I didn’t always know I wanted to be an engineer.

Growing up, my dad had hopes for me to pursue a career in electrical engineering while I was busy making other plans to be a professional baseball player. Even when I entered college, I started down the path of general literature, science, and arts, because I wanted to give myself room to explore something I was interested in, something I was good at, and most importantly for me, something that could enable me to make a difference in the world.  I was like lots of other kids – not sure how I wanted to spend “the rest of my life.”

As it turns out, my dad was on to something. But in true engineer fashion, I needed to test it myself: it took a bit of trial and error and ruling out all other options before realizing that electrical engineering was the perfect fit for me.  

Now, as a 34-year veteran in the robotics and automation industry, and new director of engineering for The Tyson Manufacturing Automation Center (TMAC), I tell this story because one of the things I’m most passionate about is encouraging kids who have an interest in STEM and providing resources for them to explore the possibilities that exist within the field.

The grand opening of TMAC is not only part of Tyson’s innovation journey, but also a way to make an impact in the Northwest Arkansas community.

While the center provides space for the development of new manufacturing solutions, collaboration with suppliers and training on new technology that will help advance our business, one aspect I’m most excited about is the opportunity to engage with local schools in order to develop engineers of the future.

In unison with the announcement of TMAC’s grand opening, we’ve also donated $15,000 to the Don Tyson School of Innovation—a school that focuses on STEM and embraces flexible, project-based learning—to help the school’s robotics team travel to Dubai this year to compete in an international event that brings together the best and brightest STEM students from across the globe.

This is just one example of the community outreach we have planned, and I’m looking forward to further collaboration with local schools in developing programs that will provide kids the much needed resources and support to pursue a career in STEM.

I didn’t always know I wanted to be an engineer.

But I am excited to be an active participant in the development of “Industry 4.0,” the newest revolution in manufacturing, and also to encourage the next generation of engineers.  I would say that being an engineer was the perfect path for me.

As cheesy as it sounds, I wake up every morning before my alarm clock goes off because I’m inspired by what I do. I found something I was interested in, something I’m good at, and something that allows me to make a difference.

Director of Engineering, Technology Development at