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An Enginnering Intern's Perspective on hilmor

In high school, I decided I wanted to become an engineer so that I could make a change in everyone’s life. I wanted to design the next “cool” new product that everyone wanted, or that new innovative device that changes the way we look at modern technology. As I now grow older, I am quickly realizing that what’s important is not to change “everyone’s” life, but rather “someone’s” life. One small adjustment can alter the way someone perceives the product on the shelf. More importantly, that modification could be the key to a new design that changes somebody’s life…you just never know. The crazy thing about engineering is that it’s a constant effort to change the lives of those around you. Working at hilmor, one can truly see the passion and excitement that goes around the engineering team, knowing that somewhere down the road, the seemingly insignificant CAD drawing that an individual on the team creates will soon be developed and placed in a technician’s hand, making his job easier and more pain-free.

Applying as an intern at hilmor, I did not know what to expect. Coming into the summer after my sophomore year of college, my internship at hilmor was going to be my first ever internship. I had heard all kinds of stories from colleagues of mine regarding their internship experiences, both good and bad. With my start date fast approaching, I learned as much as I could about the products that hilmor offered, but with so many different complex products, it was hard to wrap my head around the entire catalog. Within the first week of my interning at hilmor, the team did a great job catching me up to speed, and getting me ready for the remainder of the summer.

Although this was an engineering internship, I got a lot of experience in other disciplines as well. I was introduced to packaging, marketing, finance, sourcing, and plenty of other domains that I did not expect to be so fully exposed to. The hilmor team is a very close knit group of individuals that work together on everything, whether its marketing, engineering, sourcing and more, everyone works together like a family – it was truly unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

It was exciting and motivating to work with the hilmor engineering team, being able to learn from the many qualities each team members possesses while getting some good laughs in at the same time. When I was younger, I had the image ingrained in my head that an engineer was just a body sitting behind the desk working with equations and computer programs. While this may be the case at some facilities, at hilmor it is far different. On a typical day, the engineers here do indeed sit at their desks to do their daily work, but that is a miniscule part of their day compared to everything else that they do. From market research and sourcing, to creating presentations directed to cross-functional corporate teams, the engineers here are very multi-disciplined. All of the processes and “non-engineering” types of work that the engineering team does is amazing, and unlike other places that I’ve heard of or have seen. The best part about it is that they accomplish all of this work in a set period of time, have fun and laugh, while still designing and producing some of the best HVAC/R tools and equipment.

Within my time here at hilmor, I learned not just about hilmor and engineering, but much more about professionalism, business structure, leadership, and risk. hilmor taught me a lot about the engineering behind our current products, and how we look to improve and excel, but more importantly hilmor taught me what engineering is all about once you get past the books and equations. I was involved in meetings with colleagues from all disciplines across the United States, as well as consulting with experts on conference calls dealing with topics where the team had knowledge gaps. Meeting with all of these individuals on a weekly basis gave me insight into interacting with those from other departments, as well as what goes on in those departments.  This gave me an overview and some key aspects of how companies work to meet deadlines, and do so in the essence of time. Along with this, each day I was in the office, I learned a great deal about leadership. From taking on difficult challenges, to working in the office until 10 pm to finish a model, both leadership and hard work were present in every part of the company. Out of all of these lessons, the most important was learning about risk. Anytime you put a product out on the market, there is risk behind it; risk in whether or not the consumer has interest the product, risk in being able to sell the product, risk in the product life, and so forth. Although the designs go through an extensive process to assure that the probability of anything going wrong is at an absolute minimum, there will never be any 100% certainty. Learning about how this risk plays into decision making was a great take away from working with hilmor.

As I finish up my internship, I just want to say thank you, hilmor. I have learned a lot about the field of engineering, but also about the business world from an engineer’s perspective, and all of the excellence that goes on behind the scenes. The quality of the work and dedication that is put in behind closed doors here at hilmor is unbelievable. I am grateful to have had this experience with this world-class company, and proudly will take all of these lessons and experiences back to RPI and to my future career path. My time here was one-of-a-kind, and the opportunity and experience was priceless.

Goodbye hilmor, and thanks for everything!


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