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A Present Career, Carrer Interest, And The Value Of Aa College Education

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A Present Career, A Career Interest, and the

Value of a College Education


My career path has been chosen for me through heredity, as my length of time on Earth has been pre-determined by the Great Creator. How I choose to use this time will be referred to as my success statement of life. How I am remembered will depend on what I accomplish. In short, life is given, but not guaranteed. We all have the choices before us, which determine if life is easy or difficult. Many times, I had the option of all or nothing, and for some reason chose all every time. In this paper, I will explore my present career as a manufacturing engineer, a career interest as a plant manager, and the value of a college education to organizations, customers, and myself.

A Present Career, A Career Interest, and the Value of a College Education

A small bit of historical information is in order to set the tone for this presentation. I was raised, as most young boys are, learning to read, write, and the other necessary evils of elementary education. My father was finally discharged from the U.S. Army Air Corp. and World War II, where he had been a Lt. Col., and taught the use of the Norden Bombsight to bombardiers and crews of the time. My early years were basically fun years, as I learned how to fish, shoot, hunt, about dogs, cats, and toys...many, many, toys. My mother believed in spoiling me, since I was the only child, and for eight years, I was the only object of me parents' attention. In 1958, however, that situation changed forever, with the birth of my little brother, and three years later, my little sister arrived. These two events, little did I realize, would have a profound effect on my life. They would alter the way I felt about life, contribute to changes in my personality, and most of all, formed the basis for my later life in general, including my chosen profession.

My father, prior to WWII, worked for Victor adding Machine Company, who designed the Norden Bombsight. After the war, he and another man started an oil well drilling company. He did all the engineering required except for the Geology, and co-owned the company until the late 1950's. My father was not a degreed petroleum engineer, but was in fact qualified. He had studied under his father, who also had owned an oil company in Southern Illinois for most of his life. My "inherited engineering" skills were already a part of my genetic make-up from birth. The only thing that changed was my engineering interest. I decided that my interest would be manufacturing, since I was intrigued from a very young age by what made things work, how they were designed and built, and the methods and processes utilized for their production. Thus, became my interest in manufacturing or industrial engineering, later to become expanded and named manufacturing engineering by many organizations. Educational institutions originally concentrated on teaching Industrial Engineering Technology, which included the analysis and application of methods, equipment, and standards for the labor input to manufacture any product, along with capital improvements applicable to reduce cost, improve quality, and provide dependable delivery schedules. Frederick W. Taylor originally developed the program, which evolved into current Industrial Engineering Technology and practices, in the early 1900's. He was known as "The Father of Scientific Management." As Kanigel concludes, "[Taylor] was alive to the power of scientific method, doggedly in search of experimental truth; but he was not above shading facts or omitting inconvenient details" (Kanigel 1997, 275). But he was never a common laborer.

As I stated in my previous paper for this class, Personal Strengths and Weaknesses, I was intrigued early in life with how things worked, why they worked, and how they were designed and manufactured. I found out early on that I had an extremely high mechanical aptitude, having taken old clocks that no longer kept time, and rebuilding them-sometimes with newly fabricated components, when the originals were damaged or no longer available. It seemed that any mechanical object or device I saw, or came in contact with, had a secret to its design which allowed it to perform a function, and that was the impetus driving me to understand, and improve upon the device's operation when possible. This inquisitive nature has been with me all my life, and is the predominant reason for my having an engineering career for the past 37 years. During this career, I have been responsible for some outstanding accomplishments, including many state-of-the-art systems designs, and many completely re-engineered manufacturing operations, capable of previously unheard of product output. These years have been very enjoyable, rewarding, and most of all, satisfying from inventive and creative standpoints, as well as financially. However, I have come to realize that an engineer, no matter how accomplished, is limited in scope and ability for marketability.

In a previous organization, I had the opportunity to perform as a manufacturing manager. This opportunity came to me at a point in life, dominated by the Big Three, in their search for quality improvements to provide them an alternative to being swept away by the Japanese. "During the 1960s and 1970s, many Japanese manufacturers greatly increased their share of the U.S. market. A major reason was superior quality. Numerous industries were impacted: consumer electronics, automobiles, steel, machine tools and so on. Some researchers quantified the quality differences. The impact of the Japanese exports on the United States was considerable. Consumers benefited greatly by access to goods of superior quality at competitive and even lower prices. However, great damage was done to other areas of the U.S. economy: The impacted manufacturing companies were damaged by the resulting loss of market share. The work force and the unions were damaged by the resulting export of jobs. The national economy was damaged by the resulting unfavorable trade balances. Collectively, these impacts called for responsive action." (Juran, 1979), (color television sets); also (Garvin, 1982) (room air conditioners).

"Interestingly, some people believe that had the two Americans (Deming and Juran)



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