Bronco Spotlight: Ashley Lacy
Engineering Designer 1 at Haworth
I create special designs within the Tailored Solutions Walls and Systems Department, that are driven by customer requests against the standard products. I work with Product Engineers to achieve the requested designs, by using Creo, Microsoft Excel Macros, as well as the necessary programs required by Haworth.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part is product knowledge. Knowing how the products are assembled as well as the specifications that are required, take time to learn. The most rewarding part is completing a complex design and getting great feedback from the product engineer or modeling team.
What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?
Attending the Engineering Expo when I first started at WMU, helped open up a lot of doors to see whether or not the companies that were there were of interest to me. When I first started at WMU, I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do, other than something related to Engineering. After 3 semesters in Mechanical Engineering, I decided to major in Engineering Design Technology instead. If it wasn't for Dr. Paul Engelmann, I would've never minored in Plastics Processing or joined the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) at WMU. Being involved in SPE helped me by reaching out to employers for potential internships. Attending the ANTEC Conference through SPE helped me with my networking skills, by giving me more confidence in the way I present myself. Dr. Engelmann took the time to help me prepare for internship interviews and constantly gave me valuable feedback. For years I dreaded the senior capstone projects, but with the endless support from Dr. Betsy Aller, I was able to excel. Jay Shoemaker also supported me through all my years at Western. I cannot thank Dr. Engelmann, Dr. Aller, and Jay Shoemaker enough for continuous support throughout my college career.
What advice do you have for others pursuing a career similar to yours?
My advice is to not get too discouraged. Engineering is a difficult subject and a lot of us thought we chose the wrong career path, but if you buckle down and keep studying, it will all be worth it. I attended a community college for most of my general education credits, which I found to be quite helpful as well as a lot cheaper, so that may be a path to take as well. Also, when looking for internships, don't just look for one specific to your major, reach out a little more and you'll be surprised by the opportunities that you'll come across.