I have always wanted to know how things work. As a kid I amassed a LEGO collection that was both impressive and slightly embarrassing. I’ve been late to a college class because I needed to see how a modified flat-bed truck would pull a construction waste bin up on to itself with no ramp or crane.

So I became an engineer.

It seemed like the obvious choice for someone good at math and science and hoping for a career in the practical application of both. The projects recalled MacGyver-like situations (Your team has been asked to clean up a nuclear blast zone. Design a robot with a $200 budget that can differentiate the nuclear waste, represented by Styrofoam cups, from other trash, represented by plastic cups). I found, though, that I needed more than to make interesting gadgets, or worse, tiny internal parts of interesting gadgets. So I looked for other things.

I loved science and variety, so I took up the pre-medical coursework concurrently with my mechanical engineering program. I worked in my organic chemistry professor’s laboratory, and interned in a molecular genetics laboratory. A life goal wasn’t materializing, though. After receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Summa cum Laude, from the University of Oklahoma, I found myself unexcited about going directly into an engineering career.

Teach For America seemed like a great way to try to give someone else something that I had always taken for granted: a decent education. As a 2006 Corps Member in South Dakota, I think I partially achieved that goal. I also learned a lot about the reality of the modern American educational system. My heart goes out to the children in need who are under-served and neglected at so many levels. If you received a good or even mediocre education, please realize that there are hundreds of thousands who simply don’t have access to what is widely thought to be an American birthright.

I moved to the Phoenix area to be with my girlfriend, and finding the job market a bit sparse, began volunteering at an inner-city hospital in the surgery department. Again, lessons in reality abound. I won’t name the hospital here, but I will also try very hard not to get injured anywhere near it.

I finally landed a position as an engineer at Energy Systems Design, where I design heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and mechanical systems for large buildings, college campuses, data centers, and almost anything that needs water or cooling. It has been interesting to see the guts of buildings; how they work and don’t work, and trying to keep people so comfortable that they never think about it. It is team oriented work, including other engineers, clients, architects, and contractors, requiring logical analysis of mounds of requirements. It is also nice to see a design, that you put on paper, become a real building, with real people living and working in it.

If you’ve made it all the way through my tome and you’re still interested, please feel free to contact me through this website. I’m always happy to meet new people with common interests and opportunities. Thanks, and have a good day!

EmailĀ Wesley at wesleycare.com