manufacturiong? “I began working in manufacturing at a young age, 16. Since that time I always planned on a career in manufacturing as it provided me with great satisfaction to see a tangible product manufactured and delivered to a customer. The experience was instrumental in preparing me for my Chemical Engineering degree from Auburn University.
”One of my core values is to contribute to society by producing something tangible that improves quality of life. Manufacturing allows me to deliver this contribution as well as gain a sense of personal accomplishment by seeing my efforts turn into a useful product.”
Vivian Chau, 33
Simulation and Decision Support Engineer, Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.
- Years in Company: 5
Education: Penn State, Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering, 2010
Why a career in manufacturing? “In manufacturing, there are always opportunities for continuous improvement from factory operations to business operations. I can see things actually happen in the area where things are being built. With a constantly changing environment, there will always be new challenges. I am exposed to a broader job base and a variety of assignments, so my job is always changing. In other words, it provides new learning opportunities and room to grow my career.
“I am intrigued by the variety of challenges that simulation and decision engineering involves, so I decided to pursue an advanced degree where I could advance myself in this area and at the same time hopefully provide a motivation model to my kids.
“To accomplish this goal, I needed a combination of background skills, knowledge in math, analytical thinking, project management, requirements engineering, simulation/modeling and risk and decision analyses, problem solving, systems optimization, etc.
“Being a single mother of three and working a full-time job, I needed an engineering program that was flexible enough for my needs, and a university with a good reputation. Penn State has one of the best engineering programs in the U.S. and was a perfect match for what I needed. It also covered all the areas that I needed to build upon, and the timing was perfect.
“A career in manufacturing exposes you to both the manufacturing and the business side and provides more freedom in career growth, more opportunity to learn and challenging work on a variety of projects. I think that’s what makes life interesting.”
Frank Diez, 28
Apprentice Mechanic, Gallo Glass
- Education Several maintenance tech classes at local junior college.
Frank’s contributions: “Frank Diez was meant to be a mechanic,” said Kevin Grossman, Diez’s supervisor at Gallo Glass. “He has been tearing apart and fixing mechanical systems (or toys) since he was a child. Before Gallo Glass he worked in an auto body shop. He has a very strong mechanical aptitude and is able to readily apply it.”
Why a career in manufacturing? “I wanted to get a job in manufacturing so I could become a maintenance mechanic or electrician, being a mechanic runs in my family. I’ve always liked tearing things apart and seeing why things work the way they do. I get a sense of accomplishment knowing that something I’ve fixed or rebuilt is working properly.”