WINONA LAKE – While there are a number of engineering colleges in Indiana, only one can be found in the Orthopedic Capital of the World.
Grace College’s engineering students have reaped a number of benefits from being in close proximity to engineering giants Zimmer Biomet and Depuy Synthes – the most influential of all being the industry experts who teach their courses and are regularly involved in their education.
“Among three industry experts alone, Nolan Jones, Allen Robinson and David Ray, students are afforded the chance to tap into 80-plus years of engineering knowledge and experience. Not to mention, they are weekly rubbing shoulders with individuals who could be their future employers. That is not something you get at all of the other engineering colleges in Indiana,” said Dr. Fred Wentorf, chair of the Department of Engineering.
Nolan Jones, development engineering manager in the Sports Medicine, Extremities, and Trauma division at Zimmer Biomet, teaches the Senior Design Project course for Grace on top of his full workload. The class is partnering with a South Bend start-up company to make improvements to a prosthetic hand.
“I am very passionate about this opportunity to teach,” said Jones, who has 13 years of experience at Zimmer Biomet. “This is a chance for me to share with a new generation of engineers what I have learned about how to use our gifts to serve others. That is what motivates me,” he said.
Another engineering expert making frequent appearances at Grace College is Allen Robinson.
Robinson, a prototype engineer at Depuy, has close to 30 years of industry experience and more than 35 years of experience with CNC equipment of many types. He even has his own machine shop. Robinson’s expertise has come in handy for students since the installation of a new CNC machine at Grace last fall.
“Robinson’s extensive knowledge with the machinery we train our students on has been invaluable. He works very hard to help enlighten students about what is being used on the manufacturing floor,” said Wentorf.
“I really enjoy seeing the students develop their creative problem-solving skills and using the math and science they have learned so that they can apply it in their future careers,” said Robinson.
Robinson helps with projects and lectures for the Advanced Manufacturing class alongside David Ray, the operational excellence director at Zimmer Biomet. Both Robinson and Ray volunteer their time to the class.
Ray, who has 34 years of engineering experience, provides Six Sigma Green Belt Training to the class which teaches students to be data-driven problem solvers in the workplace.
“I have been teaching Six Sigma for 21 of my 34 years as an engineer, but typically it is to engineers in the industry,” said Ray. “I was unsure of how the students would grasp the concepts without that experience. However, they really do! Many companies seek out workers with these skills, so to have this experience integrated into their bachelor’s degree in engineering really sets Grace students apart,” he added.
The senior students taking the Advanced Manufacturing class will graduate with Six Sigma Green Belt Certification.
Grace’s engineering program is overseen by an advisory council comprised of industry experts. Wentorf relies heavily on this council which meets quarterly to ensure that the school’s practices meet the demands of the field and prepare students for a successful career where they live out the department motto, “Engineered to Serve.”
Learn more about the bachelor’s degree in engineering at Grace at www.grace.edu/major/mechanical-engineering/.