CEO student engineers worktable for local company

Posted On: January 2, 2019
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At 14, Troy Weaks thought his future job could be inventing things. At 18, he has already engineered a product that will make someone else’s job much easier.

“In eighth grade we learned about looking at something and trying to figure out how to make it work easier or look better,” Weaks said. “I enjoy brainstorming, making things look better and creating stuff.”

As a senior at Van Wert City Schools, Weaks participates in the Career Education Opportunity program, which began at Van Wert High School three years ago and has expanded to all of the county schools. About 30 businesses and 56 students are participating in the program this school year.

Because of Weaks’ interests and skillset, CEO coordinator Kerry Koontz had Weaks interview for an engineering position at Braun Industries. It has been a perfect match.

“I’m just tickled. Troy has been doing a great job for us,” said Kevin Cassidy, facilities manager at Braun.

Cassidy is Weaks’ supervisor while he is at the factory 80 minutes every day. Weaks has been designing a new worktable that will enable production workers to more easily assemble and test the 75-pound EZ-O2 lift used on Braun ambulances that holds oxygen tanks. The worktable Weaks designed will improve safety for the assembler and decrease production time.

”It’s an ergonomic issue for our employees,” Cassidy said of the existing table. “It’s a relatively simple project but it has a lot of spokes to it. The project fit the timeline for when we would have Troy and it was a good chance to get him to work with the employees so he could really understand the problem and then come up with a solution.”

Weaks has taken STEM classes and learned 3-D modeling software at school. The background made it easy for him to adapt to the software at Braun and he was able to quickly begin to develop his concept. At school, Weaks would simply come up with ideas. At Braun, he has learned about the entire process of product development.

“We have talked a lot about the engineering process, concept through production,” said Cassidy, an industrial engineer. “He has come up with his design and the next step is costing it.”

Braun will build Weaks’ design. Production is estimated for the end of January.

“I am impressed. Not only with what he’s done here but with Troy himself,” Cassidy said. “The first day Troy was very quiet but now he comes in and talks to folks. There’s been a lot of good stuff, both personal stuff and productivity-wise with the work he has done here.”

Weaks said he enjoys his time at Braun so much he hates to return to school each day.

“I don’t like having to leave to go back to school because I want to get done with what I’m working on, but I have to leave, sadly,” Weaks said with a laugh. “I just want to get it done because I feel accomplished.”

The experience has helped Troy decide his career pursuits. Prior to the CEO internship he was thinking about studying engineering or art. He has realized that both of his interests can be met by seeking an industrial engineering degree.

“The intent of The CEO Program is to provide real life exposure and experience for seniors who have interest in a prospective career field,” said Koontz. “What Troy has accomplished at Braun and what so many of the CEO students have achieved is a testament for the skillset of our future workforce and our employers in this county.”