As a kid, I always enjoyed taking things apart. I even remember trying to stick the leads of a AA Battery DC motor from a toy into the wall outlet thinking it would give me infinite power. Real shocker there, it didn’t. Luckily the only scar remaining is the burned outlet at my parents’ house.
After graduating from SUNY College of Tech (Alfred) with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology, I found myself not even considering a career in the controls industry. I started my big-boy career as a drafter for a mechanical contractor. While doing virtual pipe routing was challenging in its own ways, I found myself yearning for something different.
While in Rochester, I saw a posting on Craigslist for a Controls Engineer and figured why not apply for it? The company I started my controls career with is an Integrator that does heavy food/beverage/dairy process automation. The first time I saw my code take raw dairy and introduce it into another process, I knew I was hooked. Through the next few years, I continued to learn from some fantastic programmers on how to program effectively, how to troubleshoot efficiently, and how to manage multiple projects at once.
Somewhere in those few years with my first integrator, Keith Flaherty reached out to me on LinkedIn, looking for a controls engineer for the Malta office. He gave me a brief description of what he was hiring for and gave me a decent look at how Hallam-ICS values its employees. Seeing as how I was settled in Rochester with no immediate plans on leaving, I had politely declined and Keith left the door open should I reconsider.
Life, on the other hand, sometimes throws you a curveball. I had an opportunity of a lifetime to work for one of the largest food corporations in the U.S. Realizing that this was likely something I wouldn’t be able to experience again, I made the extremely tough decision to leave my employer and head eastward to Boston, MA. For a couple of years, I learned the plusses and minuses of working on the “other side of the fence”, meaning being the one who is requesting an integrator to complete the work rather than being the actual individual doing the work.
I found myself with the realization that I wanted to be the one programming, not the one with the system needing improvements. While sending my resume out to countless integrators up and down the east coast, I came across Keith’s messages from years back. I reached out to him to see, just by chance, if he had any openings in either the Massachusetts branch or the New York branch. Luckily, he did.
What was supposed to be a 10-minute phone call with Keith ended up lasting almost an hour. I hung up asking myself, “Did I just talk with the CEO of a company about random stuff for that long?” I figured I had just blown my chance at this going any further and started looking at where else I could work.
Shortly after that call with Keith, I got an email from the Regional Manager of the New York office. He wanted to set up a time for me to come and meet everybody. At the interview, everybody seemed extremely caring and acted more like their true selves, even throwing a few jokes back and forth with each other.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Even though I haven’t had a long tenure at Hallam-ICS, I can see myself sticking around for quite some time.
Maybe in 10 years, I’ll do My Hallam Story - Part 2!