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When did You Know...

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(…You Were Going to be an Engineer?)

When the IMS steering committee met for the first time last November in Phoenix, to begin putting the wheels-in-motion for IMS 2015, those of us on the publicity committee thought it would be fun to get a glimpse of the history and humanity behind some of the talented RF/Microwave engineers that attend IMS each year. Additionally, we thought that these stories would inspire and resonate with the STEM students that will be involved in this year’s conference. No doubt, these stories will be full of surprises and a bit of humor, too.

So, when did you know you were going to be an engineer? Was it your obsession with Legos? Was it because you wanted to know how everything worked? Was it because you were a whiz at Math and Science? Was it because you kept deconstructing and reconstructing things? Was it that chemistry set you got for Christmas—or that Science fair you won? No doubt, every story is unique, and that “aha” moment came in different ways, at different ages for every one of you that chose an engineering profession.

Here is one of my personal favorite stories:

Back in the early 80’s, I had a middle-aged boss named Hank Gray who was an Electrical Engineer (MSEE). We were shooting-the-breeze one day and I asked him what led him to choose his profession. Hank told me he was raised in one of those quiet Midwest towns in which the sidewalks were promptly rolled up at dusk. Being a very intelligent young man, his mind craved an exciting and adventurous future that more closely resembled the comic books he read, and less like the mundane small-town life he led. One day, he saw a hard-hat clad man shimmy up a telephone pole with spiked boots and tools swinging noisily from his belt. The man leaned back, settled himself into a sling and went to work repairing a transformer. Hank was mesmerized! When he asked his dad what that man did for a living, he was told that the pole-scaling “superhero” was an engineer.He decided right then and there, he was going to be an engineer! With a chuckle, Hank told me that he was about half way through his undergrad studies before he realized they weren’t going to let him climb telephone poles. Instead, he ended up designing some of the earliest versions of the groundbreaking 256K memory chip…among other things.

So, tell us your story about how and when you knew you were going to be an engineer. Post your stories either on the IMS Facebook Page, or the IMS Linked In Page. I will post this blog link at each site and you can add your comments there.

We all look forward to hearing your stories and, but most of all look forward to seeing all of you this May at IMS in Phoenix!


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Judy Warner is the Director of Business Development for the Western Region and RF/microwave markets for Zentech Manufacturing, a contract manufacturer that offers fully integrated supply chain solutions for Mil/Aero, RF/microwave and medical markets. Zentech is based in Baltimore, MD near the high technology corridor of the Mid-Atlantic/Pentagon region. Judy has over 20 years of experience in the electronics industry, and has spent the past several years focused exclusively on RF and Microwave technology solutions. Judy also contributes articles to a variety of microwave and electronic industry trade publications.

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Guest Monday, 11 December 2017