An Engineer Must Engineer

I’ve been running the EESC in Oregon for 13 years. But the company arose from ashes in Louisiana four years before it officially opened. So yes, for 17 years, I’ve been promoting an engineering education as loudly and as often as possible.

But no matter how much we, as professionals, enjoy what we do, everyone needs to recharge. Professors take sabbaticals, most of the world takes vacations and entrepreneurs start new businesses. I’m taking a step back from the EESC right now with the hopes of taking two steps forward in the future. I’m looking for inspiration that I can bring back to the company.

In life, I crave color combined with precision and beauty. I like beautiful machines, gadgets or devices that move or surprise. That’s probably what drew me to engineering in the first place. Thinking back, my first interest in engineering, (even before The Six Million Dollar Man – my biomedical inspiration) was to become a watchmaker. The consistent rhythm of a clock or watch was comforting.

electroplating2Two weeks ago, I opened Celeste Watch Company. The goal was to make artistic timepieces that are precise and elegant. To infuse more color and technological design in a wrist watch. I wanted to make wearable art using mixed materials on the dial or face of the watch that you don’t normally see.

The learning curve has been enormous – more so that I ever thought possible (but that’s what I wanted.) However, there is a peace that comes over me during the process. Something that happens during design, fabrication and assembly that makes me feel like I’m in a groove, doing what I’m supposed to be doing at exactly the right time. I handcraft the dial with my laser cutter, electroplate vibrant colors in the cases and background of the faces, and sew the leather bands by hand. I smile every time I make one.

But never fear, the EESC isn’t going anywhere. In fact, you can expect to see more “time” related activities in the future – starting with “Pacing a Pendulum” in The Big Book of Engineering Challenges. And how about a kinetic sculpture kit? If it’s based on time, you will probably see it here very soon.