Being a double major with mathematics and engineering, my career path has been a bit different than many mathematics majors. In reality, my professional work has not focused on traditional areas of theoretical mathematics or mechanical engineering (machine design, etc.). Rather, it's been more the application of a thought process for the systemic planning of "projects". These "projects" have been capital investments for the building of manufacturing facilities for the (chemical) process industry. It's a combination of nearly all engineering disciplines, since the creation of a factory involves structural, mechanical, electrical, controls, information technologies, etc. The systematic development of the engineering scope is balanced with the business realities of the need to work with the budget and timeline requirements needed in order for a facility to survive and be profitable. Additional aspects to this include the impact of human safety considerations, being a good neighbor, and numerous governmental regulations. Cost forecasting and critical path scheduling are key elements -- along with being the proverbial "jack of all trades, master of none".
As a side project, I'm currently working on an analysis to evaluate the impact of "front
end engineering" (or lack thereof ...) on the eventual project business, budget
and timeline successes. This study requires the combining of "human factors" with
the analysis of hard data.
This career path has taken me to central Illinois (BF Goodrich Chemical Group, 1977-1984),
western Kentucky, South Carolina, northern England (Air Products & Chemicals, 1984-2001),
back to northern Illinois and Japan (Cabot Microelectronics, 2001-2007/present). I
am currently residing between Naperville and Aurora, about 35 miles west of downtown
Chicago. My wife of 31 years, Debbie, is with me and our daughter Amanda is teaching
high school in the south side of Chicago.
On a more personal level, this "thought process" has indirectly lead to the rather odd hobby of ultra running. This sport involves foot races typically in the 50 to 100 mile range (though some do even longer events), and requires a good deal of calculations and planning for both the training and for the execution of the race itself. The motivations and objectives, however, have little to do with monetary profits ....