O ne of the primary traits of a KEEN engineer is the ability to identify and pursue business opportunities, whether they knock loudly or sneak in the back door unnoticed by anyone else. Forward-looking engineers who recognize and seize such opportunities will have a head start on achieving success. For civil engineering student Ashley Meade – a senior at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Mich.– opportunity came outside of her chosen major. Still, she saw it as a great way to expand her knowledge and broaden her horizons. “Peg Pierce, director of Career Services at LTU, set up a mechanical engineering internship program with Central Conveyor Company,” Meade explains. “She told me about it and encouraged me to apply. Because I am a civil engineer, I was worried that I wouldn’t be considered for a more mechanical field, but a couple of weeks later I was invited to come in for an interview.” Pierce’s confidence in Meade’s ability was justified, and it wasn’t long before Ashley became Central Conveyor’s first intern, working in the engineering department at the corporate headquarters in Brighton, Mich. Central Conveyor is a 20-year-old company that designs and builds customized material handling, storage retrieval, and automated conveyance systems. The conveyors can either be designed and engineered as stand-alone units or fully integrated with existing manufacturing lines. At Central Conveyor, Meade has already provided extra value to clients. One such opportunity came when she was tasked to meet with a customer to provide a health assessment of installed equipment. She met with the customer’s team and was asked to put together a report. Because the request was fairly general, Meade decided to create a new process and provide more than the customer had requested. She carefully weighed the customer’s needs, then consulted with people in her office. Armed with this input, she took the next step. “I provided the form that the customer asked for, and then on top of that I added a supplemental information sheet,” she says. In addition to the engineering information, she included material that was color-coded, added comments based on a field inspection, and provided photos that tied it all together. “In the report, we noted other areas of concern that were not listed in the specification,” she adds. “This was a courtesy and ethical decision we made that could save time and/or a life. Members of our company were pleased with the final representation Identifying Business Opportunities as an Intern 18