Our “Meet the Team” series profiles the creative and curious people of First Mode. We are driven to find purposeful technology solutions to the world’s most important challenges. We take our work seriously but ourselves not too seriously. Want to work with us? View our open positions.
“The overall feeling when I talk about First Mode is optimism. We feel like we can do anything once we put our minds to it. It’s pretty amazing.” – Aaron
What do you do at First Mode Centralia?
I am a mechanical engineer in the interconnect group for our hydrogen power module project. Anything to do with an electrical box, wire harness, routed system, or an electrical connector, I do that.
What drew you to First Mode originally?
I’m a hands-on engineer. I like to work toward an outcome and am action oriented. I also like working with people who enjoy not only designing but building hardware too. There are many people here with that type of experience, and we have a nice community of designers and builders.
I have learned more here since March 2020 than I did in the prior eight years. The team’s intellectual deliverables are emphasized as much as the hardware deliverables. Our thought process is important.
First Mode is designed for people to be collaborative. We can throw out crazy ideas and not feel stifled.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I’m excited to work with a very intelligent group of people. I have the opportunity to learn from them, and they from me. Being exposed to the new technologies we are building has been very fulfilling.
The overall feeling when I talk about First Mode is optimism. We feel like anything is possible once we put our minds to it. It’s pretty amazing.
How did your passion for engineering and tech begin?
I have known I would be an engineer since I was six years old, as I was always tinkering in the garage. My birthday and Christmas presents growing up consisted of tools I would circle in whatever tool catalog that was lying around. Growing up, my dad would bring home broken industrial equipment and we’d spend time together putting it back together.
My dad was so influential — he was always building and fixing things, most of the time turning something that no one wanted into something great.
Do you have a motto?
I have two: 1) If it was easy everyone would do it. 2) Anything worth having is worth working for.
What do you think is the most significant discovery or human endeavor of the last few years?
Commercialized space flight. So many inventions and technologies have come from solving the huge challenges related to Space travel. Another one would be advancement in manufacturing techniques. Things like new composites and 3D printing. Taking an idea to reality is much faster now than it was 10 years ago.
Why does it matter that we keep inventing, testing, creating?
It’s important that we continue to try and improve the human condition, but with new emphasis on the resources we are using to do so.
I encourage my kids to consider their impact on others and encourage them to extract something great every day. Find some enjoyment from what you do so that you won’t regret your career choices, and don’t neglect building relationships with people you work with.
What does your typical day look like?
I’m up by 6:30 a.m. with the kids, we have breakfast, and I’m usually at my computer by 8 a.m. getting my day kicked off before meetings begin. I try to focus on personal goals at lunch (which sometimes means mowing the lawn, quite honestly). After 5 p.m. it’s back to time with kids until their bedtime, then I’ll have some intellectual time to think about work or spend time in the shop. I’m a consummate tinkerer.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
I’m pretty social within our neighborhood. Before the pandemic, my wife and I enjoyed hosting events like our fall cider press party. I’m also involved with our HOA and our kids’ schools. We love the outdoors, camping, and boating. We’re looking forward to getting back on the water once the weather gets nice again.