Alumni Insights

Mechanical Engineering

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Scott Miller (’00 grad)

  • Master of Science in Industrial Engineering, University of Pittsburgh
  • Mechanical Design Engineer, Lockheed Martin Space Systems

“PCC’s faculty are there for one reason—service. I remember spending countless hours working with my professors, one-on-one. On the contrary, public university faculty tend to prioritize their research and funding above teaching.” 

Daniel Corliss (’05 grad)

  • CAD Designer, Kenneth Horne and Associates
  • Certified EIT

“My daily responsibilities include drawing, and assisting in designing and permitting new construction. My favorite part about working in the engineering field is watching projects I have helped design being built. PCC’s program helped stretch my mind so I could deal with the everyday work of engineering. The key aspect of PCC’s training was the report writing and CAD training.”

JoshDoering

Josh Doering (’99 grad)

  • Senior Vice President, IEC Corporation, a multi-discipline engineering and consulting firm
  • Professional Engineer (CA, OR, WA, AK)

“I had the opportunity to be a part of building IEC from a two-person company to what it is today, with offices in Sacramento, Portland, and San Diego, and a client list that includes most of the major utilities on the west coast. My daily responsibilities include managing the day-to-day activities of the company's Portland (OR) office, developing new clients, and managing some of our larger design and/or consulting contracts. These contracts include projects such as the design of gas turbine power plants, development of wind turbine projects for utilities, designing substations, performing due diligence and feasibility studies, and providing construction management services to large utility projects. Many times utility clients will ask us to help them set up and manage projects with budgets of more than $400 million.

“PCC’s engineering program gave me the tools and confidence I needed to adapt quickly in the workplace. No engineer comes out of college knowing everything that is necessary for his work—no employer expects it either. What employers do expect is fertile ground that is prepped and ready for further instruction. That is what PCC provided.”

Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson (’90 grad)

  • Engineering Manager/Project Manager, PEDCO Engineering & Architecture Services
  • Professional Engineer (MI, IN, OH)

“In my current position, I have the opportunity to manage and hire engineers from many other well known universities. I feel that my overall education at PCC not only was equal to, but exceeded the education that is attained at other engineering programs at other universities. Engineering is all about applying the theory and concepts presented during your education to real world situations. I feel PCC provided the required critical-thinking education to prepare me, and others, to excel in the field. PCC provided the framework required for my present duties by teaching me how to think and research to stay up to date in my field.”

RobertRichards

Robert Richards (’00 grad)

  • Project Manager, Goetting and Associates engineering firm
  • Professional Engineer (TX)

“Our firm specializes in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) branch of mechanical engineering. I train younger mechanical EITs (engineers-in-training) in mechanical systems design. I enjoy teaching them basic HVAC design and helping them incorporate important principles and their own creative ideas into each system they design.

“PCC’s mechanical engineering program was invaluable to me. During my tenure at PCC, each professor taught me more than engineering principles that can be obtained at any secular university. Each professor personally involved themselves in teaching their students. They emphasized learning to think like an engineer. My professors continually encouraged me to be practical, be creative, and be diligent. Most importantly, they always reminded me to give God the glory. They also incorporated their own personal engineering experiences, which helped me understand the realities and challenges that I would encounter in my engineering career. Each class was challenging, yet each professor was devoted to helping me overcome those challenges.”

Jason Phipps

Jason Phipps (’00 grad)

  • Mechanical Engineer, OWPR Architects and Engineers
  • Professional Engineer (VA); LEED certified

“I coordinate the HVAC system with contractors, owners, and interdisciplinary engineers and architects from preliminary design through completed construction of the project. I design HVAC systems to meet the latest code and energy requirements.

“I left a large Virginia state university to attend PCC, and found my engineering knowledge equaled or even exceeded what I had previously been taught, mainly due to godly teaching standards and close relationships with peers and professors alike. PCC helped me avoid compromise in my workplace and choose not to climb the ladder of success man’s way.”

Stephanie Wind

Stephanie Wind (’10 grad)
Development Engineer, Weatherford International

“As a development engineer, I develop new concepts/tools that will be used when cementing a casing or liner string. Each tool is set up as a project, and as an engineer, I typically manage –35 projects at a time. I manage a project from the start when the design requirements for the tool are established to the time it’s moved into production. Projects take a lot of time and energy to complete, and issues such as manufacturing delays or failing a lab test can quickly put a project behind schedule. It’s always exciting to finish a project, and it’s even more exciting when you have the satisfaction of completing it on time.

“The training I received at PCC helped me to see the importance of being professional, technically accurate, and timely. All three are necessary to succeed. Writing thorough and professional lab reports, delivering clear and concise presentations in a business format, and leading and participating in peer design reviews are skills that I use on a routine basis.

“Within the last 2½ years, I have had tools run in Malaysia, Thailand, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with engineers from all over the world. [It is fulfilling to see] a tool successfully pass testing and be moved into production for worldwide use.”

Rich Rowe (’91 grad)

  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Penn State University
  • Operations Supervisor/Licensed Senior Reactor Operator, Exelon Nuclear Corporation
  • Licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

“I work in what is perhaps the most complex engineering facility ever devised. I work with highly intelligent people, and I am entrusted with a grave responsibility. I principally work in the Main Control Room of a two-reactor nuclear generating station, which generates approximately 2,500 Megawatts of electricity, enough to power over 2 million homes. I direct normal plant operations and maintenance. My primary license responsibility is to protect the health and safety of the public. I also direct the refueling of each of the reactors on a periodic basis. Having been trained in the fundamentals of nuclear fission and seeing it in action on a daily basis truly gives me an appreciation for God's handiwork.

“PCC thoroughly prepared me for my following graduate studies. It laid the foundation upon which all my further training was built. The classes that have been the most fundamental to my current field were thermodynamics and fluid mechanics.

“Upon graduation from PCC, I applied to Penn State University for graduate school and was accepted. My studies focused on automatic control systems and robotics, and my research focused on artificial intelligence applied to robotic manipulators. While at Penn State, I interviewed with the 4-star Admiral in charge of the Navy nuclear program in Washington, D.C. It was actually a series of interviews which were essentially a cumulative oral final exam covering any class in my undergraduate and graduate transcripts. Many intelligent grads from distinguished institutions also interviewed; not everybody was accepted.

“After Penn State, I went to Officer Candidate School where I earned my commission. I then attended two years of intensive nuclear training and submarine school. More highly qualified students did not successfully complete the program. I subsequently served on two nuclear fast-attack submarines. I did a tour as an instructor at a nuclear operations training facility and a tour at U.S. Strategic Command planning Tomahawk cruise missile missions. I then separated from the Navy and was hired by Exelon Nuclear (the largest nuclear corporation in the U.S. and the third largest in the world). License training was 2 years in length and was very intense. Less than half the class finished successfully. All were highly qualified and highly trained just to be admitted into the program.”

JonathanRose

Jonathan Rose (’08 grad)
Mechanical Engineer, Rockwell Collins

“At Rockwell Collins, I aid in the design and testing of radios for military aircraft. I troubleshoot issues that may occur when building and testing the radios, and run tests to ensure the radios will survive the environments they will be in. I enjoy having a hands-on job and seeing something I have designed on the computer being built in real life. PCC taught me how to work hard, and provided me with a good technical base to work from.”

Shane Elwart

Shane Elwart (’98 grad)

  • Vehicle Controls Subject Matter Expert, Ford Motor Company
  • Inventor on 17 issued patents; 37 patent applications
  • Published paper on advanced emissions control through the Society of Automotive Engineering

“I design, plan, and resolve vehicle control issues for Ford’s current and future production vehicles. I have spent the last couple of years developing a global control vehicle architecture and controls system, which will be part of every vehicle that Ford manufactures, regardless of engine/motor type, transmission, driver interface, instrument cluster, braking and chassis control systems, electrical, and a variety of hybrid powertrain variations.

“PCC helped prepare me in many ways, and the focus on the Lord was key. The classes helped broaden my field of capability, and all of the teachers were great. My favorite engineering memories were from the design contest each year.”

Brian Ott (’91 grad)

  • Owner/Engineer, BNO
  • Consulting Professional Engineer (NJ)

“At PCC, my course schedule and daily student life built discipline into my life.  That discipline has allowed me to manage my own business, where I am responsible for all work, every client relationship, and meeting every deadline personally.

“I design renewable energy systems such as solar and biomass, and I assist companies and churches in reducing their utility use.  God led me through several positions with large energy firms, all of which dealt with the conservation of energy.  The experience I gained at each company has enabled me to consult independently for the past 8 years.”

JeffDavis

Jeff Davis (’91 grad)
Owner/Engineer, Davis Design and Consulting

“I have worked in engineering my entire career, and have owned and operated a successful engineering design company for about 10 years. PCC’s engineering program taught me the importance of personal and professional growth and integrity, and gave me the math, science, computer, and engineering skills to be an effective and creative engineering problem solver. The strong focus on core math and science skills, and the exposure to a broad range of engineering subjects, is the key training I received at PCC.”

Stephen Wiemero (’03 grad)
Product Test Engineer, Ford Motor Company

“As a product test engineer, I am responsible for axle durability and efficiency testing. The Design Engineers send me their components and I put them to the test. I use dynamometers to simulate conditions that represent real-world or worse-than-real-world events that our axles will face. The usual end result is a bucket of metal and a pile of data. It gets fun at this point because I become a detective and analyze that data to figure out what happened. It is a very hands-on, involved job.

“My job requires a broad scope of knowledge and skills. On a daily basis, I have to employ knowledge from several different engineering disciplines, including mechanical, electrical, controls, computer programming, and project management. My education at PCC gave me the foundational knowledge that I needed to work in this demanding environment.”

Nathan Chancy (’99 grad)

  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, University of Florida
  • Stress Analyst for Spirit Aerosystems; Licensed Professional Engineer

“PCC’s Mechanical Engineering program was my first introduction to what the field of engineering was all about. It’s hard to believe now, but I had very little idea what classes like Mechanics, Statics, and Thermodynamics were all about when I first enrolled. The challenges in those classes, and my determination to rise to meet them, gave me a level of confidence where I believed I could be competitive and productive in any work or school environment. At PCC, I realized that I could learn even the most complicated of subjects.”

S. Brooke Farrington (’97 grad)
Sr. Mechanical Engineer, Rockwell Collins

“I work in the Government Systems side of Rockwell Collins, where we get the opportunity to enhance our country’s defense by working on various military products. I am part of a mechanical engineering group that designs, analyzes, develops, and tests black box type packages for electronics. I have had the opportunity to work on products that enhance our Ballistic Missile Defense, ground-to-air communications, and GPS navigation systems. I not only get to design and develop an idea, but I also get to take part in the build and test of that idea. The biggest reward is the sense of patriotism I feel from working on government projects that assist our soldiers and protect our country. I have had many achievements on the job, but none that I can share due to government security.

“PCC’s engineering courses were all major contributors to what I do day by day at my job, but the Bible courses gave me the firm foundation I needed to work in a secular environment as a Christian who just happens to be a mechanical engineer. PCC instills a strong work ethic, not only in the classroom, but also in the on-campus work program. I also enhanced my people skills through my collegian activities and speech classes.”

TimothyReeves

Timothy Reeves (’05 grad)

  • Graduate Research Assistant/Ph.D. student, Clemson University
  • Previously a Mechanical Project Engineer, ThyssenKrupp Waupaca

“At Clemson, I am developing a computational material model for sand for the simulation of lunar vehicle wheels in lunar soil. I enjoy learning about the created world, overcoming intellectual challenges, and making life better for people. Starting in August, my graduate studies and living costs will be completely funded by the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium graduate Student Research Program Fellowship.

“I arrived in graduate school with an overall grasp on engineering principles at least equal to the grasp of my peers who graduated from state schools.”

Steve Simmermaker

Steve Simmermaker (’08 grad)
Engineer/Project Manager, Thompson Power Systems

Steve recently completed a major project for ThyssenKrupp Steel, developing and designing a system of backup generators to protect expensive equipment and materials.

“My main responsibility with Thompson Power Systems is to manage projects, which includes developing project-specific drawings, designing solutions to meet customer’s demands, and providing on-site technical support.

“PCC’s engineering program taught me the scientific fundamentals, how and where to find answers, and how to do my work under pressure. The design classes explored far more than just the fundamentals, reaching into the areas of unusual site problems, safety codes, deadlines, etc.”

Ken Harkness (’03 grad)
Structural Engineer, David Norris Engineering

“I design and engineer carports, screen rooms, glass rooms, and pool cages, working mainly with aluminum. We provide signed and sealed drawings in order to pull a construction permit. I often deal with building officials and field inspectors about issues that come up in the field. The most rewarding part of engineering is being able to help others by giving them a good job in a timely manner, and even being able to save them some money and heartache at the same time.

“PCC’s training has equipped me to do everything with excellence. During my time at PCC, I enjoyed what I learned from all my classes.”

Mike Anderson

Mechanical engineering grad Brian DeFord (’90, AZ) is a Senior Mechanical Design Engineer with Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer. He helps develop new technologies that enable Intel to test next-generation products, primarily Central Processing Units (CPUs)—the brains of personal computers, workstations, servers, and mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, and smart phones.

Brian said, “I am fortunate to work in a technology development group, so I get to work with the latest technology products that are still 2–3 years away from going into consumer products. It is exciting to see the advancements we make in producing smaller, faster, and less expensive products on a continual basis.

“I’ve been at Intel since 1990, and have had the opportunity to perform many roles, from doing classified work with one of our nation’s security agencies while part of Intel’s military division, managing a design engineering group, designing a critical component that is found in almost all computers today, to my current role in research and development engineering.

“I was well prepared for my field because I had practical, hands-on experience designing and testing through the many labs and project teams I was involved in at PCC. This is critical in an environment such as mine, because book knowledge can only take you so far. You must be able to put to practical use the things you learn, and employers are looking for that experience even in new college graduates.

“Discipline and planning become invaluable when your job involves inventing new technologies that have never been tried or thought of before and ensuring they will work flawlessly when needed. These are character traits that are well ingrained at PCC and continue to be core values in my profession.”