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Indiana INTERNnet celebrated internship excellence on Feb. 4, 2015, at the 9th Annual IMPACT Awards luncheon. Though the event is over and the winners have been announced, we are continuing to celebrate the nominees’ successes.

These are their stories.

Brandon Brinkley1

IIN: You read prints, studied parts and worked with operators to optimize the designs for production gauges and minimize costs. How was this experience?

BB: It was a great experience. At one point, we were having a significant amount of nonconforming parts, and I was asked to investigate and see if I could determine the source of the nonconforming pieces. I took multiple measurements and tracked an entire batch of parts through their production process. I recorded all dimensions and checked each piece with its go-nogo gauge. I noticed that in several instances, the results of the measurements would be within specification, but would fail the go-nogo gauge.

After inspecting the gauge on the optical comparator and checking its dimensions against the gauge print, I was able to conclude that the specific gauge was slightly out of spec and failing parts that were indeed within specification. Based on the production of this part, fixing this gauge projected to save the company close to $17,000 the following year.

IIN: What are one or two projects you had that really allowed you to grow?

BB: My first day on the job, my supervisor walked in and tossed me a part that just came off the production line. One of the surfaces of the plastic housing was frequently experiencing too much sink, where the surface of the plastic would shrink too much upon cooling and form a concave surface. He told me he needed a gauge to give to the operators to allow them to quickly and accurately check if the part was within specifications.

Then he left.

For a few moments I just stared at the parts thinking to myself, “What in the world am I going to do with these?” He definitely pushed me out of the nest. Luckily, I hit the ground running, and within 10 minutes had a working prototype manufactured out of a ballpoint pen.

I then designed the plunger-type go-nogo gauge in SolidWorks and sent the drawings to a local tool shop. It was a great experience that really broke the ice and allowed me to showcase my skills.

IIN: Your IMPACT Awards nominator mentioned that you fit into Group Dekko’s culture perfectly with your positive attitude and enthusiasm.

BB: I loved the culture at Group Dekko. It felt like a tight-knit group of friends always working hard toward a common goal. I was never treated as an intern, but as a Manufacturing Engineer. I was asked for help as often as I asked for help myself. I definitely felt like part of the team and could not have asked for a better experience. It was my first time working in the professional world and definitely was a culture shock compared to my previous work experiences. It really has prepared me for work after graduation.

IIN: We understand you just graduated from Trine University. Congratulations! What happens now?

BB: This experience has allowed me showcase to future potential employers what I am capable of. It has also made me more comfortable in admitting when I need help and being able to ask for it.

If anyone who reads this is in the market for a mechanical engineer, I an officially seeking full time employment!

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