Fast Facts About Andrew
Discipline: Mechanical Engineering, Clean Energy Engineering
Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN
Education: University of Dayton
Favorite Movie: Shawshank Redemption
From international adventures to playing banjo around the campfire, Andrew Eckrich, graduate engineer, has an eclectic array of hobbies—including an inherited bouncy ball collection!
When did you decide you wanted to be an engineer?
I remember learning about woodworking from both of my Grandpas as a small child. For my 10th birthday, Grandpa got me a scroll saw. I started making more intricate small-scale projects. I quickly realized that I like to build things and help people. My favorite thing to do is to express creativity by designing and building stuff. Engineering allows me to earn a nice living while being creative each day.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I appreciate that each day is different. I am fortunate enough to work with multiple aspects of building design from HVAC, to energy analysis, to LEED certification. My job seems to cycle through these three focuses, and I enjoy the variety.
What’s something not everyone knows about you?
For four weeks after I graduated college, I had the opportunity to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain—a 500-mile pilgrimage ending at the gravesite of Saint James. It was about 16 miles each day. Though I traveled over by myself for the first three weeks, I met people along the way from around the world. It was like visiting many different countries all at once. On the first night, I met a man from the Czech Republic who spoke some English and some Italian, and an Italian man who only spoke Italian. The three of us shared a nice meal together, communicating through my Czech friend. By the end, we had become friends and the Italian was fully conversational in English!
That experience taught me to never be surprised at who I cross paths with in life. Everything that happens was meant to happen in its time.
What do you do in your free time?
My wife, Julia, is a Youth Minister at a church in Noblesville, so it is a natural fit to volunteer with the middle school youth group. She and I also enjoy creating music together (I play guitar and banjo and Julia sings). We play little gigs here and there or just around the campfire. I was in a band in college and we even made a full-length album.
I also love the outdoors. I have always loved running and still consider myself a runner, but lately have transitioned more into biking. When the weather and my schedule allow it, I ride to work as much as possible.
Do you collect anything?
Well, there is that old adage something like, “What’s yours and what’s mine is ours.” My wife has a collection of more than 5,000 bouncy balls, so now I have that collection, too. We have them in jars all over the house, and we have a bouncy ball machine near the front door. We even filled vases with them for centerpieces at our wedding. She started the collection at age 12 after finding several while cleaning her room and it has just taken a life of its own.
We had bouncy balls on our wedding registry; we receive them as gifts; we buy them as souvenirs from different places. Eventually, we plan to have a wall in our house covered in Plexiglas and filled with bouncy balls. Or maybe a Rube Goldberg-type machine that will bring bouncy balls to the top and roll down a track in our house. The possibilities are endless.