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A Sweet Twist on STEM: Scenes from Weir Portland’s Take Your Child to Work Day

Thirty-three students of Weir ESCO families descend upon division headquarters for an immersive STEM experience

9 May 2023

Children, ages 8-18, joined the fun for a jam-packed agenda focused on teaching how ESCO products are designed, made and used in mining and construction markets. Some activities required team collaboration, while others let individual strengths shine.

What can you teach 33 students when you task them to scoop and load 34 pounds of candy with a small excavator bucket?

As it turns out, a lot. Candies in various shapes and sizes replicate the minerals dug by earthmoving machinery that ESCO products equip.       

Putting this sweet twist on a technical concept was part of Weir Portland’s creative approach to Take Your Child to Work Day (TYCTW Day) on 27 April.

The company opened its doors to students ages 8-18 so they could learn more about their parents’ jobs, see how ESCO products are designed and used, and meet the people who make them.   

Fun, immersive experiences like TYCTW Day are essential in encouraging students to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as potential careers. Students leaned into several STEM principles to build, break and make things—kind of like what our teams do every day to create the best technology, shared Chris Carpenter.

“I love events like this, because we get to share the exciting and meaningful work we do with others and with our families,” said vice president of innovation & technology and executive sponsor.

As a top mining engineering firm, Weir ESCO continually looks for opportunities to increase access to engineering, the trades and related disciplines. To craft an experience for these aspiring students and their families, it took 30 volunteers from various departments—products & engineering, manufacturing operations, innovation & technology, sales and human resources. Engaging employee speakers added to the experience by highlighting what Weir ESCO does best in design engineering, operations and materials science.

After a brief introduction was shared by host Yesenia Meraz-Torres, students rolled up their sleeves from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to rotate through five activities. For “Operation Build a Bridge,” they worked in small groups to learn about forces and load distribution to construct the sturdiest design.

At the casting booth, ESCO engineers showed how to manufacture mining parts, but on a smaller scale. Precision and focus were required to build a pocket-sized bucket.

Stepping inside the Plant 3 foundry, students caught a glimpse of the processes used to make steel castings. And, those with a sweet tooth delighted in the chance to load the most candy using a model excavator bucket.

Special thanks and appreciation goes to the colleagues who helped orchestrate this year’s event. Take a look at the range of reactions in the interactive photo gallery below, featuring snapshots from the day’s activities and memorable feedback from students and their families.

Weir Portland’s Take Your Child to Workday 2023

33 students
30 volunteers
5 guest speakers
5 activities

-Build a Bridge
-Foundry Tour
-Candy Mine
-Build a Bucket
-Casting Booth

34 pounds of candy
172 grams maximum candy payload
917 pounds applied to sturdiest bridge design before failure
0 tears
100% fun

PHOTO GALLERY (Click to view photos)

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