Engineering optimism

May 1, 2009
Sarah McChesneyChief EngineerRingfeder Corp.Westwood, N.J.

How long have you been working as a project engineer?

I've been doing this since the early 1990s. Ours is a small company, so it gives its employees the opportunity to do as much as they feel capable of doing.

How did you end up at your current position?

I just fell into it. I moved to this area when my husband took a job at BMW of North America. After reading a newspaper ad, I submitted my resume. At the time, Ringfeder was looking for someone to start a CAD system for them.

What's your workday like?

My typical day includes processing orders that require some design work, designing solutions for specific applications, working with suppliers, reviewing quality issues with our quality control department, and providing any support that is needed with our technical sales department — not in any particular order.

In light of the current economy, how do you see American innovation evolving so that the U.S. remains competitive?

I believe that we have some of the best engineers in the world and for the most part, American engineers are optimists, believing there is always a way. The world will continue to need this level of know-how and optimism. American engineers also provide solutions that work - and this skill is worth something. We need to be generous with our knowledge to the next generation of engineers and manufacturers. It's also important that we keep the interest in design and manufacturing alive and well in our youth.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

My children are ages 5 and 6 and I'm excited about giving them the opportunity to try things. It gives me great joy to see them having fun learning about all the different possibilities. I also started teaching Catechism this year, which I really enjoy. This along with work and a little exercise seems to fill the time pretty well.

Words to live by?

“Where there's a will, there's a way” pretty much sums it up for me.

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