Interface Celebrates Engineers

This week we are celebrating National Engineers Week at Interface. E-Week is an annual event first celebrated in 1951, which is dedicated to raising awareness of the engineering profession and the contributions that engineers make in the world.

Engineers Week matters to Interface. We have multiple types of engineers throughout our company that provide critical expertise, including application and custom solution engineers, product engineers, electrical and design engineers, and our manufacturing engineers. They are all, collectively and individually, are vital in helping to define, create, build, and deliver world-class force measurement solutions. We profile many of Interface engineers in our monthly ForceLeaders series.

E-Week matters because every day we work with incredible engineers around the world. We recognize the contributions of these engineers from diverse backgrounds throughout all types of industries. Fortunately, we get to interact with many engineers from companies to help solve critical challenges, improve testing capabilities, confirm new product designs, and discover advancements in their area of expertise with the ability to measure with accuracy.

There are many different engineers that come to Interface for different force measurement solutions, including:

  • Product engineers who are responsible for the design and development of products, from concept to final production. They depend on Interface for solutions used in the testing and validation of the product. Read more in Why Product Design Engineers Choose Interface.
  • Civil engineers who design, construct, and maintain infrastructure such as roads, bridges, buildings, and water and sewage systems. Read Why Civil Engineers Prefer Interface Products
  • Mechanical engineers who design and develop machinery, equipment, and products, such as engines, turbines, and tools.
  • Electrical engineers that work with electronics, power systems, and electrical equipment, designing and developing electrical systems that power devices and machines.
  • Aerospace engineers that design and develop aircraft, spacecraft, and other related systems used to explore the galaxies. Here are some examples of aerospace solutions.
  • Environmental engineers who work on projects related to environmental protection, such as air and water pollution control, waste management, and sustainable development.
  • Materials engineers who work with materials in testing materials, developing new materials, and improving existing ones.
  • Biomedical engineers who work on projects related to healthcare, designing, and developing medical devices and equipment, such as prosthetics and imaging systems.
  • Quality engineers who ensure that products meet the required quality standards using testing methods to identify and resolve quality issues. Quality engineers use Interface product to monitor production processes. Find out more here, Quality Engineers Require Accurate Force Measurement Solutions.

We see what you do, and it’s worth celebrating! Interface is fortunate to collaborate and supply engineers working in a wide variety of industries and for a diverse range of companies, both large and small. We benefit through learning how to best help engineers in industries, that include:

Aerospace and Defense: Companies in this industry develop and manufacture aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, and other defense-related products.
Automotive: Companies in this industry design, develop, and manufacture vehicles, including cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles.
Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals: Companies in this industry develop and manufacture drugs, medical devices, and other healthcare-related products.
Construction: Companies in this industry design and build infrastructure, including buildings, bridges, and roads.
Electronics and Semiconductors: Companies in this industry design, develop, and manufacture electronic products, including computers, smartphones, and other consumer electronics.
Energy: Companies in this industry produce and distribute energy, including oil and gas, renewable energy, and nuclear energy.
Manufacturing: Companies in this industry produce a wide variety of products, including consumer goods, industrial equipment, and machinery.

Interface is heavily reliant on the skills and experience of our own engineers. We celebrate our team members, our partners, our customers, and those that are benefitting from the advancements engineers make every day to our society. Happy E-Week!

Faces of Interface Featuring Justin Walker

Our Faces of Interface feature focuses on Regional Sales Director (RSD), Justin Walker. Justin is a United States Marine veteran who grew up in the Texas oil fields. He received his knowledge and experience in engineering while in the military. He has honed his skills in engineering and sales across a variety of roles and was recently promoted to the critical role of Interface RSD.

Growing up near the oil fields in Texas and having a father and friend work in the fields led Justin to develop an interest in the technical side of oil rigging and engineering in general. However, his goal was to remain out of the fields and instead work to optimize the process through technology. To do so, Justin opted for the Marines to serve his country and receive the training necessary to accomplish this goal.

He joined the Marines at age 17, and scored very high on the technical aspects of the entry exam. This enabled him to serve as an aviation mechanic with a unique and interesting specialty in cryogenics. The cryogenics aspect of his roles allowed him to work with the liquid nitrogen and oxygen involved in weapon systems and base support. He also got some kicks freezing stuff, as well as curing a hangover or two with the highly effective chemicals.

Justin served in the Marines for four and half years before jumping into the oil and gas industry with a company named Weatherford. In this role, he worked as a wire line operator where he helped to determine where oil could be found and then using explosives to access it. He stayed in this role until the oil market dropped, and then moved into sales.

His first role in sales was at West Texas Nissan and Justin found a ton of success in a sales position. Unfortunately, the market crashed and Justin decided it was time for a change. He moved to Phoenix, Arizona, because he was familiar with the area due to his time being stationed in Yuma, Arizona, when he was a Marine.

Justin joined Interface in July 2016 as an applications engineer. He had a desire to get back into technology and engineering, while still maintaining a sales role due to his success in the automotive industry. He remained at Interface for two years before leaving to join one of our rep firms in Florida, where he still sold Interface products. After a year and a half with Interface’s rep firm, we welcomed Justin back with open arms. First, as applications engineer; however, Justin was recently promoted to Regional Sales Director covering the Central North America region. Justin has thrived in his roles at Interface.

Justin really enjoys the day-to-day interactions with customers and our rep firms. What he enjoys the most is the differences in who and what he is working with each day. One day he could be working with a customer that works in the oil field like he witnessed as a kid growing up, another day he could be selling solutions to a company responsible for putting satellites and even humans in space.

When he’s not helping customers solve their force measurement challenges, Justin can be found spending time with his wife and six-year-old stepson. He and the family enjoy getting outdoors as much as possible. Together, they hike in the mountains, camp, take a ride on their ATVs, and boat the Colorado River.

We appreciate having the opportunity to share Justin’s amazing story. He is passionate about what he does at Interface and in life. We are thrilled to have him on the Interface team and working hard for all his customers and rep firms at ensure the highest levels of satisfaction! To learn more about our outstanding team members, check in each month for a new Faces of Interface feature.

Faces of Interface Featuring Elliot Speidell

In today’s Faces of Interface post, we are featuring Interface National Sales Director Elliot Speidell. Amongst all the wonderful stories and backgrounds, we hear about from our amazing team, Elliot’s may be one of the most unique and interesting.  You see, Elliot didn’t start his career in or go to school for engineering like many of the Faces of Interface subjects we’ve highlighted in the past.

In fact, Elliot studied music education at Northern Arizona University. Music was Elliot’s first passion and he thought that he would go on to pursue a career in it. Although, as he explains it, he was a kid just trying to figure it out and wasn’t sure what to do. But he loved music, so he went for it.

His first job out of school was teaching music in elementary school, followed by teaching both middle and high school students. And while he did enjoy it for a time, he and his wife were expecting a daughter and he thought that it was time for a change.

Now, music isn’t Elliot’s only passion. He also loves to work with cars. He can often be found tinkering and improving cars that he eventually races in Sports Car Club of America Solo (SCCA) events. SCCA Solo is different from what you see on TV with NASCAR and Indy Car Racing. It involves precision driving through a designated course marked with cones. If you’ve kept up with the Faces of Interface series, you would know that SCCA Autocross is also a major hobby for our Global Sales Vice President, Brian Peters.

Going back to Elliot and his desire to move into a new field, both Brian and Elliot became friends during SCCA competition, and Elliot had mentioned to Brian that he was looking for something new. Knowing Elliot well, Brian thought that he would make a great application engineer. Thus, the unique story of how Elliot moved from music to a career in technology and engineering by joining the team at Interface.

As an Application Engineer at Interface, Elliot provided frontline support to customers across the east coast, later moving to serve the west coast. He worked across industries providing force measurement solutions to customers for a wide variety of applications. After a few years, he moved on to the newly introduced technical services department where he served as the technical services manager. In this role, Elliot and his team helped manage the recalibration of customer’s products as well provided technical support to customers for load cells, torque transducers, and related instrumentation. He was also instrumental in selling these services to customers and growing the technical services business.

Elliot was promoted to regional sales director starting on the west coast and eventually taking over support for the region that is along the US east coast, as well as a few regions in the south including Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The  role is more strategic in nature in that he’s out working directly with customers providing Interface force solutions, while also working directly with Interface’s teams of outside sales reps in those regions.

Today, he is the national sales director for Interface. He is responsible for all the regional sales directors and application engineers covering the United States.  He works directly with our sales network and supports key accounts. His promotion is based on years of experience and dedication to helping customers find the right solutions for all their test and measurement needs.

The thing that Elliot loves most about working at Interface is the diversity of applications he gets to work on. One day he could be helping provide a solution for measuring the tension on a guitar string and another day he’s helping a customer that’s working on a test stand for a rocket engine. Every day is unique and the technology he gets to see, and help solve challenges for, is always getting cooler!

When he’s not solving customer challenges, Elliot can be found with his wife of 14 years and their daughter, riding his mountain bike, or in the garage slowly working on LS swapping his car’s engine for SCCA autocross. Pre-pandemic, he also still indulged his love of music by playing trumpet in a Soul and Funk band at various Phoenix area venues.

We hope you enjoyed learning about Elliot as much as we enjoyed sharing this feature. Stay tuned for more Faces of Interface in 2021, and from everyone here at Interface, we wish you a very happy New Year!

Faces of Interface Featuring Chris Brandenburg

Interface Technical Services Manager Chris Brandenburg has not followed the traditional path into the manufacturing and engineering world. Growing up and finishing high school in Illinois, Chris worked a job in retail for a number of years. Looking for a way out of retail, Chris engaged with a family friend who worked for manufacturer that built hydraulic lifts called, Advanced Lifts. Chris was offered a job at Advanced Lifts and spent a few years helping to build these products.

This was Chris’s first foray into the manufacturing world, and while he enjoyed the industry, he quickly realized that he had a greater passion for working with people rather than actually building the machines. This is when he began to explore a career in front-end customer service.

Advanced Lifts offered him a job in a customer support role where he would be helping people troubleshoot their hydraulic lifts. With his years of experience building the product he was able to handle the technical aspect of the job, while the customer support aspect came naturally.

After nine years with Advanced Lifts and more than enough harsh Illinois winters, Chris realized it was time for a change. In 2011, he moved to Arizona on whim and got a job at Shutterfly working in customer service. Over his seven years with Shutterfly, he quickly moved up the ranks and became a customer service supervisor managing a team of more than 30 people.

Chris valued his time at Shutterfly because it helped him learn how to work with and help people of all different backgrounds. During the company’s incredibly busy holiday season, it was Chris’s job to hire more than 150 people for various roles within the company. He says that he became adept at understanding people and figuring out where they would excel in certain customer service positions.

In 2018, Chris embarked on a new journey in an industry he had little experience in at the time, force measurement. Chris was intrigued by the opportunity to join Interface because he would have the opportunity to build a customer service department from the ground up. Prior to Chris joining, Interface employees from various departments shared the role of customer service without an official department.

Chris has since helped to build a high-functioning and compassionate team of customer service professionals dedicated solely to improving the Interface customer experience. He’s also done this while balancing a few different roles simultaneously with customer services duties. He worked for a time as an application engineer, and currently leads customer service for the calibration services department. He is often praised by his colleagues as a a go-to resource to get it done. He is valued for his teamwork and willingness to do whatever it takes.

Chris says that it has been an honor to take on such a critical role in expanding Interface’s customer service function and enjoys the responsibility in helping the company continue to grow and improve every day. However, his favorite thing about working at Interface, as other have also mentioned in this series, is working with the talented people at Interface. Not only are they a kind and hardworking team, so many individuals here have been with the company for a long time and have a wealth of knowledge to share. The ability to leverage this source of insight makes his job working through customer service challenges much easier. It has also helped him develop an expertise in an industry that just two years ago he knew little about and know is an incredible resource to help others.

When Chris isn’t tackling customer service requests, he can be found at home with his fiancé and stepdaughter watching movies or catching an NFL game. Chris is a self-described nerd who loves Marvel and Star Wars movies. His football allegiances lie in his home state of Illinois with the Bears, as well as appreciating the work of the greatest dynasty in NFL history, the New England Patriots.

Authors note: the point on the New England Patriots can be debated, but as a Pats fan myself I stand by it. And Chris did describe himself as a Patriots fan – the author did not fabricate this point!

Faces of Interface Featuring Ken Bishop

From the very beginning, force measurement has been a major part of Ken Bishop’s life. Growing up in Anaheim, California, his father worked for a company called Ormond, Inc., which produced load cells, rocket thrust stands, weighing products and scales. He got to know the people his father worked with and the cool technology they were working on. Therefore, it was no surprise that Ken would follow in his father’s footsteps shortly after graduating high school and working for Ormond himself.

Ken worked with his father at Ormond for five years. He held positions as a driver, an assembler, and then eventually worked his way into a technical management position. After Ormond, he took a brief break from the force measurement industry to join the expanding computing field. He worked at General Micro Systems, where he focused on single board computers. However, his true calling pulled him back and he rejoined the force measurement industry when he was hired at Sensortronics.

Sensortronics then became the first load cell company acquired by Vishay in 2002. Vishay is a global manufacturer of semiconductors and passive electronics and in the early 2000s they would end up acquiring three more load cell manufacturers after Sensortronics. Ken’s job became to work as a team member to consolidate the four companies in the Americas and create Vishay’s transducer group as the Operations Manager for the America’s. Ken oversaw this group for several years afterwards.

During his working career, Ken also began to focus on his post-secondary education. He took night classes for quite a while to earn several degrees. He started with an Associates of Science from Fullerton College. He then received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management, followed by a master’s degree in Business Administration, from the University of Redlands, in California.  His post-secondary education allowed Ken to excel faster in his career path.

After Vishay, Ken took a brief hiatus from the engineering world to get away from it all. He picked up and moved to Montana to enjoy the wide-open spaces and outdoor lifestyle. However, it was not long before the itch to make things returned. In 2006, Ken moved to Arizona and joined Interface.

Ken began his career at Interface on the sales team as an application engineer focused on the West territory. His job was to work with customers to deliver force measurement solutions for a wide variety of test and design challenges in the aerospace, industrial, medical, metrology and automotive sectors. He eventually worked his way up to become a senior application engineer.

During his time as an application engineer and senior application engineer, Ken realized that there were many customer challenges that could not be solved with an off-the-shelf solution. While Interface had worked on custom projects previously, there was no official department to head up the growing demand for custom solutions.

When the department was created, Ken was given the opportunity to become the custom solutions director. He jumped at the opportunity and created a solutions team that could meet the growing demands of Interface’s customers for systems and specialized products. Ken leads the development of custom force measurement solutions designed to meet the unique challenges of an evolving technology and manufacturing ecosystem.

If all this was not enough, Ken also leads the repair and recalibration services department with fellow Interface technical service manager, Chris Brandenburg. And, he has spent some time working on the marketing team. Ken has truly done and seen it all in the force measurement industry.

Faces of Interface Featuring Keith Skidmore

The combination of technical expertise and interpersonal skills is rare in an engineer. Fortunately, these are the outstanding qualities that Regional Sales Director Keith Skidmore brings to the table. Or as we like to call it at Interface, the lab.

Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, with a dad that worked as a technical salesman, Keith experienced the impressive capabilities of science and technology first-hand, simultaneously learning how to create relationships with customers and sell solutions. Keith also had a passion for finding out how things work at a young age.  As a kid, he was always tinkering with different hardware to figure out how it worked or how to make it better.

This upbringing led Keith to The Ohio State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering in 1994. His short professional career in Ohio took him to Sensotec, where he was a Technical Sales Engineer for one year. At this point, Keith’s more than 20 years in the cold, snow and rain were taking its toll. He was ready for a warmer climate.

In 1995, after visiting a friend in the Phoenix area, Keith made the decision to move out West for good. He started his career in Arizona at DH Instruments, a Fluke Company, as a Regional Sales Manager. During his time with the company, he sold pressure calibration equipment. After one year, he started to investigate career opportunities at Interface because he was interested in the mechanical applications of the company’s load cell and sensor technology products.

In October 1996, Keith joined Interface as a senior application engineer. At the time, he became one of the only application engineers on staff and had the opportunity to work in a wide variety of industries across the world. Some of Keith’s customers at the time included Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Airbus, Ford, as well as a lot of smaller companies and labs. He enjoyed working across different industries providing performance load cells and instrumentation because he was able to see all of the unique and innovative ways these companies were developing products with the use of the world’s leading force measurement equipment.

“A lot of the products that Interface makes have an impact on our daily lives. From medical technology to automotive, I enjoy seeing and learning about all the different ways our products are used to test different equipment. Having a genuine interest in the products I’m selling certainly makes it a lot easier to get our customers excited about them.” Keith Skidmore, Regional Sales Director

In 2006, he was promoted to Product Sales Manager at Interface. In this role, Keith became responsible for more product lines and gained more responsibilities, leading sales in Interface’s Specialty Products, including torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, and instrumentation. In fact, Keith recently shared his insights on the growing trends in multi-axis sensors for test and measurement projects. You can read the post here.

Skidmore remained with Interface for 10 years before moving on to take a measurement application engineer position with Measurement Solutions, a representative firm of Interface solutions based in Arizona. Measurement Solutions had been an outside sales representative firm with Interface’s for many years and continues to carry Interface’s line today. Keith experienced what it was like working as a sales representative for his former company and other OEM’s of testing products in the industry. This role provided Keith with a new perspective and helped him grow in his career as a technical salesman. After three years with Measurement Solutions, Keith returned to Interface to take on his current role as the Regional Sales Director work in representatives in Arizona, New Mexico, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, New York, Michigan, Western Pennsylvania and the state where he grew up, Ohio.

He rejoined Interface because he still loves the ability to consult with customers and his outside sales force team on a diverse selection of industries and projects.

In his free time, Keith and his wife can be found mountain biking or taking trips to Flagstaff with their small dog.  He likes to get back to the green scenery and even the snow he grew up with when he lived in Ohio. In reality, he misses it just enough for a day or weekend trip. The heat and sun have won him over.

To learn more about the talented people behind Interface’s industry-leading torque and force measurement products, follow our Faces of Interface series on our blog at /blog/.

Multi-Axis Sensor Applications

For more than 50 years, Interface has proven itself as the premier provider of load cells, with the most accurate and reliable products on the market. As the technical landscape has evolved, we have invested heavily in new technology to suit the growing needs of our customers. One of the most important innovations we’ve brought to market over the past few years is our lineup of wide-ranging multi-axis sensors.

Interface Multi-Axis Sensors are designed to measure a multitude of forces and moments simultaneously with a single load cell sensor. These sensors provide multiple bridges that precisely measure the applied force from one direction with minimal crosstalk from the other axes.

Multi Axis Sensor 3AXX 3 Axis Load Cells -

Interface Multi-Axis Sensor 3-Axis Load Cell

Interface offers 3-axis, 6-axis, and axial torsion load cells, which provide the ultimate in force and torque measurement. We can measure forces simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes, with the 6-axis load cells also measuring torque around those axes. In addition, we offer multiple data acquisition and amplifier systems which make graphing, logging and displaying data easy enough for any experience level.

Our customers work in a wide variety of industries, and we are continually seeing new applications of our range of multi-axis sensors. These sensors are used in aerospace, automotive, medical and more.

The following application examples provide a clearer picture of the benefit of this force measurement and sensor technology.

Rocket Structural Testing – In rocket and aerospace testing, there are a million different considerations to ensure a proper launch. One of the vital force tests that need to be conducted is on the connection between the rocket and the launch vehicle. There are force and moment in multiple directions at the connection point. Interface Multi-Axis Sensors can be used to test not only the strength of the connection but also ensure a safe disconnection between the rocket and launch vehicle.

Drone Testing – One of the most interesting applications of our multi-axis sensors is in the drone industry and in areas of urban mobility. Our sensors are used to test the drone’s rotor. The drone will always pull on the sensor to create the most significant force; however, there is also a slight amount of moment that needs to be accounted for. We were able to calibrate a semi-custom load cell to account for both the large pull force and the small moment force to provide the most accurate data possible.

Prosthetics – Another impressive application of our multi-axis sensor technology is in the medical industry. We helped to test the multiple force and torque data necessary to build a strong and reliable prosthetic knee joint and spine. Each of these prosthetics has multiple motions on many axes. To measure the quality of the prosthetic and to ensure it doesn’t fail when implanted in a patient, medical OEM’s need to be able to collect data on each of these axes simultaneously.

The need for measurements on multiple axes has grown over the last couple of years because of the desire to use big data to create better products. Interface Multi-Axis Sensors provide the accurate measurements our customers need and the ability to collect those measurements simultaneously, which has created a significant boost in efficiency.

To learn more about Interface’s expanding lineup of multi-axis sensors and data acquisition systems, please contact our team of experienced Application Engineers or visit /product-category/multi-axis-sensors/.

Contributor: Keith Skidmore, Regional Sales Director at Interface