ESCO Engages Blog

From Student to Mentor: Weir ESCO Guides Next Generation of Engineers

by Eugene Havenga

More people are turning to a critical relationship to enact positive change: their employer. The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer suggests that employees look to their organizations as a key partner in shared community action and personal empowerment.

Ever since joining Weir ESCO’s engineering/product team nearly seven years ago, I have seen firsthand how dedicated the company is to mentoring and coaching the next generation of engineers. Weir ESCO’s commitment to mentoring the next generation is a cause I am personally and professionally empowered to drive forward.

As a mechanical engineering student, I was an active member of the Baja SAE teams from 2008 to 2011 while attending the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Almost a decade later, I am now on the other side of the table. I am proud to provide mentorship and guidance with the Baja team locally and overseas. 

While there are numerous opportunities to get involved with local student groups and organizations, Weir ESCO Engages with local universities and their engineering programs through the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) student events, particularly their Baja and Formula racing competitions. 

You may be aware that many of our local universities have Baja or Formula SAE teams, sponsored by their schools and outside partners like Weir. These teams design, build, test, promote and compete with a vehicle within the limits of the competition rules. As an alumni of the Baja SAE program, I can speak to the value and direct experience it provides young engineers in preparing them for their first engineering jobs out of college.

Each year, I join my colleagues in giving back to the program that originally connected me to this company. We get to serve in a variety of capacities, mainly through mentorship and coaching the next generation of Baja SAE teams. In the last couple of years, I served as a judge during the competition.

Last month, it was exciting to learn about Oregon State Baja SAE team’s first place win at the 2019 Baja Tennessee competition using parts we created for their vehicle.

One of our design engineers and OSU Baja SAE alum, Steven Hyde, is as passionate as I am to see Weir ESCO support the racing teams each year. Steven worked with our gaging group to provide this year’s winner with laser scanned parts using our 3D printing capabilities, as well as wing molds and splines, which we cut in our Hank Swigert Center for Innovation.

In addition to our work with the Oregon State team, we provide year-round coaching for engineering students at the Oregon Tech Portland-Metro Campus in Wilsonville, including their new engineering lab.

I appreciate that Weir ESCO gives back to a cause that is meaningful to its employees, including me. As we continue to grow, expand and diversify our team, we remain committed to giving back to the next generation of engineers.

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