When I Grow Up

_MG_0533_bwWhen I sat down to write my college admissions essay as a 17-year-old, I confidently wrote that I was going to change the world by enhancing the quality of life for those suffering from chronic illness. I had the grades, the drive and most importantly, the inspiration in the form of my two cousins who were born with cystic fibrosis. I had seen them grow up swallowing huge pills and wearing medical devices to ease their pain as they persevered through this illness. As the time came to declare a major, I knew without a doubt I wanted to be a nurse to make the world a better place for people like my cousins.

However, after a semester of volunteering at a renowned hospital in my college town, I realized that my skill sets and queasy stomach were formidable obstacles in my pursuit of a medical career. Discouraged and unsure of where I fit, I made my way down to the College of Journalism and Communications. I had a heart for non-profit organizations like St. Jude’s Research Hospital and thought, “If I can’t help patients directly, I’ll learn how to raise support for people who can.”

Three and a half years later, I graduated with a degree in public relations and started working for a college where I could work with and be mentored by those who worked in development raising money for the research performed in the university.

But I had swung the pendulum too far. As much as I loved to see the dollar amounts raised for organizations I trusted, I wanted a more “hands-on” approach. I knew I would never be the doctor who finds the cure for cancer or the mechanically-minded researcher who creates a life-enhancing medical device, but these were the kinds of people I wanted around me.

After a year of working at Component Supply, I know I’ve found the perfect fit. I’m fascinated by the work of researchers and product designers in the universities and research labs around the world. I want to equip these world-changers with the most comprehensive information about the components they use. I want to share their stories, their needs and their advancements with the world in hopes that someone somewhere might have a piece of information that can fill in the blanks of their research. No, I can’t find the cures to the world’s complicated diseases, but I can put components in the hands of people who can. Of course, it’s a small part I play, but it’s what we’re about at Component Supply: giving the brightest, most creative minds in the world access to quality components so they can change the world.

Coffee, Trade Journals and Inspiration

headshot1bwOnce or twice a week I start my day at a coffee shop with trade journals and publications such as Design News, MIT Tech Review, MD+DI and NASA Tech Briefs. It is one of the few times during the week when I have uninterrupted time to read about all the industries we serve.

Last week when I left my publications on the table to get another cup of coffee, a woman and her teenage son came and sat at my table. I went over and apologized for leaving my stuff and told them I was heading out soon. But, as I started to leave, the woman whose son had noticed the publications asked me what I did and where I worked. Her son was interested in science and technology and she had another older son, who was a senior in high school, interested in biomedical engineering. I told her about our company and our work in the medical device and aerospace engineering industries. Then she asked if we would be willing to take some time in the future to talk to her sons about the work we do in various industries.

It’s always exciting to see young people interested in the world of engineering, but it was equally as exciting to see a parent supportive enough to stop a random person in a coffee shop and ask them to invest time encouraging her sons in their pursuits.

The researchers, doctors, surgeons, engineers and technicians we work with change the world. Every day they are coming up with ideas for new techniques or products to make life better. Sometimes we change the world by saving or improving the quality of someone’s life. Sometimes we do it by spending an hour with two excited young people to encourage their interests. Sometimes changing the world starts in a lab or research facility. Other times it starts at a coffee shop reading some magazines. Never underestimate the value of the work you do every day. You never know when it’ll be an opportunity to change someone’s world.