Thursday, January 20, 2011


For my interview I was able to have a friend of mine, Nick, answer some questions for me. Now wait, you may immediately point a finger and accuse me of cheating, as he is my friend, but he is employed in my area of interest and is well respected in his company.
Now, without further ado!

Who is your employer and what is your position?

Employer: Triumph Aerospace Systems
Position: Systems Engineer

What are the necessary qualifications for this job?
I believe the only necessary qualifications are a BS as a Mechanical or Aerospace Engineer.

What is your educational background?
I have a Bachelors of Sceince from Colorado State University.  I began my engineering studies at the University of Washington, but finished them at CSU

Does your job/type of work require continuing education/training of any type?
There is no formal requirement for continuing education, however it is encouraged.  Also, there are a number of courses that are offered through Triumph Group and are called “Triumph University”.  These cover everything from business and marketing, to machining and manufacturing, to hydraulic design.  These are free as a Triumph employee.
Furthermore, because of the diversity in my position, I am always forced to be learning about multiple arenas of engineering (i.e. LabView Data Acquisition, Solid Modeling, Hydraulics, Mechanics, Kinematic Modeling, Finite Element Analysis, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Dynamic modelilng, Etc.).
If I am interested (or have time) in formal training in any of these areas, Triumph will typically pay for the education.

What are the pros and/or cons to this job?


    * ·         Extensive exposure to the process of design and manufacturing from proposal concept, to testing, to production.
    * ·         Flexible hours and schedule.  Laissez-faire management style enables us to effectively micro-manage our given projects
    * ·         Creativity, innovation, and thinking outside the box is encouraged
    * ·         Pretty relaxed work environment.
    * ·         We are a Triumph “Family”.  Small business feel in a large corporation
    * ·         However, this is beginning to change as we grow!


    * ·         Workload
    * ·         Aerospace is often very tedious and frustrating
    * ·         Not currently paid adequately for given responsibilities and contribution
    * ·         Commute and location.  Seattle to the far East-Side
    * ·         Not a distinguished hierarchy or escalation avenue.
    * ·         There is a large gap between Engineers/Designer and Directors and Technical leads.
    * ·         The pay reflects this.

Is there opportunity for creativity? Does it have limitations? Please explain.
One huge benefit to working in our Seattle branch is the opportunity for creativity.  We are encouraged and supported to think outside the box.  We are always pushing for innovation!
The only limitations are demand for a given technology and cost.  Basically, the economy and industry is responsible for the only limitations that I see. 

Have you personally experienced or noticed any type of growth in this job type or industry? What about changes?

I have experienced growth in both my Job and the industry.  New technologies that are being brought to the table are becoming more accepted as the norm in the industry (i.e. composites, electric actuation, innovative materials and processes)

There is a large gap between our generation (20-30 somethings) and the older Engineers that are retired or close there too.  The older generations are pretty stubborn and stick to what they know works.  This retards innovation and growth.  However, the older generations are starting to leave the industry and also except the future of where it’s going.  The outcome is growth in the industry.

Being at the brink of so much new technology, the younger work-force is forced to learn from the past designs and standards and incorporate lessons learned with the new ideas.  With the experience and efficiencies using computers and other common technologies, the skie’s the limit!!

Do you see yourself remaining in this position or industry?

I plan on continuing to grow within Triumph for a few more years.  I am already beginning to move into more of a leadership/project management roll.  This will require more management and a little less detailed engineering.  At this time, I would rather be a technical lead or manager than I would a full-fledged engineer.

I don’t particularly want to stay in aerospace for too much longer.  Although aspects of it are ground-breaking and upper echelon engineering, I would prefer to be in an industry that has more impact in helping people and bettering lives.  The results of mistakes I may make here could be catastrophic.  I would rather do more tangible engineering.

Ultimately my goal is to be a successful entrepreneur.  Isn’t that the case for everyone??

How do you feel about Boeing airplanes? They're the best, huh?

I think that they are the BEST!!  My grandpa was a long-time Boeing employee.  He was the head of HR prior to retiring.  So I am very partial to Boeing and it’s success.  Also, I want my BA stock to go up!  Get back to work Cale!

Are there opportunities for travel or relocation?

Yes, we work with customers in multiple states as well as internationally.  I would love to go work internationally at some point.  There are no immediate opportunities available, because I am needed here (at least I would like to think that is the case) but as we grow and the world gets smaller, I suspect opportunities will arise!

Is this your ideal job?
No, I would prefer to have my own business!  My time will come.

Are you happy?
Is that a rhetorical question???  I am happy, but the grass is always greener on the other side unfortunately.  I am very blessed with the job I have and I plan on keeping it for quite some time, but when/if the opportunity arises for something new and growth, I will most likely take it.

Also, this Seattle winter weather is killing me!!!!  Get me outta here!

Interview and photo provided by Nick Boone and The Nick Boon Band. 

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