Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

72 Hours in Japan

October 21, 2012

The mission was simple; fly to Kobe Japan, meet with MHI on Monday, meet with Niigata in Tokyo on Tuesday, fly home Wednesday…and that is pretty much what happened.

When you tell people you are going to Japan on business, you get a lot of, “oh, how exciting” and it is exciting but it is also a  business trip and it doesn’t matter if I am in Tyler, MN or Tokyo Japan, I am really only there to work.

“Work” in this instance means sitting in a poorly ventilated conference room arguing heat rise calculation with a man who spoke English but not every day, for 10 hours.  Okay, we only argued about heat rise for two and half hours, but the meeting did last for easily 10 hours…  then dinner and bed.

Speaking of bed, we stayed at a fairly Americanized hotel, I think, I guess I don’t really know what a typical Japaneses hotel looks like.  I do know the beds where only about 8 inches off the ground and the toilet had a lot of buttons…and there was this thing.  I think it was a air purifier.  Whatever it was when I pushed buttons it blew air, I pushed buttons until it went off and left it that way.

Tuesday we took the bullet train to Tokyo. There is a sentence I never thought I would type!  As we hurtled towards Tokyo at 300km/h I did get to see Mt. Fuji.

Tokyo was another very long meeting, this time the ventilation was better, but surprise, no one was comfortable speaking English, luckily we had a translator.

Doing business through a translator is a less than efficient process, which meant another long meeting, dinner on the train back to Kobe, and sleep…by this time my internal clock was all kinds of out of sorts.

Wednesday we were supposed to have a quick meeting in the morning, then maybe actually see a few things before getting back on the plane home.   There is not such thing as a short meeting in Japan.  Long story short, then long again, I flew back home in my suit because we didn’t have time to change.

I would love to visit Japan, it seems like a very interesting place, but what I did while I was over there wasn’t visiting, it was work.

We did end up getting both contracts, so I guess it was  worth it.

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Conduc-a-wamp-whater?

November 13, 2011

Conductix Wamplfer, a division of the Delachaux Group, yep most of that has a red squiggly line underneath it as I type, but trust me, it is spelled correctly.
This unpronounceable French American German conglomerate is what has brought us back to Omaha…brought us home.

Not only am I working for a tongue twister of a company, I am also working in an industry that is completely new to me.  My title is Development Engineer, working in our Transit Division.  Transit as in trains, but more specifically I develop electrified conductor rail systems that power people movers like monorails and subway trains….yea, a little different than farm equipment.

I will spare everyone the technical details, but I will say that I really do enjoy my new job, it will allow me to use my PE license and hell we have a 3D printer!!

Ryan Frost, PE

May 28, 2011


I got a letter in the mail today, then I proceeded to hyperventilate, seriously ask Gillian. This letter informed me that I had passed the Mechanical Principles and Practices of Engineering examination. I passed the PE, I passed the PE, I…passed…the…PE!!! Thank you to everyone for the support and special thanks to my wife, Gillian, who had to put up with me being all kinds of crazy over the last 6 months. So, I would just like to say Booyah! and thank God I don’t have to take it again!

Professional…me?, why not?

December 14, 2010

Last week I officially registered for the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam, which is the last, 8 hour 80 question, step to becoming a Licensed Professional Engineer.  Becoming a Professional Engineer is something I have wanted to do since college and it is not as simple as just taking a test.  First off I had to graduate with a degree in engineering, BSME from the University of Nebraska, check.  Secondly,  I had to take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, this an eight hours exam consisting of 80 questions covering the brevity of my education.  I took this test in October of 2004, it was the most difficult exam I had ever taken and I walked away positive that I had failed it miserably…but I didn’t,  I passed!  Now, after the required five years of working experience, step three, I was able to submit an application to the Nebraska Board of Engineers for permission to take the PE exam.  The board approved my application and I will be taking the exam on April 8th.  Now I just have to spend the next three months studying.

On a similar note, after nearly two years of working as a contractor, I have accepted a permanent position with CNH, doing the exact same thing I have been doing for the last two years.  I was required to submit an application and resume and am going to be getting all new sign-ins and passwords… for a job I am already doing. My “start” date is Monday Dec 20th, of course I will still be there from now until Friday Dec 17th.  The benefit of being a permanent employee is, benefits!  CNH has very good insurance and as a new father, I all of a sudden care a lot more about that.

Interesting Couple of Weeks

September 28, 2009

It has been an interesting couple of weeks.  There was the SL 500 parked at Wal-Mart, which just seems wrong to me.  I keep scaring myself with my own hat and jacket at work.  Then we got this crazy postcard in the mall.  I mean really, mountains in Nebraska? I guess the dragon and the goat with seven laser eyes is also kind of odd.  The good part is the “Pastor” put his picture on the back so I know if I see him, that he is crazy and I should be leaving. 

We also had Olive knock the dog treats off the counter into her water bowl, destroying the bowl.  Of course all she wants is her damn dinner!  Then there is Gordie, who is so fixated on the ball he doesn’t realize he has a leaf stuck to his nose

There is a bit of news too.  Gillian has decided she wants to learn to play hockey…so I went on a shopping spree.  I bought all her equipment without her actually being there, so I think I did a pretty damn good job, the breezers might be a little small but they will work.  Gillian’s first game/practice is tonight!  I think I am more excited then she is.

I haven’t heard anything about the eBay Motors Master Contest yet.  I don’t think I won, the winner was supposed to be notified on Sept. 23 and it will be announced Oct. 1st.

Oh and one more thing, I just realized I have been doing this blog thing for over a year.

Swag!

June 23, 2009
…or is it shwag? I never know with you crazy kids and your hipster lingo.  Everyone was given one of these bags at work because we went 100 days with out a “lost time incident”, basically meaning no one got hurt.  Going a 100 days without getting hurt may not sound like that big of a deal, but you have to consider there are some 800 or so people working 8-10 hours a day building large farm equipment and no one so much as busted a knuckle or dropped something on their foot.  Anyway, this post is mainly just to keep my blog from getting stagnant, like some others.  I don’t really have much to type about, this bag is one of the more exciting things to happen lately.  Which is fine, I have had enough excitement in the past few months.  I did finally fix the hole in our siding that I made when I put the hot grill to close and it melted, I didn’t take picture of the fix because it doesn’t look great, it just looks fixed.  We also went to see the Beach Boys a few weeks back with Gillian parents and Santi and Sarah, as a  Father’s Day present.  It was a great show and they surprisingly played for almost two and a half hours straight!  Also, surprising to some, but not to me, I knew almost all the songs.  Oh, and in Falcon news, I finally bought some used cylinder heads off ebay and I am having them and the transmission rebuilt by a guy I play hockey with.  
And speaking of cars, the rear shocks on Gillian’s car need to be replaced, so I got it up in the air to take a look and it seemed like no big deal to replace…I was wrong.  Yes, I am going to be an asshat and bitch about our BMW, oh poor me, poor me.  Anyway, I guess the problem really isn’t BMW as much as it is the local BMW dealership, but the only reason I have to deal with the dealership is because nearly every replacement part on the car is a dealership only part.  What really frustrates me though is that A) the parts department isn’t open on the weekend so when I wanted to fix I couldn’t and B) when I called them on Monday to get the part they didn’t have it in stock so they had to order it!  How the hell do they not have SHOCKS in stock! That’s like saying, “sorry we are out of motor oil, we are going to have to order it.”  Oh, and for some reason it is going to take a week to get here! So apparently BMW shocks are not made, they are grown, on a small Dampener Farm some where in Bavaria!  OK, I feel better know, I probably won’t have the parts until next week, hopefully replacing them won’t be as frustrating as buying them.

Dodging Bullets…

May 19, 2009

or maybe “Dodging Axes” would be more appropriate. It all started a little over a year ago when I narrowly escaped getting laid off from Chief Automotive, I had been with the company six month longer than the other the engineer they “let go”.   After limping along for a year, and taking a 20% pay cut I left Chief Automotive and took a contract position with Case New Holland.  Two weeks after starting the job, CNH reported a first quarter loss of 125 million dollars and a plan for “restructuring”.  When I flew out to Pennsylvania for training I was told that “restructuring”  meant that due to budget cuts all salaried contract employees are going to be “let go”… wait I’m a salaried contract employee!?!  Luckily due to my unique position in the company, I am considered essential and am one of the very few salaried contracts allowed to stay on.  That would have been the worst business trip ever.  That brings me to today, six weeks after leaving, Chief Automotive has announced that they are closing the plant in Grand Island and moving all operations to Indiana where they will merge with a sister company, RotaryLift.  Most everyone is getting laid off, a few people, 1 or 2, could have the option of relocate to Madison Indiana, 850 miles away.

Hopefully I am in the clear for now but who knows what will happens next quarter, this recession is a real bitch.  I know Gillian is getting tired of me coming home and telling her “Ok, I still have a job, but…”

Business Trip

May 10, 2009
Last Monday I landed in Harrisburg, PA for a two week business trip in New Holland, PA.  The baggage claim area had a display of a Hummer, a Cadillac, and yes a New Holland Tractor…I found this hilarious!  I picked up my rental car, a 2009 Chevy Cobalt LT…awesome!  Actually, it is a pretty decent car, but I’ll get into that later.
I have spent the last week weaving in and out of Amish horse and buggies, seriously they are everywhere, to and from the Case New Holland Technical Center, where I have been cramming 6 months of training into 2 weeks.  At this point I could go into details about my training but it is only interesting to me.
Now I just have to stave off boredom for the weekend.

2 Years

September 6, 2008

Yesterday was my two year anniversary working for Chief Automotive Technologies, as a Design Engineer. I am the companies first MyQC Quality Champion. MyQC is a new program the company started to try to improve the quality of our products. This poster was hanging up around work for a whole month, I also got a plaque. It is kind of like employee of the month, it is kind of BS. I dodge a bullet about 6 months ago, the company had layoffs and the other design engineer got axed. I am currently the only design engineer and after the last 6 months of not knowing if I am going to have a job tomorrow, I am finally designing some new products. Of course upper management wants a working prototype to show at NACE, in a month and a half and I just started drawing concepts…yea!