New Ohio State Lima engineering technology program builds local ties
An Ohio State Lima student in the campus’ new engineering program got a close up look at one of Lima’s top manufacturing facilities that few get a chance to see.
Prior to the start of autumn semester, Nick Vulgamott spent the day at General Dynamics Land Systems of Lima investigating what his future could look like when he graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology.
Brian Westerfield, section manager of manufacturing engineering at General Dynamics, took Vulgamott through the plant, letting him investigate the different manufacturing processes and how the 30 engineers in his unit support those processes, including tooling design, tooling build, robotic welding and other new technologies.
“It was most exciting to find out how the fabrication and implementation of the components all come together to one,” Vulgamott said. “I like to look at how everything can start from step one to completion and they showed me most of the components that go to that.”
Building combat vehicles like the Abrams tank and the Stryker 8-wheel vehicle from start to finish in one facility means there were a lot of components to combine and coordinate. For Westerfield, the variety adds to excitement of being an engineer.
“I love how dynamic it is. I get to do something new every day,” Westerfield said. “There’s always a challenge to go solve problems in manufacturing. Trying to make the process more efficient, implementing new technology, that’s always really fun. We’ve got some really quality people that work in the engineering group that develop some really innovative solutions to some of the problems that we’re facing.”
Having the engineering technology program at Ohio State Lima allows Vulgamott to stay local and build meaningful relationships within the community that he hopes will lead to an in-demand job like those at General Dynamics.
“I am grateful for this opportunity on the regional campus,” Vulgamott said. “I am able to start local and stay local and have these enriching experiences throughout all these manufacturing plants through Ohio right here in my home turf.”
Vulgamott is one of the recipients of the General Dynamics Land Systems Scholarship fund, which was established in 2003 to support students at Ohio State Lima pursuing an engineering degree. With the addition of the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology, students like Vulgamott will be moving through the program in Lima, working as interns and eventually taking their places in the ranks of engineers that make the manufacturing sector hum.
“The engineering technology program from Ohio State is preparing their students to face real world challenges in the manufacturing field and not just those who want to be design or mechanical engineers but true manufacturing engineers that have those qualities that can bring them to industry and implement the new technologies, implement the new processes while understanding the engineering behind the product,” Westerfield said. “They are developing their engineers to be leaders and future managers, which is important because you need people that are technically sound who know the products and the processes to lead the next generation of engineers.”