Meet Ken: Director of Engineering
Everyone on our team is crucial to our daily operations. This year, for National Engineers Week, we wanted to shine some light on the engineers here at L-Tron.
Quirky, Intelligent, Creative, Collaborative, Calculated, Inquisitive
Just a few adjectives used to describe our Director of Engineering, Ken Gravenstede. I asked our engineers a series of questions about their jobs, their interests, and the future of engineering. Here are Ken’s answers:
How would you characterize an average day at your job (Director of Engineering)?
At L-Tron, it’s always different.
See, at big companies you could be working on one project for weeks, months, years at a time. That’s your only focus. At smaller companies like L-Tron, you’re working on lots of things all at once. The projects you’re working on also change quickly.
What does your typical day at L-Tron look like?
Come in late. Get some food and some coffee. Sit in my office. Leave early (just kidding).
I typically will work on OSCR360 products (our built in-house sensor tube) to try and improve GPS quality, connectivity ranges, hardware designs, battery life, etc. These changes are all based on how our customers need it to perform. Then, I’ll usually work on other projects for our customers – hardware changes, software and firmware changes, research. I do a lot of things.
What is the most frustrating part about being an engineer?
Sometimes you get stuck and what you’re stuck on doesn’t allow you to keep working and you just want to bang your head against a wall.
What percentage of your day do you spend solving technical engineering problems?
50% (give or take 10%).
What do you like most about being an engineer?
Creativity and problem solving.
What is your favorite project that you’ve worked on as an engineer?
Probably the first one, a long, long time ago. And that was because I worked with the best, brightest, most fun engineering team ever. I was working for a 3 letter agency on ground-breaking projects. The team and I would work crazy hours; three 20-hour days, take a couple days off and go skiing, then come back and make massive huge strides. We had free rein to run in any direction we wanted, working on ground breaking innovations. I worked with fun people, crazy people, and stupid people (ha!). It was fun and it was challenging. I felt like I was part of something that had never been done before.
What is one of your best engineering stories?
How many days do you have…? Remember, I’m old.
Hmmm okay. When I was working out west, we were building gas and fracking drums. Well, one of the fracking charges accidently lit inside of the construction trailer. Of course, we were locked inside because they make them very secure, so that nobody can break into your trailer. Imagine watching four guys trying to get out of the secure, locked trailer while this explosion (for lack of a better word) is going off. It makes me laugh just thinking about it.
What do you think is going to become the biggest challenge for engineers? Is engineering a sustainable job?
Staying current with technology will be hard. And yes, engineers are always needed.
What characteristics do you look for when hiring a young engineer?
The ability to problem solve, learn new things, and question how/why about everything.
Do you have any advice for future engineers?
Make work fun!
Final thoughts from Ken: If you could change careers, would you still choose to be an engineer (knowing what you know now)?
Probably.. unless being King was an option.
Thanks for being such a good sport, Ken! Your positivity and quirky answers show just how integral to our team you are. Happy Engineers week to our Director of Engineering and to all his fellow engineers.