EECO Asks Why Podcast

193. Hero: Michael Wilborne - The Industrial Sorcerer in Training

February 23, 2022 Electrical Equipment Company Season 7
EECO Asks Why Podcast
193. Hero: Michael Wilborne - The Industrial Sorcerer in Training
Show Notes Transcript

The best way to learn about the next generation of heroes is by talking to them directly.  Michael Wilborne is well on his path to a future leader of industry and already has some incredible experiences that he unpacks.  Growing up around automation and controls provided him a unique opportunity to see first hand the amazing paths that exist for his future journey.

He is an Industrial Sorcerer in training and his dad Tim hold the title now.  Michael explains how his high school offers technical courses and the perception around them.  There are items that many schools could consider to enhance these programs such as marketing, funding and awareness.  As he points out too many high schoolers simply are not aware of the great potential that exists when you learn these skills.

Michael shared about an incredible experience he had at the "You Make It Challenge" hosted by Rockwell Automation.  He finished third in the country with his project and grew leaps and bounds throughout that process.  Job fairs and internships are explored on ways that they could be enhanced to give a better experience for the student. 

With the connected world of Social Media he explains where his generation consumes content and what they are looking for.  He shares some great tips on how any business could engage and create value and inquisitiveness to learn more. 

Michael Wilborne is a stellar young man with a future that has no limits.  We highly encourage everyone to share this with teenagers, parents and industry leaders as there is much to learn from this future hero of industry! 

Guest: Michael Wilborne - The Industrial Sorcerer in Training at TW Controls

Host: Chris Grainger
Executive Producer: Adam Sheets
Podcast Editor: Andi Thrower

Industry War Story Submission: Send us a DM!

 00:00 Chris: 

Welcome to EECO Asks Why. Now this is a special episode. We're going to call this the hero in the making. And I have with me, Mr. Michael Wilborne is the industrial sourcer in training. So how you doing Michael? 

00:19 Michael: 

I'm doing just great. Thanks for asking. 

00:21 Chris: 

All right. So for those that don't know, Michael, you may recognize his dad, Mr. Tim Wilborne. He's been on the show a couple of times and Tim and I have been back and forth. I've been on his show and we have a lot of fun together. And Michael, I guess you created a LinkedIn profile, is that right? I saw you, you know, Tim put it out there on social about, you know, you were creating this LinkedIn profile and, and, and to connect with them, he was reaching out to some people that he knew.

I immediately, I was like, Tim, we just need to get him on EECO Asks Why this is too cool. So, so congratulations on that LinkedIn profile. How's that going? 

00:55 Michael: 

Pretty good. I've gotten a lot of connections, you know, talked with a lot of people in manufacturing industry and it's. Yeah, it's a good place.

01:02 Chris: 

Nice. Now just set the set, the base for our listeners say you're in ninth grade, right? Yes, I am. Okay. So we've got a ninth grader and you've grown up around automation and controls your whole life. Right? So that's, that's pretty much it's. It's always been there in the background for you all the time.

So have you, so have you always had an interest in it or is it something that you've just recently started leaning into? 

01:29 Michael: 

I never really actually had an interest in it. I definitely enjoyed it, but I wanted to become more of like those big names, like doctors, policemen, racers and for a while. I really wanted to be like a surgeon. Yeah, but then I realized that I'm really good with controls and mechanical, especially in that industry. And I started helping out my dad a lot more and I found out that I really just enjoyed it a whole lot. And so now I actually like, I do, hands-on still learning, but, you know, I help out with a lot of it.

02:04 Chris: 

Right. Well, I mean, you know, you all had the sorcerer in training, so I mean, it's going to happen, you know, you gotta take your time. Right. So, you know, we were talking about topics and Michael, we were kicking around ideas. You really brought up some things that I think would help a lot of our EECO Asks Why listeners out there, really talking about high school and the courses that are offered, how vocation is perceived. So maybe you just walk us through kind of what's going on at your high school right now from a vocational standpoint. 

02:33 Michael: 

Oh, at my high school, we definitely like in the terms of electives where you pick out like what classes you want to take, it's definitely there's a lot in my school alone and most of it is for types of like hands-on or being able to notice something and evaluate it, which are mainly like the woodworking classes, CAD room. I'm pretty sure there's was also like an art room. You also have like theater and all those stuff that you can do as a class for school. 

03:06 Chris: 

Right. So, I mean, when you think about, you know, some of the more hands-on stuff like CAD, electronics, things like that, is the cool factor there as much as it is, is like in the woodshop?

03:18 Michael: 

No, not really. Because the woodworking shop and the CAD room are both located in the basement. And so it was kind of bland and whatever we're working on is like, it's definitely very challenging, but there's nothing there to really make it fun.

03:35 Chris: 

You said the basement. So is it out of sight, out of mind type thing?

03:41 Michael: 

Yeah, not a lot of people go down to the basement. So only people who might have been there or go to those classes know about it. It's like, we have no windows. So like, we don't know what's going on outside. And also it's like, sometimes you can just get room sick for not being able to focus on something else.

04:00 Chris: 

Yeah. Yeah. You're literally in a dungeon. It sounds like maybe we should rename it, not the basement. We'll just call it the dungeon. 

04:08 Michael: 

The high school dungeon. 

04:09 Chris: 

That's right. Wow, man. Well, that's crazy. That's crazy. Just think about perception though, from a vocational stand point. I am curious, like kids your age, when you find that the kids actually do like, you know, getting into the hands-on, the trades, what do they like so much about it?

04:27 Michael: 

I think for most people, mainly in woodworking is finally being able to, you know, do something dangerous or cutting wood and being able to make something out of it. Well, like before in middle school all you're doing is watching people. So I think that also pulls them in. And I think for the CAD room, it's being able to teach most of the like graduating students on how they can use CAD for their college experience because whenever I'm in my class, it's usually 11th or 12th graders. 

05:01 Chris: 

Okay. Okay. So you have older students in your class right now? Yes. So they all kind of like lumped together. So it's not broken out like different curriculums. It's all just one group. 

05:13 Michael: 

One group. 

05:14 Chris: 

No kidding. Okay. Interesting. So, I mean, I'm curious if I'm a senior, so say, say four years from now when you're senior. Yeah. Well, you'll be doing the same projects that a upcoming nineth grader would be doing when you're a senior? 

05:27 Michael: 

At my school, we only, you can only take like one year CAD because after that, there's just not enough rooms or there's not enough teachers to teach more about it because we have one teacher who teaches every single grade. He also does like Photoshop and a bunch of other classes. 

05:45 Chris: 

Okay, so it's a one and done. So basically once you take that CAD one time throughout your high school, you're finished with it. Yes. Got it. That makes more sense, So I'm curious, Michael what do you enjoy most about some of these classes? You know what makes that more fun than say an English class?

06:03 Michael: 

Well, I don't really enjoy English class because there's definitely a lot more work than I really want because in my mind. I feel like if I'm going to do something, I should be able to do it in my own way. And that's kind of what my CAD teacher does is he lets me draw how I want to draw it. Like it's not, I have to do it step-by-step his way, which I think is a very good thing. Well, in English class, it's like we're working on an essay right now and we have these different types of steps of how to write the essay and you have to write the essay in a certain format or else you'll fail the essay. 

06:42 Chris: 

Right and that's not good.

06:44 Michael: 

Yeah. It's not good at all. 

06:48 Chris: 

So you liked the creativity side of it. Yes. Right. You know, we were talking to Mary Bruce, which I know, you know, her, she brought up, you know, steam, not just stem cause the eight, the A being the artistic side of science, technology, engineering, and math. And there's something to that. And she took us back to, you know, a lot, a lot when doctors first got started, they had to draw what they were seeing so they could pass that knowledge down. And there's something to be said for that. So, I mean, I like that, you know, it sounds like maybe the people, if they leaned into that a little bit more and made that aware that, Hey, you have some artistic abilities and some flexibilities of autonomy that they get more into.

07:30 Michael:

Oh yeah definitely. 

07:32 Chris: 

You just need to share that because it sounds like not many people know. 

07:36 Michael: 

Yeah. Well also it's like if I asked, you know, some of my friends, once you explain what CAD is, they're like, I still don't understand it. Can you explain in English? Just like, well, I just explained what it is. I, there's not much to say about it.

07:53 Chris: 

Well, some of those things, even when you started talking about electronics at the basics, sometimes people are just visual learners. How about like your final project? So when he finished something in your CAD class, what do you guys do? 

08:07 Michael: 

But we put it into a format page. And so we list what the project name is, what our name is, what organization we're under. And in my case it would be my high school. And then we put down a date and a time that it was finished, then we print it onto PDF and we turn it in. 

08:24 Chris: 

Okay. Who's to say, we couldn't take those types of projects and make them it's a big posters. Right. And hang them around the school. And I mean, I'm sure you guys probably do some pretty cool CAD drawings, definitely show that, you know, show it off, have some fun with it. It's just brainstorming. Just brainstorming. 

08:45 Michael: 

So how, like you have a lot of different stuff that you learned in that class. Like we just finished up isometric views and now we're working on alignment views, which are a little bit complicated, but like you learn as you go along and they get harder and harder and harder, but like sometimes it just gets easier and easier and easier because you learn how to do it. Right. Right. Then like once you get into college, if you're doing an engineering or, you know, you're becoming an artist and you have to use that program, you know, all the shortcuts and tricks that you can use and what certain words they want or need to understand in order to complete it. . 

Now let's 

09:26 Chris: 

Say let's play a game here real quick. Let's say that Michael Wilborne is the principal for a day and you get to change something at your school. You get to change something around this, these vo-tech, vocational courses and offerings. What are you going to change? What do you think would be one change that you could make that would change the perception of the way kids think about it? 

09:46 Michael: 

I think announcing what kind of possibilities you could achieve from taking these classes which then would definitely spread awareness to it. And then also people will start thinking like, Hmm, maybe if I take a certain amount of classes, start aren't even that class, like it would help me get set up for college way easier than having to do all this last minute. 

10:11 Chris: 

Yeah. That was fun playing in principle for the day. So maybe that your principal listening to this and you never know. All right. Now, talk to me. We were also all we were prepping. You mentioned something about engaging the next generation and you talked about a program that you went into called the, you make it challenge. So talk to me about that. I'm excited to hear about this one. 

10:32 Michael:

So it was 2019 Rockwell Automation was presenting a challenge called the, you make it challenge where the next generation of young people. Maybe 19 and under you know, they would present an idea to their form, you know, how they can improve, invent or somehow make a machine or an invention better than it was before. And so once we put it in the forum, there was, you know, they went through hundreds of thousands of these submissions, cause it was like a really popular thing.

And they picked 10 people who would go on to this place where the public would actually vote. And then you would vote for the top three. And for me, I was creating a sanitation project for Africa, where it would just be a whole lot easier for sanitation and also you can grow crops out of it. It was a very simple, but neat design. And I got voted the top three and then, out of nowhere it's like they say, I got invited to automation fair and Chicago, which for me was a pretty big thing at the time, mainly because at my age, you're not allowed to go. So that was definitely an experience. I didn't win a person named Lisa Woods but she won. It was like a flood device. It was very neat. And what was crazy about it is we had to present in front of like 400 people and it was like Rockwell's top CEOs, and, you know everybody. Like that was on the top of Rockwell. It was, there is definitely very awesome experience for me.

12:25 Chris:

It sounds like it wasn't nerve wracking at all. 

12:27 Michael: 

Oh yeah. It was definitely nerve wracking, especially the day that I had to present because like I sat there in the room, like waiting for all the other people for even the, you make it challenge started. Like I had to wait for these people to introduce your ideas and I just kept like tapping my fingers and my feet, you know, like, am I actually going to be able to do this? Am I going to bail out? Like, right, right, right. It was definitely nerve wracking. 

12:56 Chris: 

Hey, that's an experience still. You'll be able to take that. That's gonna make you so much better. You know, it's reps, right? Getting reps in front of talking in front of people, you know, you just, you gain confidence, sounds like that was a phenomenal experience for you. 

13:11 Michael:

 Yeah, it was, it was definitely phenomenal and a lot of fun. I also met like a lot of people there. 

13:18 Chris: 

That's really cool. That's awesome. So I mean that, that's a wonderful way to engage the next generation and a lot of people, I also think. You know, job fairs and internships. So what does that look like for you at your school? Do you mean you guys have that type of stuff or is it not, not really there or what?

13:34 Michael: 

We do have internships and like some jobs for the school. Like last month it was announced like every day that there was an internship, but it wasn't very like clarified what you do in it. They went through it very fast and it was only like once every day They mentioned a company called Integer, they're an engineering company who makes medicine.

14:11 Chris: 

Absolutely. So, I mean, it sounds like there's opportunities there to maybe show up and provide a little more information to students to let them know what options are out there, right? 

14:27 Michael: 

Oh yeah. Definitely. 

14:29 Chris: 

And maybe even, you know, I've talked to several people about this. If you're a manufacturer, you know, sometimes not all of them can do it, but if you can have like an open day where you can actually go into a manufacturing plant and see some of the stuff, see the different department see how it all works together, because there's nothing quite like, you know, seeing it firsthand. Right? 

Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Okay. Now I'm curious from your standpoint, you're a ninth grader. You have a smart phone. I know you're engaged in different things. You're on LinkedIn. You're, you're, you're doing your thing now from a social media standpoint. Let's talk to the maybe the industrial leaders out there, you know, where are you at? Where are you engaging? Where do you go to learn some of this stuff? Is it Instagram? Is it other places where are you spending time? 

15:30 Michael: 

Well, I think most of my generation, like they're definitely spending time on like researching on how to do stuff or if they're just, you know, looking through stuff, it's definitely TikTok or Instagram that's where most of the young generation resides definitely like right there. And also like, if you do go on those platforms, you need to be very active on it. Like you can't just, you know, do something every month. Like it has to be every day that you had to be active because. Like, they're just going to keep on scrolling if they see it once or twice. 

16:02 Chris: 

Yeah. So you kind of need to be in that feed consistently.

16:06 Michael: 

Oh yeah. 

16:07 Chris: 

So definitely we lean into Instagram, but we haven't tried TikTok so what's the advice for making it happen on TikToK for manufacturers? 

16:17 Michael:

 For TikTok it definitely needs to be like short and maybe even just advertising it. And usually when I see like, you know, manufacturers advertisements it's very bland on how they present their company. 

Yeah. It needs to have fun, some fun and like kick into it. So maybe like, Moving, you know, words or something like that, mainly to catch the viewer's attention. I got you. Even if you're just talking right here, I didn't like you're creating an ad sometimes.

Like, you know, just having things pop up over the head or, you know, zooming in the camera. Occasionally like that definitely would attract my attention if I was scrolling down. Right. 

17:06 Chris: 

Okay. Well that that's been helpful right there. I mean TikTok, I think EECO Asks Why, needs to lean into TikTok. We'll get some followers, right? 

17:14 Michael: 

Yeah. Minutely. Even like this little part where you're just talking, but like, you know, you have cool animations or it may be even just like a slideshow of what's going on. I would definitely good. 

17:25 Chris: 

This has been fun. So let's, let's talk a little bit for, for just you. You're pursuing some great things. But talk to me what do you enjoy doing for fun?

17:32 Michael: 

I definitely enjoy playing video games. 

17:35 Chris: 

Video gamer. Okay. What's your favorite game? 

17:38 Michael: 

Probably Fortnite and call of duty. They're definitely both very good games in my opinion. Okay. You can also like engage with a lot of people, which is pretty cool. I think it would also be just playing like basketball for fun. Like that physical activity is just a lot of fun. And then of course building stuff, I really enjoy building stuff. if you asked me to build something, if even if it's out of Legos or paper, I'm going to build it because it's just a lot of fun.

18:06 Chris: 

Didn't you'd redo a car or something like that? 

18:09 Michael: 

Yeah. So we're restoring a 1947 Plymouth right now. It's kinda been slowed down recently, but of course it's getting colder outside and you know, it's just not that comfortable when you're working out in the cold. It's a lot of fun though.

18:25 Chris: 

That's awesome. Now. So you have an awesome family. Like your mom, your dad, everything you guys got going on there, you know, very active out there, you know, give us, give us some insight. So what is it like being part of the TW Controls, everything that's going on with YouTube? is it, is it fun as it looks?

18:41 Michael: 

Sometimes. Like most days, it's definitely a lot of fun. You know, just hanging out, playing like games or even just going to like the PLC lab to record videos with dad. It's a lot of fun, but sometimes, you know, go do other stuff. And that's when it gets kind of bland. Right. Or, you know, she don't want to play board games. Like, you know, you're kind of mad for 30 minutes and then finally when you get back into it. 

19:11 Chris: 

Yeah. I hear you, buddy. I hear you now. What do you enjoy? So, you know, I always like to talk to our, our heroes. What podcasts do you listen to? I'm curious, are you a podcast guy? Yeah. 

19:22 Michael: 

I actually do listen to a lot of podcasts. I definitely listen to EECO Asks Why. I definitely like my dad's podcast. Yeah, sometimes it's like, I don't want to listen to it cause I'm not interested, but others, you know, it's very interesting. Cause he really talks through it. 

19:38 Chris: 

Yeah. Yeah. We like, we love his podcast. Talks, talks with Tim, right?

19:42 Michael: 

Yep. Talks with Tim. That's it. 

19:44 Chris: 

That's it. I love it. Love it. Well, I'll tell you what I always like to play a game. It's called a lightening round. Okay. So I'm just gonna fire off some things at you and we'll see what comes back as we want our EECO Asks Why listeners to get to know you a little bit better. Okay.

What's your favorite food? 

20:00 Michael: 

Pizza, definitely. 

20:02 Chris: 

Any particular kind of pizza? 

20:04 Michael: 

Pepperoni. I am a very big pepperoni guy. 

20:08 Chris: 

Pepperoni. Yeah. Okay. What about drinks? Pepsi. Coke, others? 

20:14 Michael: 

Root beer. 

20:15 Chris: 

Root beer. Okay. Okay. All right. So what's the, what's your favorite class? 

20:22 Michael: 


20:23 Chris: 

Algebra. Okay. Favorite teacher of all time? 

20:27 Michael:

I think my seventh grade math teacher, I think that was my favorite teacher ever. I don't want to say her name, but she was definitely very nice. And like, you know, she understood if you're a struggling or not. And so like, I kind of struggled a lot, but she helped, you know, even at out, so I think that was the best teacher I had.

20:50 Chris: 

What's your favorite app on your phone? 

20:53 Michael:


20:54 Chris: 


20:57 Michael: 

Just Instagram. Like, if you look at my how much time I spend on an app, Instagram would be at like top the list, three hours above any. 

21:08 Chris: 

I got you. Now, what about, what's your favorite sports team?

21:11 Michael: 

I don't really watch sports that much, but if I had to choose it would definitely be like the Bulls in basketball and football it would have to be the Panthers. Okay. And then, then like soccer. It definitely be team USA. 

21:29 Chris: 

Very cool. Now What's your favorite college? 

21:35 Michael: 

I think for me, it would definitely be the university of Alabama in Huntsville. Because I've actually been there and like, it's just a very good school. 

21:48 Chris: 

Awesome. Awesome. All right. Now what's the favorite place you've ever been before?

21:54 Michael: 

Virginia Beach. It's it's just, it feels like home, but it's not home and it's a beach, so yeah. 

22:03 Chris: 

Okay. Can't go wrong with a beach, right? Yeah. All right. Last question. But I ask everybody this dogs or cats? 

22:10 Michael: 

Dogs. Definitely dogs. No cats. I can't deal with cats. 

22:14 Chris: 

I can't deal with cats. Okay. I love it. I love it. All right, Michael, this has been fun, my friend.

So we've got to know you now EECO Asks Why we end with the why. You're a Listener. You know, you know, that's where we're getting ready to go. So if somebody wants to know what Michael's why he is, what is it? 

22:32 Michael: 

I think for me, it's really being able to go hands-on and into machine or something that just includes my hands moving around and being able to get them dirty or fixing something. I think that's really, that's the passion I really love. 

22:51 Chris: 

I love it. I love it. Well, buddy, you're going to do phenomenal things. I can't wait to watch your career grow. You're just going to make such a big impact and you know what, just by coming on and sharing your story, you know, this is going to be a pretty cool it's people going to go really, maybe start thinking differently about vocation and using our hands and, and trades. And this is what we need more of. We need more conversations like this. So anything else you want to share? 

23:17 Michael: 

No, not really. I think it's been a lot of fun, you know, being able to do this podcast and hopefully I can do it more with like other podcasts too. 

23:24 Chris: 

Absolutely. I'm sure it's it's this is going to be your launching point right here. So just, just remember us when you get to be big and famous, please. Well, Michael has been a blast, but I hope you have a great day. It's been a lot of fun for those out there and want to check out the show notes. We'll probably hook you up with Michael's Instagram accounts. So you can go would be one of his followers, cause he's, he's posting some fun stuff. And Michael hope you have a great day, buddy. 

Hey, you know, Michael, he's got such a bright future. That was so much fun. Just hearing his insight, hearing all about the things that are happening at his high school, how he's thinking about engaging the next generation, the you make it challenge, social media, job fairs, internships. We covered it all ,video games so much fun. The next generation, their voice matters. So we're so thankful that he took the time to share with us today, you know, with these types of conversations really make an impact. So we're so thankful. We're blessed that he shared with us.

 Now, the war stories. We want him to keep coming the good, the bad, the funding, the stuff you tell around the water cooler, the stuff you tell us at the dinner table. So go to the show notes, connect with us there. Give us a five-star rating, write a review. It makes a big difference. So everyone hope you enjoyed this. And remember, keep asking why.