Ron Born, a design engineer in our Decatur Office, has been with Align Production Systems for 30 years. We’re lucky to have him and happy to announce his partial retirement. Congratulations, Ron!

We sat down with Ron to hear about his experience in the field and hopefully gain some of his wisdom:

Q: How were things different when you first started working in this field?

A: “When I first started as a design engineer, there were no computers, which made for a much more hands-on, time-intensive process. All our project drafts were sketched on paper and every calculation had to be done by hand.

All communications with our clients were done by snail mail, including initial drafts, the subsequent edits, and any custom requests from the client. This made for a lengthy process from start to finish.

All this changed about five years later, with the introduction of the AutoCAD, a software on which our engineers still design their projects today. This changed everything, as we were now able to design, calculate, and make edits automatically, saving a lot of time.
Around the same time, email was introduced, which completely changed the workflow and our customer communication process for the better.”

Q: What have been some of your most memorable jobs?

A: “I’ll always remember my very first job. It was with Griffith MicroScience – today is known as Sterigenics International. We were tasked with making something to transport and load medical equipment into an autoclave for sterilization and went with a transporter. Over the years, I’ve worked on more transporters than I could ever remember, but I’ll never forget my first project.

Another memorable job I worked on was a collaboration with AeroJet to make position booster equipment for NASA. Working with such a high-stakes client really piles on the pressure, but the end result is even sweeter knowing you helped such an important client achieve their goals.”

Q: What are your favorite aspects of being a design engineer?

A: “Something that makes design engineering at Align so exciting is the variability in the work. The breadth of projects I’ve worked on over the last 30 years is endless, from transporters, to pallets, to one-of-a-kind custom projects that I never thought were possible. The pace is changes every day, which has taught me to expect the unexpected and keeps me coming back.

It’s also been great to see the drastic improvements in the field over my lifetime. I can’t imagine what the next innovation will be, but I can imagine if you ask the younger engineers this same question 30 years from now, they’ll tell you the field is completely different from where they started.”