Lance Gerdes grew up as a “military brat” who moved around the world with his family to various U.S. Air Force bases because his father was an Avionics Specialist. For some children this would be a burden; however, for Gerdes, it was an opportunity to connect with his father and brothers over the inner-workings of aviation, cars, and sailboats. The family would work on the different vehicles they owned together, and his father who was a flight instructor would even take them up in planes. It is easy to see how Gerdes became a mechanical engineer and one of his brothers became a flight engineer.
Being a military family member also provided Gerdes with a culturally-diverse background. He attended schools across the world before graduating high school in Okinawa, Japan, where his family was stationed at the time. He eventually made his way back to the United States, where he attended college at Northern Arizona University earning his degree in mechanical engineering.
Lance began his professional career in the nuclear industry doing nuclear maintenance and nuclear refueling for various U.S. contractors, including Westinghouse, Babcock & Wilcox and Nuclear Engineering Services. He remained in the sector until his son was born, at which time he decided to relocate to Scottsdale, Arizona. After moving, he began working at Calibron, a manufacturer of liquid calibration devices.
As his career brought Gerdes further into the mechanical engineering side of things, he eventually found Interface. He joined the company because his work with load cells and force measurement devices allowed him to realize how diverse the field is in its applications. Some of the applications that have impressed him the most include how to measure the force on the enormous mirrors made at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at The University of Arizona which are used on the Magellan Telescope (GMTO) being built in Chile, or how load cells used to do crash-landing tests with air and spacecraft.
Today, Gerdes works as the Continuous Improvement Subject Matter Expert (SME) at Interface. In this role, he leads a group of 12 specialized technicians that are responsible for creating one of Interface’s newest and most innovative product lines. This invention, the proprietary 1923 Wireless Series Load Cell, is a significant product line for the company. This exclusive product is designed for the oil and gas industry, which allows users to avoid pump jacks going too fast and interrupting the capillary flow of oil. The high-performance wireless load cell, which is incorporated into the manufacturer’s original equipment, sits on the pump jack and monitors the force at which the jack pumps, providing real-time data to avoid over-pumping.
Learn more about how Lance and his team are utilizing automation tools and robotics for advancing innovation and continuous improvements in building precision load cell solutions for OEMs. Click here to read more.
Gerdes’ life has revolved around engineering since he can remember. From living abroad on military bases to nuclear and mechanical engineering, his passion continues to exude this commitment and energy in making an impact at Interface and for the customer.
In his free time, he likes to decompress from it all and enjoy a good balance. At home, his life revolves around his family, his five German shorthaired pointer dogs and his love for the peaceful escape of camping and hunting. Gerdes has been married for 25 years, and he and his wife have a 24-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter. He is active with his children’s extra-curricular activities, including coaching baseball, basketball, and swimming. He and his family love to go camping and boating together, and Gerdes is an avid big game bowhunter.
To learn more about the brilliant minds that shape Interface, follow our monthly Faces of Interface feature on our blog at /blog/.