Musings: Where Do Ideas Come From? Part 3
We’re asked all the time, “How do you come up with new ideas?” The truth is, there’s no one answer. We’ve asked our associates for their thoughts, and we’ll be sharing them over time. In this installment, Engineering Project Manager Bill Rabbitt talks about the importance of variety, in life and work.
In college, I wanted to learn more about engineering than what was just in the books. So I set out to do as many extracurricular activities with engineering as I could, such as Baja club and Battlebots club. In my spare time I also built a miniature black powder cannon and a pumpkin chunking trebuchet. Then I came to NS, where you’re working on a variety of products and you get a good background in all sorts of different technologies. The amount of research we do prior to working on some of these projects is vast, and over time, you can lean on this experience and use what you’ve learned from one project to another.
That’s why I like working here so much, the variety, and trying to become an expert on a lot of different things. It makes work exciting, and I feel smarter because of it. If you like learning, it’s a great place to work.
As a company we have people with different backgrounds and experience with different projects. When you have industrial designers, engineers, craftsmen from our prototyping shop, and you put them all together, it definitely helps with fleshing out new ideas. And we get everybody together a few times over the course of a project, not just at the start.On every project I’ve worked on, a little bit has come from thinking about it when I’m not at work. Especially with 3D modeling. I’ll have to make a complex surfaces, and I’m trying to decide how I’m going to build it, I might work on it here for a few hours, but then on my way home, when I have a chance to take a breath, it’s like “Oh, all right,” and I know what I’m going to do first thing in the morning. I’ve even come up with solutions while trying to fall asleep or waking up in the middle of the night.
I have a variety of hobbies —canoeing, sailing, backpacking, hunting, archery, fishing, snowboarding, tomahawk-throwing and wood-working. I also got into competitive air rifle shooting and won the national championships in air rifle field target in 2016, along with several other sanctioned competitions and have been winning many speed-shooting events. There is a lot of science that goes into competitive shooting, and I have used my engineering and machining skills to improve my equipment. So my personal life and work sort of feed each other.
Bill is a certified TIG welder through the Lincoln Electric certification program.
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