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Q&A Session with Andrew Eckrich, Energy Engineer

Fast Facts About Andrew

Andrew Eckrich

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.

 

Andrew and his sister Karen passing into the city of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

 

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.

 

Andrew and his wife Julia

 

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.

 

Andrew’s mom made this giant “E” filled with bouncy balls for their wedding.

 

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.

Q&A Session with Brad Wallace

Fast Facts About Brad

Discipline: Engineering

Hometown: Lebanon, IN

Education: ITT Technical Institute

Favorite Place on Mass Ave: Bru Burger or Condado

 

 

Brad Wallace, senior HVAC mechanical designer, is a country boy at heart. He’s an open book and is almost constantly smiling. Learn more about him.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up on my family farm in Lebanon, Indiana. I still live in the town and am very close with my family—my younger sister, her husband and four sons, and my parents. After attending ITT for a two-year Associates Degree in Architectural Engineering, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do; I landed a job with a local mechanical contractor. The guys that did the installations took me under their wing and showed me what to do and what not to do when designing systems. I really learned a lot from them, and they shaped the way I design systems today.

 

Brad’s Farm

 

What sparked your interest in engineering?

When I was a little kid, I always enjoyed motorcycles and cars. My dad bought my first car, a Mustang Cobra, when I was 15. All I wanted to do was work on the engine of that car. I was always interested in how things work; I wanted to see, touch, and build.

 

What is a lesson you’ve carried throughout your career?

My very first day working my first job out of school, my boss gave me a toolbox and told me to carry it up the straight ladder to the mechanical equipment. I am not a big fan of heights; it was one of the scariest moments of my life. I remember my boss making the comment, “I don’t know where your future will go, but if you can ever influence someone to put stairs up to a mechanical room, that will make a difference.” Now, when I am designing a system, I think about what it takes to perform maintenance on my systems.

 

Who or what has motivated you?

Growing up, I had a school teacher who told me I would never amount to anything. I can’t tell you how many times I used that to motivate me. I never wanted to prove anything to her, but I knew that she was wrong and I proved it to myself.

 

What do you do in your free time?

I spend my free time with my family and dogs. We have a 200-acre farm west of Lebanon. I grew up there and still help my parents with the upkeep and mowing. I love mowing in the evenings. I see and smell things there that you just don’t have in town; my mind goes back to times when I was a kid with my grandparents.

I also love snowmobiling in the mountains of Colorado. Between my brother-in-law, my nephews, and me, we have nine snowmobiles. We don’t get to ride much around here but try to ride in Michigan as much as we can. But through all our adventures, the mountains of Colorado remain my favorite.

 

Brad and Some of His Family

 

What is a hobby or issue you are passionate about?

Animal abuse—primarily with dogs and cats. I have a bunch of Facebook friends from rescues and seeing the abuse of animals is sickening. I want the public to know that there is an issue and we need to fix the problem. There are a lot of good dogs out there looking for homes. Just last week, I adopted a pit bull from a kill shelter, Brody. He was a stray, off and on the euthanasia list for six months. The volunteers just believed that someone was going to come and rescue him.

 

Brad and His Rescue Pit Bull, Brody

 

What’s your favorite Indy spot?

To me, the War Memorial is the best-kept secret in the city. Several years ago Wayne Schmidt (Schmidt Associates Founder) took a group over to it as a type of field trip. Before then, I had no idea what was inside, even though I drove by it daily. After I went through and saw the museum and the Memorial upstairs, I was amazed. I always tell people they need to check it out.