By Jim Bruner, The Sultan of Systems
Brad is a Master Manufacturing Engineer. He studied aviation in college and spent his entire career working in high pressure engineering, aircraft welding, vibrational analysis and building prototypes for Ford and other car companies. Today he continues to build prototype for contract work for various clients.
Brad joined the team at AXP in 2016 to help build the nascent PAST Innovation’s mechanical Fabrication Lab. He really enjoys working with students. The students refer to him as the “King of the Lab”, Brad is always up for a challenge, and the students in the PAST/Metro Design Learning Lab and the Metrobots robotics team always have unique problems that need to be solved. Brad says, “I’ve never worked with a nicer group of kids in my life. It’s all worth my time because I believe in learning.”
Brad brings his expertise to AXP, providing his master machinist’s mind to products and services of the various AXP companies. He often works with the companies that have taken up shop in the AXP commons area on building and mock up prototypes. In addition to the PAST Innovation Lab Mechanical Fabrication Lab, Brad has a full-service machining lab in his home.
AXP and PAST are helping this master of machinist grow as well. Brad went back to school last year to take a couple classes on AutoCAD and how to properly use and program the CNC milling machine in the lab.
Brad says, “I am happiest when I am here. My creativity has grown so much in the last 2 years. It’s always been my hobbies that got me to where I am. My hobby had been machining rockets for years. Now I help the students engineer robots. It’s great.”
Brad also thinks about working at AXP as therapy. He likens the work that he does for AXP’s clients and the Design Learning Lab and Metrobots students as therapy. In his career, he was always a part of the process and there was no opportunity get creative. “A well designed high-pressure engineered system is not the best place to get creative,” he says. Brad loves watching the kids learn and knowing that they are all becoming their own master engineers in the safety of the Mechanical Fab Lab. “You never stop learning. These kids aren’t afraid to learn. I’m not afraid to learn. It’s a great place for me to be.” We at the PAST Foundation couldn’t agree more.