Please meet Andrew (Drew) Hines, Senior Application Engineer and Team Lead at ACS Motion Control. Drew joined the ACS USA team over 7 years ago and has continued to exceed expectations as he supports customers with their most challenging requirements. To hear more about Drew’s experience at ACS, please visit our blog to read the full interview.
Drew, How did you hear about the position at ACS?
My resume was listed on the University of Minnesota’s GoldPass site. ACS was looking for an Applications Engineer, and I actually was contacted directly by the General Manager of ACS’s USA office while I was still in school, he reached out to me to see if I was interested in an interview.
I was immediately attracted to the position both because of the work done at ACS and the size of the company. I was also most interested and very excited in the opportunity to travel. I went to college near where I grew up and had not had much opportunity to travel, either in the US or abroad. I have now had the chance to cross the Atlantic and Pacific several times and have checked most of the 50 states off of my “to visit” list.
Please share your main challenges as you entered the position 7 years ago.
Transitioning out of the academic world and into the professional one took a bit of getting used to. That changed quickly when, just after I had been with ACS for one year, an opportunity opened, and I was given to cover all our US customers. I was pushed into the deep end and had to learn a lot of things very quickly to handle that situation. This gave me the exposure to so many different types of applications that I would not have seen by that time otherwise.
What do you like most about your job?
My favorite thing to do in this job is to travel to a customer site and work through the setup and tuning of stages, and then help with algorithm development. I really enjoy being hands on with a machine, where I can see and hear everything that is happening with it firsthand. Taking a system in a “blank” state and getting it to do everything a customer needs to do is very satisfying. Also, we have so many customers in so many fields that going onsite to different facilities has exposed me to so much cool technology.
Please describe one of your most memorable workdays.
Going off of my “cool technology” comment, a day that will always stick with me was my very first onsite visit. Our GM brought me to a customer who made CT scanners. I was expecting a medical scanner, but what this customer was making was a scanner for nuclear cooling pipes, so rather than a person sized machine I walked into a room with a 30-40 foot tall one instead. I was even more impressed when they showed me that it was so well balanced that I could move the turn table by hand. There was almost 2 tons of equipment on that table, and it wasn’t even that hard to spin. That was one of the most impressive things I have ever seen, and it made for an amazing introduction to the world of systems that we interact with.
How do you feel as though you are fulfilling your potential within ACS?
I have been given many opportunities to advance myself and my skillset as an engineer during my time at ACS. It is very important to me to continue to learn and apply new concepts in control systems design, and I continue to have those chances here. I have been able to attend trainings, classes, and seminars all over the world, and have been able to put many of the new things I have learned to use in my day-to-day work.
Where do you feel the most prominent connections to the characteristics of the company (Advancing Technology, Collaborative Culture, Striving for Growth) and how so?
Being on the front lines of our customer support, I feel a very strong connection to Advancing Technology. I deal directly with customers developing cutting edge systems that demand the highest levels of performance. I can see where we succeed or where we need to advance and can provide that feedback to our Marketing and R&D teams to help push our technology to meet the needs of even the most demanding of customer applications.
How do you think ACS is unique to other companies?
I think we are unique in the amount of collaboration we have with colleagues all over the world. Of course, there are many companies out there that have offices all over the world, but I don’t know of others where you work with people in those global offices on a near daily basis. I have regular meetings that involve people from the US, Israel, Germany, and China, and we all have the opportunity to present the things we’re working on and use the expertise of our international colleagues to help in coming up with solutions for our customers.