Leader Under 40: Brady Melchior
President, Rugid Computer Inc. – BS Electrical Engineering, University of Washington
Brady Melchior, 30
President, Rugid Computer Inc., www.rugidcomputer.com
BS Electrical Engineering, University of Washington
Melchior works for a small company that has designed and manufactured industrial data acquisition and control equipment for 25 years. He was involved throughout the product concept, design, development, and production for the WiSI, and was the team leader. Melchior was responsible for the hardware and embedded software design and development. With a small team, the project, from concept to production, took about a year and a half. WiSI, a wireless sensor interface, is an “all-in-one radio, IP67 rated outdoor/weather-proof data acquisition and control device designed for rapid deployment.” One model “includes an integrated solar panel and super capacitor energy storage, which provides the functionality that previously required an RTU, radio, battery, enclosure, antenna, solar panel, and solar regulator. I am very proud to have had such a major role in the development,” said Melchior.
Melchior plays soccer year-round on an open league co-ed soccer team and on an over-30 co-ed soccer team. Each team plays weekly; he enjoys the exercise and the social aspect of being a part of a team and group sport.
About a year and a half ago, Melchior purchased two forklifts at auction to repair and resell. During his free time, he has fixed various components, including electrical wiring, the hydraulic transmission, and propane fuel system. He has found hands-on mechanical engineering to be a stimulating distraction from normal workday activities.
While working at Lockheed Martin, Melchior volunteered as a part of a group of young engineers who mentored a “Learning for Life” group called Exploring, a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America. Exploring is a worksite-based program that usually focuses on one career field, in this case, mentoring and promoting interest in engineering to the teenage youth. Melchior found his involvement with this program to be extremely rewarding.
During his youth, Melchior was always close to animals, as evidenced his by involvement with the Future Farmers of America, raising and showing sheep and pigs. During adulthood, he has focused a large portion of his spare time raising and training two purebred German shepherds.
At Lockheed Martin, he was part of a team developing a new lithium-ion battery for space vehicles. As a member of a small team of software writers, he helped write the software to control the balance of charging of a bank of lithium-ion battery cells. Melchior’s background in college was embedded design, making for an easy transition to his current role in designing products for industrial data acquisition and control.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.