Starting a first job after completing your education is exciting, scary, and oftentimes just plain overwhelming. As a recent college graduate, I was all of these things when I jumped, head first, into my first full-time position with Avid in our Peachtree City, Georgia office.
After graduating from North Carolina State University (NC State), with degrees in Chemical Engineering and Paper Science Engineering, I was ready to take on the world with my newfound team. I was eager to acquire the necessary technical skills, learn how to be a good teammate in my new environment, and develop skills in order to properly to interact with customers. That's why, when one of the company’s project managers invited me to be a part of a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) project at a well-known paper company - I pounced on the opportunity.
This particular company is one of our Trusted Partner's. This partnership promotes fast and reliable business between the two companies, resulting in high efficiency and profitability for both parties.
The customer’s willingness to let me come in and learn from a current project was astounding, as was Avid's support for placing me where I could gain a great deal of technical experience. For me, the most exciting aspect of this project was being able to travel onsite. I reveled in knowing that, in addition to learning in an industrial setting, I was contributing to an actual project.
Saying I was nervous was an understatement. This was my first time traveling for work! I wanted everything - from loading the PLC to renting a car - to go smoothly. Having worked with this Project Manager previously leading up to this project, I was familiar with the background of the equipment and the customer specifications. Even so, this did little to ease my nerves. Luckily, the Project Manager pulled from his veteran experience to walk me through anything I didn't know. I was relieved to be able to draw from my past internships in paper making technology that gave me insight into the process, as well as the safety practices needed to work in a paper mill. The electricians and the project managers at the customer site were also encouraging and knowledgeable. Every question I asked, they answered with more information than I expected to receive. The Avid project manager gave me tasks that tested my ability and put me in situations where I was best suited to learn. I learned more about AutoCAD, safety in PLC coding, electrical design, and customer interfacing than I thought was possible in a three-day trip.
Despite the long days and early morning arrivals, our team worked enthusiastically until late into the evening while on the job site. This high level of effort was made all the more rewarding when we were able to finish the installation of the PLC code early. After loading the code, we were able to quickly debug our program and confirm that everything associated with the code was working as expected. The most satisfying part of the project was being able to see something that began as just an idea in the mind of an Avid engineer come to life to give the customer exactly what was needed. Because we worked efficiently, and because the customer put trust in our abilities, we were able to finish with time to spare and a working paper machine to boot.
I was glad to be a part of a project that properly represented Avid - and I hope to join many projects like these in the future. It is exciting to be part of a team that is willing to invest in the career of a new engineer and that investment assures me that I made the right career decision.
Avid values the growth of its employees, as evidenced by Avid University. So, I will be able to add to my knowledge and skill level throughout my time here. Because of joining the team, I am now looking forward to personally contributing to an international company that has a very promising future.