Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Next Chapter (Or Two)

So for the last year or so, I've been trying to decide weather or not I really want to be a Mechanical Engineer. I competed for two years in a robotics competition, and I loved it! My main question was "Is what I did while competing going to be only a minor part of an actual engineering career?" I've been praying about it, and looking for an internship, or an engineer that I could shadow for awhile. I wasn't having much success, as I hadn't found any, so I basically decided that for this fall, I was going to take a class or two at our community collage, and do some heavy studying at home. But the Lord had other things in store for me. One day, a Thursday if I remember correctly, after Dad came home from work, he and Mom went out on the front porch to talk, and wouldn't let any of us listen. In walking by (maybe a little more slowly then normal) I heard my name come up, as well as Ross's, and Gene Parunak's, one of Ross's friends back in Michigan. I knew that something was up, because after "The Meeting" neither one of them would say anything! It was sheer torture! Dad said that he would fill us in sunday afternoon. 
That was a long weekend.
Sunday evening finally rolled around, and not a minute too soon. Dad called me out to the back deck, and handed me a piece of paper. It was an offer to intern with Gene Parunak at his company: In2Being!!! I had heard before that he helped people with medical device development, but I never really gave it much thought for a couple of reasons. One is that medical engineering didn't really catch my fancy, and that I wanted to be actually working on a product, not just giving advice, as I thought Gene did. Boy was I in for a surprise. After talking with Mom and Dad, I gave Gene a call to get more information, and we talked for an hour or so about the various aspects of what I'd be doing back in Michigan (that's where he lives), and how many hours I would be working a week, Etc. I also found out  that, should I accept, I'd be leaving that Friday. My first (or maybe second) thought when I heard this was "Phooey, that Means I'm going to miss Fiesta night." But I put that behind me and took the job! The next four days were a flurry of activity, buying my first suit, getting new shoes, and packing.

My flight was rather uneventful, for which I'm thankful, and Ross and Gene picked me up at the Detroit airport at 10 they're time on Friday. The next morning, after a plate of only slightly overdone eggs at my bro's house, people started arriving for bible study, which Ross was hosting. That went for about an hour, and then Gene and I went to his office so that he could get me up to snuff on his business, and sign the employment papers. We talked for several hours and looked at designs that he was working on for his clients. At lunch, his wife brought the family over, as well as enough Pizza to feed us all!
But enough of me rattling on. To the trip!

I spent sunday night at Genes house, so that we could get an early start the next morning. We got on the road at about 9am (hey, that's what happens when you have a bunch of kids, as he does) and I drove the first 5 hours, after which we stopped for lunch, and then Gene finished off the last half hour of driving through Chicago to get to the McCormick Place Expo Center. We set the booth up and then headed off for our hotel, which was (thankfully) bed-bug free!
The next three days were a whirl of activity, not that there weren't slow points, but in general it was very enjoyable. We talked to lot's of people, and it looks like Gene has four or five good leads. So it was a grand success! On the third day we got to do some walking around to look and the other expo booths. There was some pretty incredible machines, let me tell you! Here's some pictures! 

This robot is an assembly line cart mover. It could push a cart weighing over 10 tons!

This pictures just makes me get all dreamy. This would be so much fun to design and build.

Here's Gene and his booth. That's where we spent most of our time there. Loads of fun. 

For this event I got to purchase my first full suit! I felt pretty professional! I guess I'm not your standard male, in that I like getting all suited up for an occasion, be it biking through the woods, or manning a booth and the Medical Device and Manufacturing Expo.


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