AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company joined 50 corporations and government agencies – as well as more than 70 engineering, education and cultural societies – in celebrating Engineers Week, February 21-27, 2021. This year’s theme – Imagining Tomorrow – celebrates all the ways engineers make the world a better place.
Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951, the goal of Engineers Week is to recognize the work engineers are doing and inspire the next generation of innovators. As part of the event, we’re highlighting some of our own engineers and sharing why they enjoy what they do and their advice for the those interested in pursuing engineering careers. Here are their stories.
Steel Pipe Manufacturing Engineer Jacob Seiffert enjoys the daily challenges that his job at ACIPCO brings. “Every day is different, which keeps me on my toes,” he said. Jacob joined the company in June 2020 after earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University. He always enjoyed tinkering on machines and finding solutions to problems, so a career in engineering was a natural choice for him.
For students who may be thinking about a career in engineering, Jacob recommends keeping an open mind and being prepared to continue learning even after you’ve graduated. “The knowledge you gain from someone who works with their hands and does the job every day can be as valuable as anything you learn in engineering school,” he said.
When Melting Manufacturing Engineer Andi Doll was a young girl, she was always interested in the “why” and “how.” She wanted to know why things were done the way they were and if there were opportunities to do things better, faster or more efficiently. It was this mindset that led Andi to pursue her bachelor’s degree in ceramic engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Andi joined ACIPCO in June 2020 and enjoys solving important problems that can make an immediate difference to the process and the people involved in it. “The area I’m most passionate about is refractories, and ACIPCO gives me the opportunity to follow the material all the way through, from working with suppliers and selecting the materials to analyzing processes for improved decision making in the future,” she said. “I am able to work with so many different people who all have unique perspectives and knowledge I can learn from.”
Her advice for those interested in pursuing a career in engineering – trust your gut. “Engineering involves analyzing data of varying quality from many sources and having to make decisions with information that is not always complete,” Andi said. “To make these decisions, you need to learn to trust yourself. If you make a mistake, learn from it and do better next time. Nobody’s perfect, and as long as you give it your best and keep safety at the forefront of everything you do, there will always be another chance.”
AMERICAN Flow Control Engineer Jerry Mann joined the company in 1973 and completed night classes while working at ACIPCO to earn his bachelor’s degree in materials engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His advice for future engineers is be flexible and understand your engineering career can take you in many different directions.
Working in AFC for more than 45 years gives Jerry a unique perspective on how technology has evolved and how innovations have driven change within AFC. “It is great to see where AFC is headed,” he said. “We are a leader in the industry. As with any company or division, things change, and we must stay ahead of the curve. The innovations AFC is introducing are allowing us to be successful now and well into the future.”
Manufacturing Systems Engineer Drew Nelson grew up playing with and working on computers. When he took his first programming class in high school, Drew knew computer science was the area he wanted to focus on. “After visiting the University of Alabama, I knew its engineering-based computer science degree was the best path for me,” he said. “It allowed me to work with computers while also tackling complex problems engineers are known to find solutions for.” Drew graduated from the College of Engineering with his bachelor’s degree in computer science and a minor in mathematics and joined ACIPCO in October 2019.
Today, Drew says he’s a problem solver at heart, and seeing his work make a real impact in ACIPCO’s operations is an incredible experience. “I love that the issues I tackle directly affect people and their work,” he said. “I get to complete projects and help make someone’s life easier. It makes me feel like I’m an important piece of the puzzle.”
Drew’s advice for future engineers is to find an area that speaks to you and learn how you can engage in problem solving in that area. “Don’t be afraid to explore all avenues and try something new; you never know what you might actually enjoy working on,” he said. “Most important, ask for help when you need it. We’re all on a team and when one of us succeeds, we all succeed.”
Research Engineer Tabitha Crocker became an engineer because she loves problem solving and working with her hands. She sticks with the field of engineering because of the support she receives from other engineers, including her husband Justin, who works at ACIPCO as a Steel Pipe Quality Assurance manufacturing engineer. Tabitha not only wants to inspire the younger generation of women to pursue engineering but also see them remain in the industry for the long run. “To the women and other underrepresented minorities who want to pursue a career in engineering, don’t doubt yourself or your abilities; you belong here,” she said.
Tabitha joined ACIPCO in May 2017 and enjoys the relationships she has built with other areas of the company, including Sales and Marketing. “I love the opportunities I’m given to travel and see different areas of the country,” she said. “I get to teach others, and I really enjoy sharing my knowledge and passion.”
Tabitha earned her bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and her master’s degree in aerospace engineering and mechanics from the University of Alabama. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in materials science and engineering at UAB.
AMERICAN Ductile Iron Pipe/AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Sales Engineer Matt Rosenwald comes from a family of engineers – his grandfather, father and brother are all engineers. Growing up, Matt was always strong in math and science, the building blocks of engineering, and his decision to pursue a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from Auburn University was an easy one. “I enjoy seeing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it,” he said. “Our products provide solutions that improve people’s lives. Having access to clean water is an essential need, and our products ensure people have the clean water they need. It’s something I take pride
in every day.”
When asked what advice he would give to students interested in a career in engineering, Matt said, “Build a strong foundation in math and science but also focus on the problem-solving aspects of engineering. Love what you do.”