EECO Asks Why Podcast

067. Hero - Brett Melancon, Electrical Project Engineer at Bühler Motor

January 17, 2021 Electrical Equipment Company Season 3
EECO Asks Why Podcast
067. Hero - Brett Melancon, Electrical Project Engineer at Bühler Motor
EECO Asks Why Podcast
067. Hero - Brett Melancon, Electrical Project Engineer at Bühler Motor
Jan 17, 2021 Season 3
Electrical Equipment Company

Brett Melancon is a rising star in Engineering and shares his passion for industry. He loves technology in electric vehicles and had opportunities in his career to grow his knowledge in that space.  Currently at Bühler he's working on many projects and some are tied directly to the medical field which impacts so many people. With the rapid development of the medical field it's directly impacting manufacturing which can be challenging and exciting at the same time. Typical 3 year projects are being completed in 50 weeks which shows how intense and exhilarating manufacturing can be.

Brett provides great advice for those new to industry and engineering. The big areas he shared were cooperation and flexibility. To be the most impactful team member mastering the art of cooperating with others to accomplish tasks is key.  Also, any chance you can expand your expertise into other areas should be viewed positively.  Being flexible to trying new things is how we grow and Brett see's this as a key differentiator.

He loves being outdoors and is also a big foodie. He loves trying new foods with his wife and his favorite is Oxtail (don't knock it before you try it). Brett's "why" is that he loves learning and teaching others. He is one of our heroes and will continue to make a huge impact to help many people in the future.

Guest:  Brett Melancon - Electrical Project Engineer at Bühler Motor
Host: Chris Grainger
Executive Producer: Adam Sheets

Show Notes Transcript

Brett Melancon is a rising star in Engineering and shares his passion for industry. He loves technology in electric vehicles and had opportunities in his career to grow his knowledge in that space.  Currently at Bühler he's working on many projects and some are tied directly to the medical field which impacts so many people. With the rapid development of the medical field it's directly impacting manufacturing which can be challenging and exciting at the same time. Typical 3 year projects are being completed in 50 weeks which shows how intense and exhilarating manufacturing can be.

Brett provides great advice for those new to industry and engineering. The big areas he shared were cooperation and flexibility. To be the most impactful team member mastering the art of cooperating with others to accomplish tasks is key.  Also, any chance you can expand your expertise into other areas should be viewed positively.  Being flexible to trying new things is how we grow and Brett see's this as a key differentiator.

He loves being outdoors and is also a big foodie. He loves trying new foods with his wife and his favorite is Oxtail (don't knock it before you try it). Brett's "why" is that he loves learning and teaching others. He is one of our heroes and will continue to make a huge impact to help many people in the future.

Guest:  Brett Melancon - Electrical Project Engineer at Bühler Motor
Host: Chris Grainger
Executive Producer: Adam Sheets

Brett: 00:00

I think my why just teaching others, spreading knowledge to other people and just getting people up to speed with different things, expanding their mind. I like learning and I like teaching others. 

Chris: 00:13

Welcome EECO Asks Why. A podcast that dives into industrial manufacturing topics, spotlights the heroes that keep America running. I'm your host, Chris Grainger, and on this podcast we do not cover the latest features and benefits on products that come to market. Instead we focused on advice and insight from the top minds of industry because people and ideas will be how America remains number one in manufacturing in the world.

Welcome to EECO Asks Why. Today we have a hero conversation. I'm excited to have with me, Brett Melancon, who is Electrical Project Engineer at Bühler Motor. So Welcome, Brett!

Brett: 00:50

Hi, thanks for having me, Chris. 

Chris: 00:52

Oh, I'm excited, man. Very excited and we met each other via LinkedIn, just for our listeners out there. So we had a couple of really cool guests in the past, Alexis Hancock, as well as Amanda Elliott. And we shared those connections and I just reached out to you and it just kind of worked out. Didn't it?

Brett: 01:09

Yeah. So I know Alexis and Amanda from school. So small world. 

Chris: 01:14

It's a small world and it got to be even smaller. I got to share this. So Brett, we'll get into your story and your journey, but I just thought this was so good upfront is where you worked at in Augusta. So where was that again? 

Brett: 01:28

Easy go down there in Augusta. It's known as Textron Specialized Vehicles, but I believe you worked at the building right next door across from the cookie factory.

Chris: 01:37

Yeah. Yeah. So you were telling me where you worked. I was like, wait a minute, are you cross from a cookie factory? And you're like, yeah. It's like, well, I was in the same building. EECO used to have a division there in Augusta. So it was just, that caught me just how small the world really is. We were in the same building. Never knew it. And here we are together on the podcast. So, so 

Brett: 01:58

You don't forget the smell of the cookies. Right? 

Chris: 02:00

Aye man, I remember this. The smell of cookies is awesome, but also if you remember across from that building complex, there was a wastewater treatment plant too.

Brett: 02:09

So sometimes you got... you got good smells. Some of time you got the bad smell, 

Chris: 02:14

Just really depended on how the wind was blowing my friend. Right. Welcome to Augusta. Or I'm ready to leave Augusta depending on the wind, but just thought that was a funny story and it just good connection for us, but maybe tell our listeners out there a little more about your journey to where you're at now.

Brett: 02:31

Yeah. So originally I'm from South Louisiana. South of New Orleans. So it's basically just all swamp land. Basically the Gulf of Mexico region. Came up to USC in Columbia, South Carolina, and I got my electrical engineering degree there and I kinda wanted to do small electric vehicles. Tesla is obviously really big when I was in college.

That was right after the, the model S started hitting off before the model three. So I got in contact with Textron. They had a big field event at my school and they showed off and said, Hey man, only two hours away from where you're going to school. We make small electric vehicles. Why don't you come on down and, give us a look.

So I went down there and I loved it. I worked down there for three years or so. I eventually actually pulled my wife down there with me too. So she ended up working for the same company as well. So it was pretty good. And it was lots of good experiences, quite fast and thrilling. They just worked on projects, nonstop. Kept kicking them out. 

Chris: 03:35

So now you said that was like a job fair that you saw about this company? 

Yeah. So the CEO of Textron, his daughter actually went to my university, USC. So he wanted to put a big, a big show on, I guess, to recruit some engineers and whatnot.

And then also kind of show off for his daughter is of kind of what they told us later on. So they brought in all kinds of all the golf cars, side by side. They brought in a helicopter just a wide range of products that Textron develops. And so they said, the EasyGo and Cushman brands were made in Augusta, Georgia.

Of course the Masters, all the golf car manufacturing's around that area. So it was very, very cool. Small world kind of thing. 

I guess for the main manufacturers out there that are wanting to find ways to engage, the next generation, well, that's a case study right there, man on how to recruit. 

Brett: 04:32

Yeah. Yeah. I mean I'd never heard of them before. Textron's kind of a, I wouldn't say that the biggest household name or anything, they're a defense contractor, just like a Lockheed or Boeing. One of the things they're most well-known for, I would say is the, the Osprey, the V 22. They actually make that.

But little known fact, they also own EasyGo and they own push backs and all kinds of other subsidiaries. And so. Yeah, it's pretty, pretty easy way to get people interested. You land a helicopter on their baseball field and be like, Hey, this is us. 

Chris: 05:07

Right. It sounds like something that an iron man , 

Brett: 05:10

Exactly. And CEO just walks out and he's all. He was like, look at my company. Isn't it cool? 

Chris: 05:16

Yeah. Yeah. So that's that's it was really cool. So, I mean, from Louisiana, you went to South Carolina. Now we have a branch in Columbia, so we have a lot of Gamecock fans and alumni that listen to the show. So I had to be careful, but what made you want to come to South Carolina versus finding a school in Louisiana?

Brett: 05:34

So I'd say originally it was for love. Me and my wife went to high school together and we got engaged at a pretty young age. And so I went to ULO , the raging Cajuns, down in Louisiana, we ended up staying together and she went to USC. And so after a year transferred. After making sure that the engineering program was great.

And I found out, they were investing quite a lot of money in the engineering program. They have quite a lot of the federal grants that they're doing down at USC. Doing some real high quality research and got some really good professors down there. So it was a, it all worked out. I'm still with my wife. I got a, got a good degree. 

Chris: 06:13

There you go. Yeah. That's awesome. So now from Textron, you went to Bueller. So what made you make that transition? 

Brett: 06:21

Yeah, so I felt like after about three years, I was really kind of doing some soul searching me and my wife about what what's sort of the next steps for both of us would be career wise. We kind of felt like in Augusta, they have club car, which is another manufacturer of golf cars and they also have big John Deere manufacturing facility down there as well. And between those companies, you have quite a lot of manufacturing opportunities, but up in the Raleigh area, that's was one of the major ones we were looking at. And that's obviously why we moved here. There's just so much opportunity for growth and such a wide assortment of companies that are always looking for good talent.

Me and my wife both started looking. She ended up finding a job first up here in Raleigh. And so I moved up here with her and Bueller Motor just so happened to have an opening that I went to go talk with them. And they were doing stuff that I was very interested in. We work on small electric motors that go into medical devices as well as small water pumps and auxiliary water pumps that go into GM vehicles, FCA vehicles, all these other sorts of vehicles. So they're a small time name, but, they've got a big, big foothold in the automotive industry as well. 

Chris: 07:41

Right. And in some way, still you're still tied to the automotive with Bueller. Sounds like, so you still, in that niche that you ultimately wanted to be in? 

Brett: 07:50

Oh yeah, for sure. 

Chris: 07:52

Very cool. So as an electrical project engineer at Bueller, what are you seeing in the future? What's coming down the pike, any challenges or things that you're working on? 

Brett: 08:01

Yeah, so I would say we're doing quite a lot of medical projects. And I would say obviously with this year being that it's been kind of a crazy year for medical things, with COVID and whatnot. We're getting quite a lot of visibility, I would say. And a lot more transparency when it comes to pharmaceutical and med tech development. Obviously everyone wants to be as cutting edge as possible and improve the technology for dispensing of product and medicines. And what have you. 

So, I feel like within our med tech segment, a large challenge is the higher level of visibility when it comes to all the development. We're working with startups, working with a large scale companies that are heavily invested in putting out product as quickly as possible.

And when you get into those sorts of situations, typical medical project, maybe before this year, they would want to do in five years or so. Well, after this year, people want to make sure that they're putting out product to compete in the marketplace. And so those projects are getting dialed back to one year, two year projects.

So you get in quite a lot of crunch there as well as the vetting of the technology and the vetting of the medicines themselves. It's a really big challenge, but I mean, it's exciting times. I would have to say the rapid development of everything, and as we've seen rapid development of vaccines and test and all that stuff this year it's been crazy. 

Chris: 09:34

Yeah. Is it more like your speed to market or just the whole, the process in general, just sounds like that's ramping up at a, a higher rate of speed than ever before. 

Brett: 09:45

Yeah, I would say a lot of it is the manufacturing aspect of it. A lot of the companies we work with , my company Bueller, we can do our own manufacturing lines, but we also work with third-party manufacturers as well to try to bring things to market as quickly as possible. Going out there, working with these manufacturers, man, it's, it's nut. A project like I said, that would typically take two-three years and they would have plenty of padding and trying to put out within a year.

So 50 week project and for an automated line, working with robotics and large-scale PLC implementation and whatnot. It's it's quite quite a challenge, but it's it's been an experience. 

Chris: 10:26

I sounds like it has, man. Now you are, do you find yourself you're? Are you traveling a lot working on these projects? Or is most of your work done here in the Raleigh area? 

Brett: 10:35

Yeah, so at the beginning of some of these projects, we typically do all our design work. And all of our initial meetings to hash out our process flows for the manufacturing lines and how we're actually going to put these products together.

All that's kind of done over the phone, the typical zoom calls, team calls and whatnot. But lately I have been traveling down to the manufacturing facilities and getting plenty of essential worker notices this year, to make sure I could travel. But I've been traveling around to Tennessee. I'm supposed to go out to Mexico later this year, which I've never been. So that'll be an experiences as well. I'm sure. 

Chris: 11:14

And I was going to ask you that for Bueller, where are the manufacturing? And I'm just not that familiar with the company. 

Brett: 11:19

Yeah. So Bueller used to have a facility out here in Kinston, North Carolina. And that was moved to down to Mexico and Chihuahua. So that's our major facility in North America, but we, our home office is in Nuremberg, Germany. So it's a German manufacturing company. We have facilities in Nurnberg and Monheim. And then we also have facilities in the Czech Republic as well as a ZhuHai China.

So, and in my role the guys have been telling me I'm supposed to kind of get out to all the facilities at one time or another, but due to COVID that's been pretty limited. 

Chris: 12:00

Yeah. I mean, I think you may have to make that China one a zoom only, you know? 

Brett: 12:04

Oh yeah, exactly. Right. Yeah. It's definitely a no-go.

Chris: 12:08

Right. Well, man, that sounds like it just opens you up a ton of different opportunities. So to expand your experience and meet a lot of new people. See a lot of new places as well. 

Brett: 12:17

Oh, yeah. I mean, one of the biggest things with working with these types of companies, big international companies that have their foot in so many places, is just the, the work culture is just so different and how people do do work and their life experiences are so much more different.

So us in America working on a project and then trying to work with our colleagues in Germany or in China, it's a. It's very different, college doesn't really prepare you for that level of cooperation and cross communication, I would say, but it's, it's invaluable once you have it.

And once you nailed it down and you really know how to operate on that level, I feel like that's a pretty valued skill to have. 

Chris: 13:02

I mean, speaking to that, that's a great point. So you're in manufacturing at a pretty large company. Cross the world got a lot of communication going, so speak to the young engineer. Maybe they're in college or coming out and they're getting ready to go into manufacturing. You just talked about it. 

There's a learning curve. Things they don't teach you. So what some advice that you'd offer up when it comes to the world that you're in that may help them better understand and appreciate how to make that transition.

Brett: 13:29

Yeah. So I would say coming out of college, a lot of engineers probably just aren't prepped or just aren't prepared. I would say for the level of cooperation, that's probably necessary in large scale manufacturing. I mean, no man or woman can really do any of these projects themselves when you're talking about such large scale.

So. Just getting around and being more open with people. Being able to talk to people is such a great thing. And, being flexible because I would say that this year at the beginning of the year, I was supposed to be working on quite a lot of other more heavily involved electrical aspects.

But due to COVID, I've been working a lot on plastic molding and, mechanical FEA analysis and all these other kind of things that I didn't necessarily go to college for, but I'm glad to learn and happy to lend my hand so to speak if the company allows it. And just all that kind of stuff is just not really...

For a young engineer, that's probably the best, thing. In my opinion, just be flexible. Be willing to talk to people. And at my company, everyone's so nice and willing to help you no matter what. And I experienced that at my previous job as well. If you're willing to go talk to somebody, that's has plenty of years of experience and you're actually putting in the effort and then that they can see that, they're gonna let you be a mentee under them, basically learn and take their knowledge base forward. So it's, it's probably one of the biggest things.

Chris: 15:04

On the cooperation part. You mentioned that word a couple of times, cooperation. And I hadn't really heard that speaking in the way that you're talking about right now, but I'm correlating that with you can't always think you're going to be the guy or the girl solving every problem. Really that teamwork is that what you're referring to and trying to guide people to think through, Hey, there's a bigger picture here and it takes a lot of people to make this happen. 

Brett: 15:31

Yeah, exactly. And so one of my biggest things that I kind of pride myself on within a company is to look outside of just the engineering realm as well. You know? Cause when you're working at a large company, you got to work with people from sourcing, people from quality, manufacturing guys themselves, operators , all the way up. You need to understand the business side of things as well, to understand where the company is going, with the new opportunities coming down the pipeline.

And so just learning about all these things and understanding that, when you're working at a good size company, there's a quite a lot of teamwork involved and quite a lot of just cross-functional cooperation, that's required. 

Yeah. Learning those soft skills, people skills and having a certain level of flexibility lends itself to that. And it also helps to put yourself in their shoes. I mean, you kind of have to understand what the sourcing guy is going through. When you just hand them a part that you've just designed and he's saying, Hey I need you to go source this out for me. Get the best price fastest timeline, all that jazz.

Chris: 16:40

That's right. 

Brett: 16:41


Chris: 16:42

That's all the stuff you didn't expect. You'd have to be doing, sitting through the engineering classes, right? 

Brett: 16:47

Oh, exactly. I mean, I feel like all engineers probably have their, their typical ethics classes, a few topics of business classes and whatnot. But once you get an industry, that's definitely stuff you learn very quickly.

Right, because at the end of the day, you're working out a business and it's all about, your deadlines and putting out product. 

Chris: 17:08

Well, I mean, speak to the engineer who maybe they're a senior now, or they just graduated or coming up on that. And, they have a perception about coming to work in industry. And maybe if you had a myth that you could debunk when it comes to what engineering really is versus what the, which you may think it is. Right. What would that be? 

Brett: 17:29

I would say one of the biggest myths I honestly had going into engineering is that all engineers are introverts. We're not willing to help others. I feel like a lot of people downplay that fact that a lot of engineers are more than willing to. I feel like all engineers are kind of geek out on technology and we like to learn stuff and we like to take things apart and learn with our hands and really get into it.

And so when you get into the profession, if you're doing something that you like and that you even remotely enjoy, that definitely comes across and you'll find people that are just as willing to do that with you. So one of the biggest things I found is when I got to my first job, young engineer right out of college.

I graduated on December 15th and I started work on the first of the year or right after the first of the year. Immediately the first thing that told me it was like, Hey, here's some tools, here's a couple of other guys that are new and a couple other guys that have been here for a few years.

You guys are going to go take apart some vehicles make them run again. Just go get your hands dirty. Learn how things work. Learn what it actually takes to build a product. 

Chris: 18:37


Brett: 18:38

So I feel like that sort of aspect of it is probably the biggest thing for somebody new is just be open and be willing and know that there's plenty of people out there that's gonna they'll take you by the hand. They'll guide you if you need it. 

Chris: 18:54

No doubt, no doubt. I mean, and we share similar story there too. I started two weeks after graduation. It kind of sounds like that's exactly what you did too. Just went straight to work and feet first and you jumped into it. And now you spoke a few times about being willing to ask for help and how important it is to work on a team and cooperate with others.

A lot when you're talking through that, that was making me think of mentors and people who have helped you along in your career. Th anybody stand out so far that has really helped you along the way and pushed you in, and maybe groomed you to the engineer that you are today. Yeah. 

Brett: 19:28

So I definitely had to two main key people that had mine Christopher Cosby and Luke O'Hare. So Chris Cosby was probably the nicest, most experienced electrical engineer I've ever had the pleasure to work with. He's a good old Southern boy from South Georgia. And he just knows his stuff, man. And he was more than willing it at all times to kind of just any question I had, he would be more than willing to explain it to me, sit down with me and just, get into it with me until we got it done.

And then a lot of times too, he kind of made me feel like a kinda like my second dad kind of thing. He always felt like my work dad. So we would go do things together. I'll work on all these projects together. We get to the end of a project, and he be like, Hey, go pull this by it, and he'd take a picture and he'd be like, look, we did it.

You know? And then we'd send those things into the marketing people, to just show that like, Hey, this is, our fresh engineers working on these projects making stuff for the company. So yeah. I definitely miss them. I still reach out to them when we go visit. So I see them every now and again. 

Chris: 20:41

Sounds like he made it a lot of fun for you. 

Brett: 20:43

Oh yeah, definitely. And like, to some extent, and they made me feel like a kid, almost like dads out there being like at a boys sport kind of thing, but it it definitely made it, made it good and always light hearted, you know?

And I feel like with engineering, especially when you're dealing with. A lot of pretty difficult decisions and working on very difficult projects that kind of brevity and levity is, is needed to a lot of extent. And then the other guy that I still talk to on a daily basis, he's one of my close friends now.

Luke is just, I don't know. He, he was a more recent grad as well. So he had been working there for two, three years. But he had a background working on like RC cars. He worked in hobby shops, like all throughout college and stuff. So he was heavily invested in small electric vehicles. And so at that facility, he was always willing to just get down with me and just get to work.

We take things apart, build a prototype vehicles. We'd go get down into the controls aspects of it and just like work through all the problems, actually do some hard maths to figure out different controls reactions and whatnot. Yeah, as I said, I still talk to him on a daily basis. Me and him was always trying to talk back and forth, share experiences currently right now, he works at John Deere. So 

Chris: 22:07

That down in Georgia? 

Brett: 22:09

Yeah,at the Agusta facility. So the manufacturing aspect of it, we share all the, our factoring stories, what we're kind of working on sort of thing. It's good to have those types of connections. 

Chris: 22:21

It is. It definitely is. It brings so much to your career and it's so important. It's so important. Every hero we've talked to on the show, man, they all speak to the importance of the mentors and what they've done for them. And just, it's so funny. Some of the stories I've heard people talk about, Hey, I got this next position in my career, just because of a conversation with a mentor, and doors open and the small world that we live in. And we, we talked about that at the beginning of this episode, you just never know. And it's always good to be pouring into someone else too, and trying to help them, you know? 

Brett: 22:58

Yeah. And it's always good to also have a soundboard because even if you're a hundred percent sure what you're about to do, it's always good to, to bounce ideas off another person. And if that other person is somebody you enjoy being around and someone you can trust and confide in, that's always better. 

Chris: 23:16

That's right. 

Brett: 23:17


Chris: 23:18

I'm looking at my executive producer right here right now. He's my, he's my sound board on a lot of this stuff.

There you go.

Well, very cool, man. Well, last work question then what we'll get outside of work. So as an electrical project engineer what gets you the most fulfillment? When you're doing work, that brings you a lot of joy. What are you doing in those moments? 

Brett: 23:37

And it's I would say I get my most fulfillment out of learning new things and then explaining it to people. When I was in college, I really want it to be a professor. And they had, several of my professors were trying to get me to stay and, do the PhD route kind of thing.

But I really wanted to go into industry. But just, go and talk to people and learning something that's not necessarily in my wheelhouse. But learning it and implementing it and actually using it. So, as I mentioned earlier, I worked on a lot of plastics, design and plastics just manufacturing this year, just because that was needed within our company.

And, at first I was kind of frustrated cause it's a lot of mechanical stuff. It wasn't didn't really feel like I was I could fully grasp it at the beginning. So it took me a little bit, it was a bit of a challenge. Well, once I got it, man, it felt, it felt amazing. And then I could go speak to the plastics guy themselves, talk about what sort of glass fills we want. What sort of structural rigidity you want, what sort of tests now we're going to implement and do on it, getting in with that lingo. 

Chris: 24:41

Well, I would think too, I mean, there's an understanding that lingo in that part of the process that can't do anything but help you on your side from electrical standpoint, at some point in down the road. 

Brett: 24:52

Oh yeah. Without a doubt. And I, when I came into this role as well, they, they kind of told me I would be doing a bit more mechanical stuff too.

And I was more than willing to be open with that because I've found throughout my short career so far, a lot of the engineering managers that I worked under having that background of being able to understand what, you're more electrical heavy, controls, electrical design development, as well as what the mechanical guys can do that makes it really good engineering manager. And that's kind of what I was trying to get up to. 

Chris: 25:25

No doubt, no doubt. We've had a couple of engineering managers on here and they talk about that importance of, being able to, kind of understand the multiple different facets of engineering, not, it's great to have those specialists that can go really deep in certain areas, but to be a really good engineering manager in a manufacturing plant, that diverse background and knowledge is so important. So it sounds like you're getting a lot of exposure to it. 

Yeah and I, I definitelyBrett: 25:52

feel blessed to a lot of extent, just the breadth, as you mentioned, just the experiences that have gotten to partake, just because there's just been so many various projects that come across my desk, so to speak and just so many travel opportunities to go see different facilities, to understand how other countries even manufacture stuff. And having that knowledge base is great when you're actually working on your own projects. 

Chris: 26:20

Well, selfishly speaking, I'm glad you took the industrial route instead of the academic. This is good. It's good to have folks like you out there in these plants, making these decisions and making manufacturing continue to grow in America, man. I mean, it's just a lot of fun. So, if you don't mind, let's talk a little bit outside of work. Is that okay?

Brett: 26:41

Yeah, that's fine. 

Chris: 26:41

Cool, man. So I know you're a young guy, you mentioned you're married. So what do you like to do for fun? Anything that you do personally, or do you and your wife have any hobbies you do together? 

Brett: 26:50

Yeah, me and my wife, we like to go hiking quite a lot, which felt like that was a bit more limited down in Augusta.

But now that we're up in Raleigh it's , we do it quite more often. So there's plenty of facilities to go to around the Raleigh area, as well as out in Ashville, you got your mountains in North Carolina. I don't think my wife was quite prepped for how outdoorzie I was willing to be, so we get out there and.

Chris: 27:13

Raleigh, you can go to over there, what Olmsted and hike forever. 

Brett: 27:17

Oh I konw. We, we go down to Neuse river and go, just hike along the river. And they got plenty of spots of that, where he can actually start climbing over stuff, trudging through the water and whatnot. 

Okay. Nice. 


Chris: 27:32

So what else, what else do you guys enjoy doing? Or any hobbies you have? 

Brett: 27:37

Yeah. So we're both really big foodies. And when out, when I started college actually approached my engineering guidance counselor, so to speak. And I asked him, I was like, would it be realistic if I could do a culinary arts minor and electrical engineer major. And they kind of laughed at me and they thought I was joking.

And I was like, well, I'm really not. I'm really interested in this sort of stuff. Yeah. And they told me that wouldn't be the brightest idea. 

Chris: 28:03


Brett: 28:04

But I I'm, I'm still super, super into it. So I, I just like you know, a lot of cooking as a lot of chemistry involved into it. And I mean, it's, when you cook and stuff, it's very similar to engineering.

I mean, you're trying to build up something, put out a really good product in my opinion. So we go to quite a lot of nicer restaurants around here. Raleigh has quite a lot to choose from, and we just like to experience the local cuisines and me and my wife cooks. She cooks way better than I do. I have to say, but we do try to make little fancy foods at our own house. Some restaurant quality stuff and. Yeah. 

Chris: 28:43

All right. Well just, just let me know when I can come over. I'll be, yeah, I'll bring a bottle of wine and we'll call it evening. There you go. Now you mentioned your wife, anything else about your family you'd like to share with us? 

Brett: 28:58

And so a lot of my family that actually a carpenter all on my mom's side. So I grew up in construction. I grew up, by the time I was three or four years old, they were giving me sledgehammers and helping with demo days, and doing all that kind of fun stuff.

So anytime I go down, they always ask me about, Oh, when you want us to come visit so we can work on your house, you know? 

Chris: 29:19

Right. So, 

Brett: 29:21

and I'm like, Hey man, I'll put you guys up for the week. Any place you want, you work on my house. So that's also 

Chris: 29:27

no doubt. 

Brett: 29:28

Yeah. But Yeah, everyone's still down home in South Louisiana. So we try to make it down there as often as we can. Obviously... 

Chris: 29:35

Some of that carpentry skills with growing up, are you a pretty good carpenter yourself? 

Brett: 29:40

I've tried to do woodwork and every now and then I can do a few things around the house. The biggest thing is that the tool investment, and store and all those tools, if you want to do a really good job, man, you gotta have the right tools and a good facility for it.


Being that we've moved around several times so far, my young career, I haven't really established a good workshop, so to speak, to do things out of quite yet, 

Chris: 30:04

You think that'd be a down the road one day? I mean, do you enjoy that kind of stuff? 

Brett: 30:08

Yeah. Once I have like some more time off, like right now I'm on holiday and, get out there and actually work on some projects. My wife has always asking me to work on stuff, cause she knows my family does it and we have quite a lot of furniture in our house that they they've built and I've helped build. And 

Chris: 30:26

yeah, so it's cool, man. 

Brett: 30:28

It's always a really cool thing to see, you get really nice pieces of furniture, some nice heavy woods and everything and granite tops and whatnot. And if you can do it yourself, save a bit of money, 

Chris: 30:40

If you can it's,   it's very therapeutic too. I mean, it's just something I've enjoyed doing woodworking from time to time. And but you're right, man, it's a big investment , but it's very fulfilling type work, man. I just, I enjoy that. So when you said that it really sparked interest. 

Brett: 30:56

Yeah. And I mean, like you said, therapeutic wise, it's just. Getting out there and getting to do stuff with your hands. I know my, as I mentioned, Luke earlier. Luke races vehicles and works on vehicles and he, constantly tells me, he was like, Oh, you need to get into the, working on car kind of type type of thing.

Cause you get to work with your hands so much. And I think to a lot of extent I've experienced a lot of engineers love to do a lot of hands-on stuff outside of work, not just that work. That keeps your brain moving your brain working so, 

Chris: 31:28

Very cool, man. Well, I started doing a lightening round on the show and it's random stuff. Now, some of these questions I'm interesting based off of some of your previous responses on where are you going to go, man? So it can be short. It could be one word answers or you can dive a little deeper if you like, but how about playing this with us?

All right. 

All right. Cool man. So this first one is I'm very excited to see what you're going to say, just based off of your earlier response. So what is your favorite food? 

Brett: 31:55

So my favorite food is oxtail. And if you've never had it, you really got to try it somewhere. Me and my wife, we cook it fairly often when it starts getting cold.

Chris: 32:03

Where would you find this ox tail? 

Brett: 32:06

So you can actually find it at Sam's clubs around the area. I found it in a couple of them, but usually you have to go down to farmer's markets and talk to actual cattle ranchers. And it's usually, yeah, it's usually a very limited supply because as you imagine, each cow only has one tail, right?

Chris: 32:24

Yeah. So, I mean, how does it, what's the texture like for an ox tail? 

Brett: 32:29

Yeah. So, so you got like a bone in the middle and you got quite a lot of. It's a bit of fat around the outside and it's just a lot of meat and that I think what we love about it so much, it's just, you took it down with some red wine, you braise it for quite a long time and it almost gets similar to short rib where you have your, your bone, your bone kind of adds a lot of flavor to it, all the all the juices and the it was out.

And it's just. Wow. Oh man, it's amazing. 

Chris: 32:56

I'm going to have to take your word on it, man. I haven't had it, had it yet, but I definitely would like to try it. So. All right. That's a favorite food. You threw me off with that one. How about a, a destination somewhere and you and your wife haven't been, but you'd like to go.

Brett: 33:09

So I I've actually got to travel for work to Taiwan and I can't imagine a lot of people have got to go to Taiwan, but I, I thought it was simply magical. It felt like a completely different world. Going over there, the culture everyone's so, so nice and so friendly. Just the rich amount of history to it.

Just everywhere you go. Everything so ancient feeling, but also new at the same time. And I got to go experience that for work luckily, and we were going to go this year. I was finally going to bring my wife with me. But COVID situations kind of lock that down 

Chris: 33:48

Yeah that through a wrench in a lot of, a lot of plans. All right. How about a favorite sports team outside of the Gamecocks? It can't be the Gamecocks, so 

Brett: 33:56

yeah, so I really liked Baltimore Ravens. And even, even though I'm from South Louisiana, so I, the saints in my NFC team, but I really like the Ravens cause my favorite color was purple and I don't like the Vikings.

So we decided, decided on the Raven. And it was a really big fan of Joe Flacco, even though he's kind of a goofy quarterback. And then they ended up winning the super bowl when I graduated high school. So I know I've been a super big fan since. 

Chris: 34:25

That's cool, man. I'm very good. How about a favorite movie? 

Brett: 34:29

Favorite movie? You like American psycho, I think it's called at the Patrick Bateman. 

Chris: 34:37

Okay. How about, how about TV show? 

Brett: 34:40

I think the office is always kind of a good go-to. 

Chris: 34:42

Can't go wrong with the office. Yeah. Yeah. That's right. 

Brett: 34:46

It's really good. You know, When you ain't got, you don't have a lot of other stuff going on, you just flip that on. You always get some good laughs out of it. 

Chris: 34:53

No doubt, man. Just love to stand it up. Just yelling I declare bankruptcy that just never gets old. 

Brett: 34:59

I said that yesterday. We were just talking about that. 

Chris: 35:04

But he didn't say it, he declared it. So it was a big difference, you know? So 

Brett: 35:07

tell them about sir. I don't think that's how that works. 

Chris: 35:11

How about pets? 

 Brett: 35:13

I have two pets. I have a cat and a dog both rescues. Me and my wife keep talking about getting another one. We had a nice facility down in Columbia, that was a non kill shelter. So if you adopted an animal from there, they would immediately adopt one from a kill shelter. And so it was like you saved two animals can. 

Chris: 35:34

Nice. That's very cool. All right. Last one in the lightning round you gotta take your wife out on a date. Where are you guys going? What are you doing? 

Brett: 35:42

So I would say we probably go down to a wine bar and they have a really good one, a little wine bar and wake forest. So that'd be up by you. It's in the little downtown area. Oh, what's the name of it? I think it's an unwind on white. That's what it's called it. It's a little bitty old building. And they just have like a, they have a rooftop bar, little seating area, and it's just a one story building.

So you just sit and just right above downtown. And then after that, we'd go, go to dinner at St. Jocks, which is a French restaurant. And Raleigh and it is the best.

Chris: 36:20

All right. 

Brett: 36:20

This is amazing. 

Chris: 36:21

All right. Very cool. You did great in the lightening round. I thought that was a lot of fun. We got to know a little bit more about you, which was very cool, man. You've been a great guest, Brett. I've really enjoyed talking with you. You're doing just phenomenal things in your career.

it pumps me up to get to talk to engineers like you, or just people like you in general, who are out there working in manufacturing, who are so passionate and we call it EECO Asks Why. It kind of gets down to the end of the show where we're talking about the passion. So what drives you? What would that be? 

Brett: 36:53

I think my why, and I kind of touched on this a bit earlier. It's just teaching others. I really like learning new things. And whether that be outside of just work, outside of just your heavy electrical or even engineering topics, as I mentioned, the food stuff, big breadth of food.

Like anytime we go down, eat at nice restaurants with other family members, always like being able to explain to people, a beer co ham, this is a special type of ham from Spain, just kind of the. Spreading knowledge to other people and just getting people up to speed with different things, expanding their mind kind of thing.

I feel like that's just wake up every day, willing to learn new things. Whether it be, I read quite a lot different history, politics, things of that nature. And so I like learning. I like teaching others. My wife constantly says she doesn't have to read the news or do anything because I'll just tell her about it. So 

Chris: 37:50

that's cool, man. Very cool. I, well, I mean, you have that servant heart, man. It'll take you a long ways. I mean, Thank you so much for taking the time with us here today on the show. And I think he brought a lot of insight and wisdom and hope for people out there to see how much fun you're having in your career. And we wish you nothing but the best in the future. 

Brett: 38:09

Thank you so much, man, it's been a pleasure. 

Chris: 38:12

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