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Mechanical Engineering Overview - PowerPoint - Podcast

Noah Loren
Applications &
Technology Services
Engineer
Detroit Diesel Corporation
Detroit, MI

 
BS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Rochester
Applications and Technology Services Engineer, working with distributors, original equipment manufacturers, and end-users to solve installation and service problems with engines. Also develops applications to meet special customer requirements.
Noah feels that he was well prepared in college, but his job calls for the ability to work in teams and a blend of hands-on and CAD skills that one may need to learn on the job. He urges students to look into co-op programs, for that experience has helped him to get a job and to adapt quickly.
"Seniors in high school should take science and math, as much as you can. If you can get calculus in high school, take it. Even if it's just a brief course or doesn't go in too much detail. Take physics, chemistry, and a lot of math."


Loren: "I answer calls from customers or distributors about service problems with engines. Somebody might call up and say, well, I've got this engine and it's doing this and I have no idea why it's doing that and spewing out metal parts out of the exhaust or something. We'll sit down and figure it out and see how we can help them in the field."

Q: Is this your first job?
Loren:
This is my first job out of school. I graduated about a month and a half ago.

Q: Coming fresh out of school and just being here three weeks what would you say your first impression was then?
Loren:
I had a little bit of a benefit in terms of working here fresh out of school because I was a summer intern here last summer. So I wasn't coming totally cold turkey. But it's a little overwhelming at first, just trying to figure out what's going on, what your responsibilities are, the kind of things you're expected to do, expected to know. Sometimes there's a language barrier between your co-workers and yourself, depending on what terms were used in your education. So you have to sort of figure out at first what people are talking about. And then things start clicking after your first couple of days.

Q: Tell me a little bit about what you're doing?
Loren:
Well, the technical-service part of my job is basically I answer calls from customers or distributors about service problems with engines. Somebody might call up and say, "Well, I've got this engine and it's doing this and I have no idea why it's doing that and spewing out metal parts out of the exhaust or something." We'll sit down and figure it out and see how we can help them in the field. It also includes making trips out to see the customers, to help them either service the engine or perform tests on the engine. Like, we'll test coolant and oil and the turbo-charging system or fuel system and figure out what's wrong for them and see how we can help them remedy the situation. The applications-engineering part of my job is basically we deal directly with OEMs, which are Original Equipment Manufacturers, who make all different kinds of machinery or equipment and that use our engines. And what we do is we work closely with them, developing installations of our engines into their equipment and providing either special brackets or designing new flywheels or new mounting systems, so we can help them install our engine in their products. There's about six or seven of us. About half of us do technical service and half of us do applications, and usually, some of us do a little bit of both. Since I'm new, I'm going to be doing a little bit of both. And we work in groups. There's a lot of teamwork involved because, obviously, every different perspective brings new light to a problem and a new way to solve it. So we always usually work in groups, in teams. Everybody in my group has a mechanical engineering background.

Q: What technical skills did you learn in college that you find it very useful now or did you not know?
Loren:
In college, I guess, I had the benefit of when I got to school, I had a lot of mechanic skills and training that I had done in high school and before that, due to my own interests. In school, I guess I learned a lot about, in my lab classes, assembly and manufacturing. A little bit about technical writing and drawing. It's always important. It's always good to know a little bit about screws, nuts, and bolts. You think it's really simple stuff that, you know, "Oh, everybody knows that," but there are a lot of different things out there that are always good to know.

Q: Are there other skills, other than the technical ones that you talked about, that you find really helpful, that you learned when you were in college?
Loren: Definitely, interpersonal skills, communications skills, being able to work in a group. It's very important to be able to develop that skill because everything you do in the professional world is going to be group-oriented, whether you're making a presentation with another co-worker or you're working with your boss on something. It's always good to be able to communicate clearly with others and be able to work in a group and not feel threatened or uncomfortable working with others, because that's the way things work.

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