Tomas Guillen, a 25-year-old employee at Patti Engineering, joined the latest episode of the Gen Z in Manufacturing podcast to discuss his journey to becoming a controls engineer.
"Gen Z in Manufacturing" explores the perspectives of young professionals in the manufacturing industry and delves into their experiences, career growth and what attracts them to their respective companies.
Guillen admitted he was not aware of the controls engineering field. He discovered the industry at a college career fair, where he met a controls engineer from Georgia-Pacific. An internship with the manufacturer sparked Guillen's interest in the field, and he later interned twice with Patti Engineering, a company that integrates automation, robotic and digitalization technologies in industrial facilities.
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Guillen's internships with Patti convinced him to join as a full-time employee.
"I was very interested in Patti Engineering because it's a unique controls engineering opportunity," Guillen said. "You are constantly being presented with new learning opportunities. The rate that I have been learning with this type of job has been just tenfold compared to even if I was just a controls engineer at one factory."
After more than three years with Patti, Guillen's duties have grown to handling his own project, where he is choosing the hardware, drafting the electrical design and making necessary PLC changes for an electrical panel that will be interacting with new equipment on a factory floor.
Guillen, a Texas A&M University graduate, is among a new generation of Aggie alums in their mid to upper 20s recently hired by Patti. Guillen explained how he thought he needed extensive expertise for his first job. However, Patti emphasized adaptability and problem-solving, which is the mentality Guillen advises manufacturing employers to adopt.
"I guess just put an emphasis on, 'We will train you,'" Guillen said. "Because that is the scariest thing. There's some type of pressure that when you approach a controls engineering job that you must have an extensive knowledge on all of this various hardware and everything — how it works together. So if these manufacturers put more effort into saying, 'Hey, of course, knowledge is preferred, but we want to see what you're capable of once we put you to the test.'"
If you are a member of Gen Z and would like to discuss your experience in the manufacturing industry, please contact Nolan Beilstein at [email protected].