Recently Forrest Thayer, an engineering student from Cedarville University, shadowed Mike Kluber and wrote reflections about his experience and how it provided a window to his future as an engineer. His diary of the day is featured below.
“Tell me what you’ve learned today?” was no small question after a day of shadowing Mike Kluber of Kluber, Inc. I had enough information to write an essay simply from the last hour of observation, but I paused as I thought back over the busy day. From the start, Mr. Kluber went out of his way to explain different aspects of his work, which allowed me to see many applications of both engineering and business. I had the opportunity to observe technical details, collaboration in the workplace, business organization, and even customer relations. These were valuable lessons that helped me to put my mechanical engineering major in context to the workplace.
The agenda of the day involved closing a sale with a customer interested in updating their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. The customer had provided Kluber, Inc. with detailed meeting notes of their goals and expectations for the project. The first step in the agenda was to study these notes to understand how to move forward. As an engineering major, I have learned the importance of being able to quickly study written information in order to apply it to another area. I noticed that Mr. Kluber was having to use this same skill to apply the customer’s notes toward the design and pricing. While it was Mr. Kluber’s responsibility to oversee the direction of the project, it was the responsibility of the senior mechanical engineer to understand the many technical details of the project. The next step then was to meet with the senior mechanical engineer to work through the details. I noted the efficient communication of detailed, technical information and could see that this was a mandatory practice for an engineering firm. I was glad to shadow on a day where I was able to follow the line of communication through the preparation to presentation of the sale. I was able to observe technical information communicated from the customer to the engineer, the engineer to other engineers, and eventually the engineer back to the customer. The rest of the day of shadowing quickly flew by as I learned more about the responsibilities of engineers at Kluber. Soon after studying the last minute details, and finalizing the approach to the project, it was time for the customer meeting.
Being able to sit in during the interaction between Mr. Kluber and the customer provided a unique opportunity for me to see business principles first hand. I saw the preparation for the day, listened to the customer’s questions, and learned from Mr. Kluber’s responses. Mr. Kluber’s thoroughness helped establish credibility with the customer, and the customer was happy because of the company’s reputation and previous work. I was able to see that engineering is more than just understanding the technical details but also includes understanding the needs of the customer by being able answer their questions and concerns. As I head into my second year of mechanical engineering at Cedarville University, I have a better understanding of different aspects of engineering and some valuable lessons I can use along the way! Thanks again to Mr. Kluber for allowing me to shadow him for the day.
By Forrest Thayer, engineering student from Cedarville University