If you recall, I was interviewed by Jim Hisert about getting the most out of my internship here at Indium Corporation. I decided to perform a similar interview of my own supervisor, Adam Hagerty. I figured that this will not only help me out as a mechanical engineering intern in following the same career path as my supervisor, but also provide insight to other college interns and other mechanical engineering students. Adam is the tooling engineer at Indium Corporation in charge of various tooling to produce specific parts. He graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering.
John: When did you realize you were interested in engineering?
Adam: I have always been excited by anything with an engine and my curiosity has always driven me to learn about how everything works. I remember when my parents bought my brothers and I a little 70cc Honda ATV, when I was 3. I was always jealous because my brothers could drive it unrestricted, but I had to ride with a throttle governor on. The day that I figured out how to bypass that governor was the day I learned that I wanted to make things better, faster, louder. I was probably 4 or 5 at the time and I still have that four wheeler today. As I got older, it wasn’t good enough for me to know HOW things work, I wanted to know WHY things work.
John: What skills would you say are the most useful in your professional career as an engineer?
Confidence – Don’t be afraid to make decisions and go with your gut in situations where Engineering can’t give you the answer. Before computers and email, Engineers were expected to make decisions independently and that skill is being lost.
Risk taking – Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone and take on a new position or join a new company. Work in design, manufacturing, quality, sales, etc. during your career. The best managers that I have ever worked with have held a wide range of Engineering positions and were, therefore, able to predict and prevent issues before they occurred.
Respect – Always show the highest level of respect to your co-workers. There is no replacement for experience, so take the time to listen to your mentors and absorb as much as you can. If you respect them and carry yourself well, you will earn their respect quickly.
Failure – A big part of Engineering is pushing something to the limit and figuring out where improvements are needed. Sometimes you might fall short of your goal, but it is all part of the process. Failure is sometimes more valuable than success.
John: Do you have any advice or suggestions for someone who will be entering the engineering field?
Adam: Start investing in your retirement with your very first paycheck. If you don’t start now, it will only be harder to modify your budget down the road. The tax benefits are reason enough to start ASAP.
I appreciate Adam taking the time to answer these questions as his insight is very helpful. This interview gives me an idea on what specific skills I should look into improving and also advice on investing during my career. It is difficult to see what the future holds and conducting this interview gives me some insight on how to make my future more positive.