For engineer's week we sat down with one of Holland's amazing engineers that help us with a variety of projects throughout the company. Ben Byma has been with Holland since 2013 and works within our equipment business unit.
What did you originally want to be when you grew up?
I think I hit the whole gamut of childhood career aspirations at one point or another—astronaut, fireman, athlete, rock star, superhero, etc.
Where did you go to college and what led you there?
I went to Calvin College (now University) in Grand Rapids, MI. I have some family & friends that went there, and I knew it had a good engineering program. I really liked the campus & programs and west Michigan is a pretty cool part of the country to live for a few years.
What was your major / why did you choose engineering?
I majored in Mechanical Engineering. I think engineering is like a combination of all the childhood dream jobs in one field.
What led you to Holland?
A friend sent me a job posting for Holland while I was working as an engineer at a company in NWI that made parts for heavy equipment OEMs. Despite living in this area most of my life (except college), I’d never heard of Holland. I checked out the website & thought it looked pretty cool, so I applied. When I came in for an interview, I was impressed with how much stuff Holland did. I had always liked big machines and heavy equipment, so it seemed like a great fit.
What are some of your usual day to day job duties?
I’m in the process of transitioning from a position in our equipment design team (HEBU) to a role in the Research & Test Lab (MOW), working with Julio Gomez and for Nick Martino. In that role I’ll work with various groups at Holland to analyze and improve weld quality and provide technical support to new product development. Some of the day to day activities in my HEBU role include:
- Designing parts and systems for existing and new equipment using SolidWorks
- Making prototype parts on our 3D printer
- Working with the manufacturing team to solve production issues and deliver projects on time
- Inspect parts and reverse engineer components & equipment using our FARO arm portable CMM and other measurement tools
- Work on continuous improvement initiatives to improve efficiency and quality and drive down costs
- Other cool top-secret stuff
I’m also on the IFS Core Team, so I spend some of my days working on making improvements to various business processes and testing functions of the new IFS version to support the re-implementation.
What is one of your favorite things about working in the rail industry?
I really like the mix of new technology, giant wacky looking machines, and historic culture in the rail industry. There’s no shortage of innovation and opportunities to learn new things. At the same time, there aren’t many industries that have such a nostalgic history that nearly everybody has a piece of.
What’s one thing you wish someone working in the engineering field would have told you when you were going to school?
You might not always get to the exact right answer or the ideal perfect solution—sometimes you have to understand the situation and the available resources and get to the best possible solution you can.
What is one of your favorite things about working at Holland?
I’ve always really liked the people & the family environment. In the groups I’ve worked in, I have always felt that my teammates care about me and we work together to get it done. When something tough in life pops up, people step up to support you; when things are good, people share the joy & celebrate with you.
To learn more about our manufacturing and engineering capabilities, click here.