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Telecommunications Engineers

Profiles of two young engineers in the telecommunications industry

By the editors of gecc



Chasing the Crocodile Hunter

Name: Chad Hoyle
Company: Duke Energy, (IM/Telecommunications Division)
Job Title: Engineer
Education: B.S. in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University (December 1996)

1) How long have you been at your job and what do you do there?
“I have been an employee of Duke Energy since I graduated from North Carolina State University in December of 1996. I work in Telecommunications, which is a subgroup of the Information Management division. So far, Duke Energy has given me the opportunity to work in two different telecommunication product lines. The first two years of my career I worked in a product line called Circuit Design, which included voice systems engineering. Much of that time was spent evaluating new time division multiplexing equipment and ordering circuits for wide area networks or WANs.

Through the WAN work done in Circuit Design, I gained exposure to data networking. My next career step, two years ago, was into data network support, where I currently hold a position. I help support a multivendor, multinational data network that spans the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and Australia. This support includes troubleshooting outages on the enterprise wide and local area networks, and analyzing network performance issues.”

2) What one thing do you know now that you wish you could have known in your past?
“I believe in order to build a strong future, you have to know what has occurred in the past—as in before my time and before my father’s time. I wish that I had taken more classes in early American history. My wife and I try to make a trip down to Charleston, S.C., at least once a year. The city is rich in Civil War history, and I find myself being intrigued by that era.

3) What is the best and worst career advice you’ve ever received?
“I don’t know about the worst, but the best career advice I ever received was to take advantage of the co-op program at my university. I took five and a half years to complete my college education because I co-oped, but I would not change anything if I had to do it over again. That’s how I came to work at Duke Energy.”

4) What advice do you have for students interested in your field?
“Finish the final mile on the journey to becoming an engineer. Complete the requirements needed to obtain a Professional Engineer Certification. There doesn’t seem to be a tremendous amount of pressure in the telecommunications field for a graduate of an engineering school to pursue the certification, but it is a shame to see an engineering student study and work so hard for four or five years only to stop just short of being recognized by the state as a certified engineer.”

5) How do you relieve frustration with your job?
“I use three release valves throughout the workday to relieve frustration and stress that accumulate with my job. The first comes around lunch. After spending all morning checking and responding to pressing email/voicemail messages, I go across the street to the YMCA and run.

By the end of the workday, my head is about to split open from analyzing data network traffic or from arguing with a wide area network circuit provider. I receive my second release during my 45-minute drive home when I listen to my wife talk about her day over my PCS phone, using a hands-free set, of course.

The third and final stress release that I use each day is to look for new ways to make my new baby boy smile. After that, the only stress left is the constant thought of ‘What’s in the diaper?’ and ‘Is he finished?’”

6) If they made a movie about your life and work, what would it be called and whom would you want to be the star?
“The movie would be called Old Steel and would star Harrison Ford as me in my late forties or early fifties. The plot of the movie would be about a middle-aged engineer who lives in a small town but works in the big city, is a part-time Mustang enthusiast and still dreams of running his own business someday. If anyone could make an engineering job look like a position with the CIA, it would be Harrison Ford. He’ll need to work on his southern accent though.”

7) What’s wrong with the world? What’s right with it?
“The biggest wrong with the world is our lack of compassion and kindness toward our fellow man. There are those of us, myself included, who get so consumed with a career and personal items that we become greedy with our time when there are needy people in our community who could benefit from a small fraction of our time. I’m trying to change by looking for ways that I can help through my church. Duke Energy offers opportunities for employees to give their time to improving their community through projects called Global Service Events.”

8) Who or what would you like to be reincarnated as?
“If reincarnation was real, I would like to come back as a crocodile in captivity at the Australia Zoo. I would be at the top of the food chain and would entertain kids for years to come by chasing Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, around the enclosure just after gulping down a whole chicken. That would be cool.”

9) What do you do for fun?
“After looking at a computer monitor all day at the office, the last thing I want to do is go home and stare at my home PC, so I get out my wrenches and screwdrivers to play mechanic. I have a 1966 inline six Mustang Coupe.”

10) What cartoon or sitcom character do you most identify yourself with?
“I would have to say Tim Allen on Home Improvement. I get excited about power tools and the possibility of knocking down an unwanted wall. I don’t, however, have a bearded sidekick who likes to wear flannel.”

11) If there’s one thing my colleagues don’t know about me, it’s this:
“I’m terrified of needles or the sight of my own blood being withdrawn. There are certain precautions that I have to take like lying down, turning my head, using a cool damp cloth and drinking a cold Coke. It’s not the sting of the needle prick that bothers me. It’s the thought of a foreign object being introduced under my skin, where it doesn’t belong, that trips a breaker in my mind.”

Belly Dancing the Code Away

Name: Irma Briand
Company: Harris Corporation (Government Communications Systems Division)
Job Title: Telecommunications/Software Engineer
Education: B.S. in computer engineering from the University of Central Florida (August 2000)

1) How long have you been at your job and what do you do there?
“I have been a software engineer with Harris Corporation since April 2001. I work in the Communications Software department where my current assignment involves writing/modifying the code generated by a software tool for messages used by signal generators. On this assignment, I have learned a lot about the SimpleNetwork Management Protocol (SNMP).”

2) What one thing do you know now that you wish you could have known in your past?
“I wish I had been more knowledgeable on how to utilize the online resume services..”

3) What is the best and worst career advice you’ve ever received?
“Best: Study industry trends and acquire the necessary skills to stay marketable. This can be accomplished by checking out the job sites of major employers and reading magazines like Graduating Engineer.

Worst: Start looking for work after graduation.”

4) What advice do you have for students interested in your field?
“Stay on top of what skills major employers are looking for so that you are a highly sought after candidate.”

5) How do you relieve frustration with your job?
“I pop my favorite CD in my computer.”

6) If they made a movie about your life and work, what would it be called and whom would you want to be the star?
“Always Up For The Challenge! starring Sigourney Weaver. The story would be about a girl that managed to fulfill her dream to graduate against all odds. Even though she finds herself in a new city with no friends, no support and a lot of financial difficulties, she manages to persevere to see her dream become a reality.”

7) What’s wrong with the world? What’s right with it?
“Wrong: The fact that girls at a young age are not encouraged to enter the engineering field.

Right: The high-tech revolution.”

8) Who or what would you like to be reincarnated as?
“I would like to come back as Katarina Witt. Ice skating takes a lot of coordination, which is something I would like to improve on.”

9) What do you do for fun?
“Go to the beach.”

10) What cartoon or sitcom character do you most identify yourself with?
“I identify with the Ally McBeal character because although she is smart in both life and love but still has her ups and downs. It is very similar to my roller coaster ride.”

11) If there’s one thing my colleagues don’t know about me, it’s this:
“I’m learning how to belly dance!”

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