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Making an Impact as an Early-in-Career Engineer

"I think ITW is so interesting and unique because it is decentralized - that is one part of the company that initially really drew me in. I love the benefits of working for a large, global company, but also feeling the family-like culture within my business unit." – Charlie Pryor, Applications Engineer, Instron

For Charlie Pryor, Applications Engineer at Instron, a typical day centers around making sure Instron’s customers have the best-possible testing solutions for their needs. Charlie is passionate about every aspect of his role and has used ITW to build a global network for himself, while working in a business that feels like family.

What is a typical day in your role like?

As an Applications Engineer, I serve as a technical expert on both the products we manufacture and the industries we serve. This role is uniquely broad and requires our assistance with sales, marketing and engineering efforts. Our goal is to leverage our expertise to facilitate sales growth, drive marketing efforts, create internal and external content, and finally provide insight and assistance to the development of new products.

A typical day in the life of an Applications Engineer can have a wide range of tasks and responsibilities. On average, about 80 percent of my time each day is spent supporting our sales team with technical questions or custom content, as well as performing testing for customers in our applications lab to instill confidence in both our machines and our company, with the goal of achieving new sales opportunities. The other 20 percent of my day is spent reviewing new machine orders and assisting our engineering and marketing teams.

What are some exciting or unique parts of your job?

One of the most exciting parts about my job is the testing that we get to do in our applications lab. Often times our customers are looking to test a new product, but they are not quite sure how, and it is part of our job to help find a feasible solution for testing. I love the assortment of specimens that we get sent here for testing. You never know what is going to come next, which really keeps the job interesting and has you always learning about new types of testing and products.

How do you make an impact in your role?

I think the biggest impact that my team and I have is providing testing solutions for all different types of customers in different industries. Almost every product on the market has to undergo some type of testing at one point before or during production, and it is such an amazing feeling to look at different products in the world and think about all the machines and fixtures we have provided customers to help test these products.

What advice do you have for people to make the most of their careers?

ITW’s Young Professionals Network (YPN) was a huge part of my career early on. It is an impactful way to connect to other young professionals throughout the company, while being exposed to senior management. YPN allowed me to see other paths people took in their careers, which ultimately helps me define my goals and personal career path going forward. I think anyone looking to jumpstart their career needs a strong network, and YPN really gave me that from the first day of my job at ITW.

Have you had any mentors at ITW?

My first manager at ITW was a great mentor to me. He really helped me to learn the ropes of the business. He was very personable and taught me how to do the best job possible and to do so well in my role that I could teach it to others. One thing that really stood out about him was that he had an unwavering team mentality, and it is something I try to emulate every day.

What is the best thing about working at ITW?

I think ITW is so interesting and unique because it is decentralized – that is one part of the company that initially really drew me in. I love the benefits of working for a large, global company, but also feeling the family-like culture within my business unit. ITW has thousands of employees around the world, but within my business there are about 300, and we all know each other, watch out for each other and want everyone to succeed.