About Me

Me

Me

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Andy. I am an energy efficiency enthusiast, for lack of a better term. No, I’m not an engineer in thermodynamics or mechanical systems, I am just a guy that likes to think about what’s running under the hood. Since nothing in this world is 100% efficient, I like to find those inefficiencies and figure out how to lower them, in other words: I like to tweak things.

It took me a while to figure out what my passion is (or at least put it into words). My whole life I have been interested in figuring out how things work. When my dad showed me how to mow the lawn as a kid, it wasn’t long before I started taking the lawnmower apart. Of course, it wasn’t long after that I started adjusting the carburetor to make it run better. In 7th grade Tech. Ed. class we were challenged to build a powered vehicle that went two feet in the slowest amount of time possible with a Lego Dacta set. While my classmates were getting times in the seconds range by making the wheels slip and dragging the chassis, I was devising a complex reduction gear driveline, utilizing my belts and pulleys, worm gears, and chains to the fullest. After 20 minutes my vehicle had just about crossed the one foot mark, despite claims that it wasn’t even moving. At that point, the victory was in the bag. I later ended up taking a Power Technology course in my Junior year of high school, where I learned the science and theories of internal combustion engines, as well as getting repair and shop floor experience.

Another interest of mine growing up was computers. We’re talking about the early 90’s here, mine was probably the first generation to actually have a computer class at school. Although we only had Apple Macintosh’s in the classroom, my dad was pretty big in computers, too. At 5 years old, while my friends were playing Nintendo (something I didn’t have growing up), I was playing MS-DOS-based computer games like Commander Keen, Duke Nukem and Jet Fighter. It’s no surprise that when I got my first real computer I had to disassemble it and reassemble it without the case. Later, in my Senior year of high school, I earned my CompTIA A+ certification in computer repair.

I now have a wife and three children, and they mean the world to me. As a husband and father, I have taken it upon myself to give my family the good living that they deserve. I was lucky enough to get out of school before the economic recession, while there were still some decent jobs around. Decent jobs, in rural Michigan, are not quite what one would expect. I ended getting what I considered to be a “decent job” at a local foundry. Now if you have never been to a foundry before, let me sum it up for you. They are dirty, smoky, smelly places where scrap steel is melted down and cast into new parts. The work there was hard, dirty, and dangerous. In fact, I ended up getting part of my finger taken off in a machine, as well as torching my hand.

I worked that job for almost five years before getting fired. Why did I get fired, you ask? I had a problem with changing things (actually they fired me for repainting a forklift, go figure). The highlight of my time there was when I became a sand reclaimer operator, one of only a few people in charge of running and maintaining the sand reclaimers and coaters. My supervisor, a simple man (dIdn’T knOw hIs caPitals frOm hIs lOweRcAse) liked things just how they were, I didn’t. There was enormous room for improvement. The main reclaimer was a giant natural-gas furnace that heated sand to 1500°F to burn off the products of the casting process. A home-made machine, nonetheless, I would rate it’s gas usage at about 10 million BTU, and it didn’t run right. I went so far as to take my issue to the president of the company, who, reluctant upon hearing this, ended up adjusting the machine himself. Nevertheless, I made somewhat of a bad reputation for myself there among the decision-makers. They didn’t like me because I wanted to change things, I saw the potential for improvement where they saw an insubordinate employee. Despite my problems with management there, I learned a great deal about processes and mechanics, as part of my job was to repair and maintain some of the equipment. I also learned how to push myself harder. I can remember times that I didn’t think I was going to make it through the night (I mostly worked midnight shift). But I got through it and got used to it, and now I am a stronger person than I was before because of it.

My passion, however, has remained unproductive. I still think about how I should drive my car, and how to make my furnace more efficient, but it hasn’t done anything for me except annoy my friends and family. That is why I am looking for people out there like me, the thinkers of the world, the people who strive for improvement and efficiency, and wonder why their car only get’s 25 miles per gallon. If I can pique somebody’s interest with this blog, it will all be worth while.

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  1. March 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm

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