Food Fortune: Engineer Kim Tran still waits tables.
Great ideas can come from any source and any place. For Baldor, they often come during a weekly lunch at the Diamond Head Chinese Restaurant in Fort Smith, AR. Every Monday, while passing the egg rolls and steamed fish, the company's top executives chew on a PuPu Platter of ideas for new products and different marketing strategies. The latest idea: rebates to end users and distributors who buy Baldor's Premium Efficiency Motors in sizes of 20 hp and above. The rebates are in the form of $1.00 per horsepower. Marketing Vice President Randy Breaux hopes the program will bring about a 10-15% increase in sales of the motors and drives. But it's not just ideas cooking at the Diamond Head. Recently, as the Baldor group assembled at their usual table, the waitress asked them what they wanted and Chairman Rollie Boreham said, "an electrical engineer." To which, the waitress responded, "Great, I'm one." Not long after, she became a Baldor employee. But she didn't give up her waitressing. She's married to the restaurant's owner, so every day at noon, she is back at the Diamond Head taking lunch orders for an hour before resuming her engineering work at Baldor's Drive Center.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.