Heat pipes, community involvement & STEM, oh my…


When was the last time you thought about a heat pipe? A week ago, I’ll admit I wouldn’t have been able to say much…

What I love the most about business though is networking and talking to people about what they do.  Within all of these moments, there are a few when you find people really passionate.  It’s the kind of person I’m always writing and talking to students about.

Well, at the recent Manufacturing Day event I attended with Aidan, we met the Director of Engineering and Operations over at Heat Pipe Technology.  He was actually there as the representative of the manufacturer the kids at the local STEM high school would be touring the following day.  This guy lights up when he’s talking about HPT and even manufacturing in general.  And, it turns out he’s not the only one working for HPT who cares enough to give back to the community. A few of their engineers will join me and countless others who participate in the Great American Teach-In coming up in November.  When was the last time you heard someone reference “integrity” when talking about their employer?

Curious about how a heat pipe is made and mesmerized by such a rich demonstration of corporate culture, I started talking with Ken and later scored a facility tour for Aidan’s FLL team.  Serendipity.

So, the boys went last weekend to see production of this stuff and I’m just going to say that it’s very cool.  I was a little concerned that asking four nine year-old boys to focus and behave through a manufacturing facility might be asking a little much. But, they sat there with minds blown as the demo pipe was heated up with a blowtorch and fluid reactions yielded unexpected results.  They walked through this impeccably clean and organized facility completely captivated by the sound of machines at work, bins of scrap for recycling and an inventory system that included a vending machine for parts.  Kanban, anyone? They left that place saying things like “best tour ever” and “BTU in equals BTU out”.  I’ll admit, I shared in their sentiment… STEM in play is awesome!

Anyway, the point here is that there are a few points.  But, the most important is that this is the perfect example of the triple bottom line principle at work and the enormous amount of ways in which that system can benefit stakeholders. Win-win-win.

“Engineers create the future. Manufacturers build the future.”

Thanks Ken!


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