Class of 2019 graduate Patrick Marshall Regan is a manufacturing engineer who works in the Life Sciences Division for the medical manufacturing company NN Inc. He chose NIU for its proximity to home, so he could continue to work part-time jobs, but still feel some independence from home. He first enrolled at NIU as a mechanical engineering major, but the hands-on applied courses in manufacturing engineering that included CAD, machining and tooling appealed to him so he changed his major. Regan recommends that students look into the growing field of manufacturing engineering as a career.
“Engineering Tech gives you the opportunity to learn a lot of relevant information throughout the curriculum that you will definitely use in a career. Applied skills through Tech 262 (Machine Production Processes) and 211 (Computer-Aided-Design) give you plenty of skills that are sought after for intern roles and these courses are taken early on. It wouldn’t be hard to pick up an internship and start learning some real-world applications by the end of your sophomore year.”
Regan said that the courses he took helped prepare him for his job. Specifically, he mentioned included the manufacturing series (Tech 262, 362, 462), which gave him machining and programming experience. Tech 211 (Computer-Aided-Design) and 311 (Advanced Computer-Aided Modeling) provided CAD experience. Tech 312 (Design Dimensioning and Tolerancing) provided experience in GD&T. Industrial Quality Control (Tech 391) helped formed a manufacturing mindset for Regan.
“I enjoyed Tech 462 (CNC Production Programming) the most because programming and machining parts with a CNC was my greatest interest, but Tech 484 (Energy Management) challenged me to really dive deep into energy conversion, waste, and efficiency,” he said. Tech 326 (Fluid Power Technology) and 369 (Strength of Materials) were a lot of hard work as well. There’s definitely plenty of courses to pick your brain in this major!”
He continued to say that he enjoyed the challenges that the professors presented to him, and he particularly appreciated professors Charlie Ruetsche, Joseph Bittorf and Jonathon Merritt for their industry experience.
“They are genuinely really good at what they do,” he said. “These three were extremely helpful and personally inspiring to work hard at this degree.”
“I wouldn’t be working where I am today if it weren’t for Charlie Ruetsche. He was a great mentor and really put in the effort to see that the ones who worked hard would get an opportunity somewhere,” said Regan. “He, among other staff I have mentioned, greatly prepared me for where I am today. All of the fundamentals of my job were covered in the curriculum.”
“NIU was good to me,” he said. “The campus offered everything I needed. Greek Life was definitely a key factor in making me who I am today. From the leadership roles and networking within, to the service and community/campus involvement throughout. NIU has a great culture in its students. The football games at home are a lot of fun too if you get there early.”