Welding Engineering Success Stories

About me:

Erik Birkinbine photo

Erik Birkinbine
B.S. in Welding Engineering (2014)
PCC Structurals, San Leandro, California

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a Quality Manager:
Penumbra is a Medical Device Company, designing and manufacturing innovative products to save lives. As a Manufacturing Engineering Manager at Penumbra, I am responsible for a team of engineers who support a family of products in production. We also work with our R&D group to make a manufacturable product, as well as transfer products from the R&D lab into production. As a manager, my responsibility is to support my team by making sure they have all of the tools necessary to perform their jobs to the best of their ability, as well as to keep an eye on the future to make sure we have a plan going forward. 


Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
By far the most important skill to develop as a manager is to understand people. The best way to do that is to listen. Listening skills are underrated but incredibly important. Any problem can be solved by listening well. Also, technically minded people are capable of making good decisions if they completely understand the problem. By being able to wade through the layers of junk on the surface and understanding the problem, most answers become readily apparent. As a manager, my job is to help my engineers find ways to wade through the junk and understand the problem to solve it.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Welding Engineering?
Welding Engineering is a unique field that has historically been in high demand. I do not feel, however, that it makes up for truly loving what you do. I was lucky enough to discover this program before I enrolled, but I fell in love with it halfway through school. If you enjoy materials, and like a challenge, this is a fantastic choice that can lead to many different career paths while providing a lifetime of personal and professional fulfillment.

About me:

 Picture of Ross Belkofer (WE Success Stories)

Ross Belkofer
B.S. in Welding Engineering (2015)
Kiewit Power Constructors, Lenexa, KS

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a District Quality Engineer: 
I collaborate with Engineering Leads on projects in order to plan out contract requirements for quality documentation, Inspection and Testing, Quality Reporting (Metrics), and Welding/NDE Planning. I coordinate project visits in order to audit/assess the ability of personnel to execute the quality plan. In addition, I serve as the District Level Lead for standardization of procedures including our Welding Plan involving Process and Equipment, Subcontract management, NDE,  Heat Treatment, etc. 

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
Collaboration is key. You need to understand the mindset and needs of co-workers in order to effectively and efficiently complete work. Teamwork is also important. You have to be able to work with others in order to complete your own work. The ability to completely work efficiently and accurately is also required for being successful.  In order to go above and beyond at your job, you need to be able to complete the daily tasks quickly in order to move on to other ideas/concepts you have to continuously improve your processes. Once your supervisor recognizes this skill, they will be extremely impressed. Lastly, the most important facet in this job is relationship development. Great work will only get you so far, developing meaningful relationships with your clients and co-workers are priceless to your career.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Welding Engineering?
My only advice is to diversify your internship experiences within the Materials Science / Welding Engineering fields. This diversification gives you a wider spectrum of opportunities when the time comes to find/pick a job, and will make it easier for companies to see potential in you. If you have a specific company or job type that you want to pursue, then get in contact with that company or multiple people with that job type and discuss what skill sets are necessary to be successful.

About me:

Mei He photo

Mei He
M.S. in Welding Engineering (2016)
B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering (2014)
TerraPower, Seattle, WA

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a Materials Engineer:
My main responsibilities include the development and qualification of next generation materials for sodium cooled fast reactors. The main focus is materials selection for the next generation reactor core and R&D of advanced materials and fabrication technologies.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
Strong communication skills are a must. Most of my job consists of working with/coordinating among multiple disciplined teams and sharing information with them. You need to have solid working relationships with the internal groups/teams as well as external vendors. Self motivation and creative problem solving also allows me to be successful in my role. I have minimal day-to-day supervision, so I continuously motivate others to push projects forward using in- house capabilities to excute testing for desired material data.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Welding Engineering?
Majoring in engineering is just not easy to start with, but it is worth it and the motivation comes once you find the discipline you are passionate about. Definitely take advantage of the resources OSU provides to shadow and explore different areas of engineering. Being an international student myself, I would highly encourage other international students to step out of your comfort zone to explore more internship opportunities and other career related events. Those experiences open as many, if not more doors, than just a strong GPA.

About me:

Miranda Marcus photo

Miranda Marcus
B.S. in Welding Engineering (2005)
M.S. in Welding Engineering (2006)
Edison Welding Institute (EWI), Columbus, OH

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as an Applications Engineer:
As an Applications Engineer at EWI (a non-profit engineering consulting firm specializing in manufacturing technologies), my primary responsibility is to be principal investigator for research and development projects. This involves defining the scope of work with a potential customer, writing a proposal, executing project work, managing internal technical resources, reporting, and presenting results. Projects can involve determining material feasibility for welding, process selection, providing joint and overall design recommendations, process development and optimization, and up to troubleshooting of products currently in production, including failure analysis. I work with a wide range of existing plastic welding processes including (but not limited to): ultrasonics, laser, infrared, spin, vibration, hot plate, induction or resistive implant, and sometimes work on the development of new processes.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
When working in R&D, probably the most important skill one can have is self-motivation. Additionally, for any type of consulting work, the ability to communicate clearly, both in writing and verbally is vital. Last, but certainly not least, it's important to be able to identify patterns within a great amount of information, to be able to sort what's important from what's not, and to draw logical inferences that can be applied to problem solving efforts.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Welding Engineering?
Do it!  I've thoroughly enjoyed working in the plastic welding field in general and am very happy to be able to be working in R&D and consulting in particular. Also, pursuing a graduate degree can be a great boon to your career trajectory, I recommend it.

About me:

Andrea Peer photo

Andrea Peer
B.S. in Welding Engineering (2015)
M.S. in Welding Engineering (2017)
Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, MI

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a Product Development Ford College Graduate:
I was hired into Ford Motor Company as a Product Development Ford College Graduate. This allows me to spend the first 32 months rotating within the company to different departments and develop a better understanding of the design process. With my welding engineering background, my home department is the Joining Group where I am focusing on Resistance Welding and Solid State joining processes.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
My work as a grad student has allowed for a smooth transition from school to career. Above the knowledge I gained in my coursework, my graduate research taught me how to independently develop new ideas and be able to communicate these concepts to the team around me. The welding engineering department teaches its students both breadth and depth that has really helped me make an impact within the first couple weeks of my career. I have hands-on knowledge from using the equipment to develop new testing methods in our own lab and the theoretical knowledge to characterize the microstructural features of welded joints.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Welding Engineering?
My advice is to be open to new ideas. I did not dream of going to graduate school until a couple months into my senior year of undergrad. The opportunity presented itself and I decided that I still had a lot more to learn. Welding engineering can open doors to any industry or career path. You can find yourself developing bio-compatible materials for pace makers in the medical field or friction welding gas tanks for a space ship. I personally found a home in the automotive industry figuring out ways to make the cars we drive everyday safer and more reliable. Always be open to a new internship, project, or opportunity because until you try it, you will never know if you actually love it or hate it.

About me:
Matthew Robinson

Matthew Robinson photo
B.S. in Welding Engineering (2000)
M.S. in Welding Engineering (2003)
Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX
Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a Program Manager:

At Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), I'm managing the ROS-Industrial Joint Industry Program. This particular program focuses on the development and sustainment of open source advanced robotics capabilities for the betterment of industrial automation. Within SwRI, these tools and capabilities have been and are currently being leveraged to deliver differentiating end-user capability and solutions. Along with this role, I'm also acting manager of the Adaptive Technologies Section, within the Manufacturing and Robotics Technologies Department. Currently I also serve on the ARM Institute Technology Advisory Committee.
Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
Currently the skills required in this particular role are identifying the broad needs that industry stakeholders and end-users have and align them with development activities in the advanced robotics space. Also, the distillation of these advanced concepts to an audience that may not be well versed in robotics technology. Developing robust plans to validate new technologies and aid in their transition into meaningful application for stakeholders and end-users.
What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Welding Engineering?

Welding Engineering remains a very exciting field that has many opportunities. As I can attest you can take a myriad of different directions. Furthering the capabilities of traditional automation to improve automation performance for joining processes, led to my involvement in advanced robotics application development and leading broader initiatives such as ROS-Industrial. If you find a passion, do not hesitate to follow it, and you can always supplement your skills as you progress down your own career path. Remain passionate, relentlessly experiment, and don't be afraid to fail.

About me:
Preston Hart

Preston Hart photo

B.S. in Welding Engineering (2016)
W International, Charleston, SC

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a Weld Engineer:
As a Weld Engineer in the Naval industry, my professional environment is dominated by the need for Quality perfection. I collaborate with Quality Engineering, NDT Specialists, Project Management, Process Design, and Manufacturing to ensure that each project moves along according to the customer’s schedule. Specifically, I qualify and develop all of our companies weld procedures in compliance with applicable Navy fabrication specifications. This means reviewing structural, mechanical, and piping drawings for overall welding and NDT process accessibility/availability; use of process parameters for the weldability of materials; use of specification knowledge for troubleshooting/preventing major failures; and identification of appropriate NDT.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
My role requires a fine-tuned attention to detail and an understanding of how a Quality Management system operates. In the Naval industry, audits are performed often and under careful examination to ensure that no portion of the contract or specification requirements is violated. Welding is the primary form of fabrication and is heavily analyzed for conformance. Because of this, organization and regurgitation of Navy specification allowances is imperative. The most important skills/abilities required for success are your ability to learn every department’s role in the manufacturing process; to provide welding engineering solutions and guidance to all other employees; and your ability to interact professionally with your customers.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Welding Engineering?
It's a fantastic opportunity to be a part of a very select group of people who are internationally recognized.  I wasn’t sure what engineering best suited me when I entered Ohio State, but I attended the Welding Engineering Open House my freshman year and never looked back. OSU Welding Engineering is the only ABET accredited undergraduate program in North America and has a strong reputation with employers. By joining OSU Welding Engineering, you gain recognition from multiple engineering disciplines and maintain unmatched job placement/retention due to the selective nature of the major.  I am currently at a job where my welding engineering skills are called upon constantly, however I work in a Project Management environment where I hold responsibilities that aren’t typically associated with welding engineering. In other words, welding engineering can land you just about any job in the engineering workforce that fits your skills and abilities.

About me:

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Derek Spangler
B.S. in Welding Engineering (2017)
General Motors, Detroit, MI

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a Production Supervisor:
I am currently in the GM track Rotational program which allows me to work several different jobs in the company that can help me decided on what career path I want to pursue. As a Production and Maintenance Supervisor, I manage multiple groups: Weld Checking Team of UAW employees, Skilled Trades team of UAW employees, and Production UAW employees. My role requires me to verify weld quality issues, repair broken machines, and work on weld expulsion reduction. My first rotation was in plant welding engineering role which made me know about all types of weld processes and how to trouble shoot different issues every day.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
I use the people skills I learned in school when working in different groups to deal with different personalities and problems that arise every day. It's also important that I know how to keep different types of employees under control and focused towards reaching a common goal. Time management is used to keep the everyday task as well as monthly and yearly goals in view and not get lost from the day-to-day problems that arise. Problem solving is used to evaluate various issues that often come up while working on immediate ways to fix them as well as ways to read across the company. I use a lot of problem solving techniques and troubleshoot skills every day.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Welding Engineering?
My advice to students would be to work hard and expand your network early. Once you’re in the Welding Engineering Program, you will only see Welding Engineering students. As a Welding Engineer, you will have many job opportunities, however, I would encourage you to look for a place that offers good work-life balance. There are many companies who offer a lot of money but it may not always be the best thing for you. Through obtaining internship experience, you will get exposed to a variety of career options, so I encourage you to explore. I found my job through an internship, but I knew I didn’t want to move across the country so that was a limitation I gave myself.

About me:

 Picture of Xin Yue (WE Success Stories)

Xin Yue
B.E. in Welding Technology and Engineering (2006)
M.E. in Welding Engineering (2008)
PhD. in Welding Engineering (2013)
ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company

Describe your overall duties/responsibilities as a Senior Research Engineer:
ExxonMobil is the largest publicly traded petroleum and petrochemical enterprise in the world. I am currently a Senior Research Engineer with its Upstream Research Company. I was hired in as a Materials Research Engineer in 2013. Since then, I have worked on a variety of materials and welding related research projects. The goal of our research is to develop high-performance materials and welding technologies that resolve the tough materials challenges for the Oil and Gas industry. The application of those high-performance materials has led to significant project cost savings and robust structural integrity. I have also closely worked with our production units to provide engineering support.

Explain the skills/abilities that are required for being successful in your role:
Having a depth of technical knowledge is a prerequisite to work in a prestigious research company, and I am grateful to the Welding Engineering Program at Ohio State for my Ph.D education. The ability to see the big picture is also critical. With this, you can clearly understand where the problem arises from, then think creatively to resolve the problem and ultimately serve the general interest. In addition, it is crucial to have various leadership skills, which include strong communication, effectively managing working relationships, decision making, and the ability to encourage, influence and convince people.

What advice would you give to students who are considering majoring in Welding Engineering?
Cherish the opportunity to study at Ohio State's world-renowned Welding Engineering Program. Leverage its resource and study hard to achieve both hands-on and technical knowledge. Create a vision of your future career goal (academia or industry) and work towards it accordingly. Seek opportunities to attend conferences and work on industry sponsored projects to learn and build a network.