Faces of Interface Featuring Ashlesa Mohapatra

In today’s Faces of Interface Series, we sat down with our engineering team member that is responsible for innovative and custom force measurement solutions designed and built at Interface headquarters. Design Engineer Ashlesa Mohapatra is a brilliant individual who has lived and breathed the world of engineering since she was young. She is a lifetime learner who shares her knowledge with all who ask and is an outstanding member of the Interface engineering team.

Ashlesa was destined to be an engineer from her early days. Her grandfather was an engineer who served in the Indian Navy and helped to build naval ships. Her father was also an engineer whose passion for the field rubbed off on Ashlesa. He was constantly bringing home books and drawings, or power tools to work around the house. She was also present and absorbed as much knowledge as she could on every subject that interested her father.

She would go on to attend KIIT and receive her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, followed by a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in renewable energy for the University of Massachusetts Lowell. While earning her education, Ashlesa also took on two internships to further her learning and career experience. This included an internship for Larsen & Toubro in Oman and Applied Medical in California. In addition, Ashlesa’s propensity for learning also inspired her to educate her peers. She has five published works covering a wide range of topics related to design and sustainable manufacturing in peer reviewed journals like Scopus and Elsevier.

Prior to joining Interface, Ashlesa took on a role as a quality engineer with H&S technical services. Her role involved reviewing and writing medical manufacturing processes for medical devices related to heart and kidney health according to ISO 13485 and 14971. The role taught her a lot, but she quickly realized it was not her calling. Her true passion was for design and innovation.

This passion led Ashlesa to Interface where she joined as a design engineer. In this role, Ashlesa works on 12 different product lines, helping to customize products to meet customer needs across a variety of industries. She is part of two high-performance teams, leading the team behind the miniature load cells LBS and LBSU ConvexBT Load Button Load Cell product lines, and working with the WMC product line. In addition, she is part of the Interface Navigator’s team where she deploys strategic thinking and thought leadership for process improvement within Interface. She also authors research papers for regional and national conference proceedings s for the company on innovations and trends in force measurement technology.

Ashlesa says that her favorite things about working at Interface are that no two days are the same, her design work is extremely exciting and rewarding and that learning from the role is limitless. Her design work affords her the ability to look at customer challenges every day and try to develop complex and interesting solutions that meet their needs. She loves the challenges and is excited to come in every day.

In her free time, the engineering passion continues to spill over. She is a part of several engineering organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Getting more women involved in STEM education and careers is another passion of Ashlesa, so she offers mentorship services to members of SWE to spark a lifelong relationship with engineering. She is also a judge for the design review panel at the EPICS program at ASU. As part of her work with ASME, she is always lending a hand to ASU students by reviewing research papers and lending her advice. However, Ashlesa does take some time to get away and enjoys being outdoors, hiking, camping, and other activities.

Ashlesa is a true champion of innovation and plays such a critical member of our engineering design team. She delights customers with her creative approach and expertise, and we are thrilled to have her on board.

Faces of Interface Featuring Tin Nguyen

Today’s Faces of Interface features a person who might possibly hold the most titles in the company, and for good reason. Tin Nguyen is our calibration engineer, manufacturing engineer and business unit manager for calibration. Tin has earned all these titles along with the important responsibility through his relentless ability to take on and excel in new tasks, as well as his desire to learn. Check out his story.

Since he was about the age of eight years old, Tin had a proficiency for learning how to design and build things. It all started growing up on his grandparent’s farm where he would theorize ways to make tools and machines around the farm easier to use or more efficient. He vowed then that when he grew up, he would find a way to build things to make life easier for people.

Tin went on to attend Arizona State University (ASU), where he received a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering and in technology in 2000. He really enjoyed the ASU engineering school experience because it was hands on and he got to work with the latest technology, preparing him for the real world. While attending school, Tin also served as an auto mechanic for racing cars to earn some extra money on the side and because he really enjoyed the work.

Tin joined Interface in September 2001. He began his career as a calibration associate in the calibration lab. After a few years in the lab, Tin was then promoted to manufacturing engineer. A year later, he was promoted to calibration supervisor followed by the calibration departments business unit manager. His success in each of these roles allowed him to retain some of his titles and work throughout the company to lend his skills and expertise.

Today, his role covers quite a bit of what we do here at Interface. His day-to-day responsibilities include developing and maintaining tooling for calibration, fixturing, improving production processes, auditing equipment, figuring out ways to reduce costs, training calibration techs, maintaining calibration standards, looking after 20 different rigs, to highlight a few. His depth of experience and expertise lends to supporting and helping the company meet the growing demands for Interface’s quality products.

What Tin enjoys so much about working at Interface and continuing to take on new roles is that he loves to learn everything there is to know about the company and serving customers. Tin noted, there are a lot of talented people around him to provide that knowledge and support. After more than 20 years with the company, Tin still feels that he has more to learn. He’s also very honored by the trust that Interface and its leadership have placed in Tin to take on all of his important roles.

In his free time, Tin loves to travel and explore the great outdoors. He enjoys hiking, camping, fishing, boating and more. And, as if he doesn’t already have enough projects in his work life, Tin is also very fond of upgrading and remodeling his home. He takes a lot of ownership over the process and will do everything that he can before hiring somebody to help.

With all the hats Tin wears, he knows Interface inside out and we’re thrilled to have him and his cross-departmental expertise as part of the Interface family! We hope you enjoyed the newest entry into our Faces of Interface and if you’re looking to learn more about our talented staff, visit our ForceLeaders feature here.

Faces of Interface Featuring Scott Whitworth

Our Faces of Interface features the masterfully creative force behind the Interface brand. If you’ve ever downloaded an Interface product brochure or spent time on the Interface website, chances are Scott Whitworth, Interface’s creative services manager, played an important role.

Scott puts together complex product details for T&M pros, develops visual stories with digital content, and helps us keep track of thousands of offerings – one at a time! This is a story about Scott’s journey from film to the video game industry and even teaching before finally joining Interface.

Growing up, Scott was always interested in art and filmography. He pursued creative endeavors, such as a degree in the film industry at the Arts Institute of Phoenix, where he also took some traditional painting and sculpting classes. During his time in school, he started to pick up graphic design skills as well. These talents led Scott to begin his career in the film industry at a company called Digital Domain. In this role, he did digital effects for several different films and commercials.

He then moved to Phoenix, where he worked for a company called THQ. At THQ, Scott began in the film and television division where he worked in animation. Two years after he started, the company closed the film and television division and offered Scott a position in the games division. Scott remained with THQ for eight years doing 3D modeling and design.

From 2008 until 2015, Scott worked as an independent creative resource across several creative disciplines for many clients. And then an old colleague brought him back to Arizona and back to the Art Institute working a teaching job. He enjoyed his freelance work but wanted to get back into the corporate world, which ultimately led him to Interface.

Scott started in graphic design for Interface to help bolster our marketing footprint. He quickly learned about the load cell industry and all the customers that utilize sensors. Growing up in Michigan, his grandfather made parts for the automotive industry, so he was familiar with some of the technical intricacies and use cases. With a naturally technical mind and blended with a passion for creative works, he was a perfect fit for Interface.

“The blending of technical content with design tasks is I really love about working at Interface. It provides creative freedom in my work, with the discipline of getting all the technical details exactly right.” Scott Whitworth, Creative Services Manager at Interface.

Scott’s day-to-day involves leading a agile marketing team and overseeing all branding and creative functions, including collateral material, data sheets, website design and supporting the development of creative assets for our global network of sales partners. He plays a big role in creating continuity amongst all of Interface’s marketing assets. When he arrived, there were differences between marketing materials, so he has worked to standardize and strengthen the brand into the same style. His efforts and leadership in this area has really supported a leading look and representation for Interface.

When he’s not making the Interface brand shine, Scott can be found spending time with his wife and four kids. He has three sons ages 14, 13 and 10, as well as a 2-year-old daughter. So, Scott doesn’t have time for much more than being a great dad! When he does get some free time, he continues his creative passions through 3D modeling for himself, exploring painting and sculpture and other forms of art.

Scott has worked hard to make the Interface brand standout from the competition through a wide variety of platforms We’re thankful for Scott and his many talents and are glad we got share his story.

Envisioning the Future of Force Measurement

It is estimated that the force measurement sensor industry market, which includes strain gages and load cells, is valued at $2 billion annually. This is a result of the diverse amount of application uses for these types of sensors, whether embedded into an OEM product or for use in test and measurement. With innovations pushing product designers, this segment of the overall sensor market is growing rapidly from the advancements in robotics, semiconductors, automotive, aerospace and defense.

In these areas of growth, Interface continues to focus on the manufacturing and sales of precision force measurement products. For 52 years, Interface remains the leader in accuracy and quality. There are no plans to change that focus. What is changing is the market place and opportunities for using precision sensor technology of all sizes and capacities, whether that be for electronic vehicle testing or industrial automation, launching spacecraft or introducing new robots.

The way we develop force measurement products is continually evolving. It is our responsibility to understand trends in the engineering, testing and manufacturing, as well as identifying customer needs, in order to develop new force measurement innovations for today and into the future.

Technology is moving at a fast pace, and it’s imperative that companies like us rise to meet the demand for new innovations to solve modern and future design and testing challenges. In last week’s blog, we detailed our product development process and our evolution over the years to meet these demands. Product development has grown from a process to something that we engage in every day, especially in the customization of our standard products as well as introduction of new solutions.

The voice of our customer is instrumental in defining this development journey. We learn about new trends and opportunities for expanding our product line by listening to our customers and team members. At Interface, we know that in order to continue building upon our half-century legacy, it’s critical to keep an open mind to new solutions and continually learn how our customer’s industries are evolving too.

Interface recently had the opportunity to contribute article to two different publications that outlined our thoughts on the trends in force measurement. We were able to lean on our entire team to discover what they believe is the future of our industry. It was not only a fun exercise to take a step back and look into the future, but it was also encouraging because we realized that many of these trends are things that Interface has placed a heavy focus on in our strategic plans for the months and years to come.

Included below are links and a quick synopsis of recent articles by Interface ForceLeadersthat were published in Machine Design Magazine and Metrology News.

Machine Design Magazine: 2020 Trends in Force Measurement Sensors

Until about 10 years ago, the force test and measurement industry had been fairly unimaginative. It had developed a standard way of building analog load cells, torque transducers and other devices, and it worked for many years. However, as most of the rest of the technological world advanced and big data changed the way engineers and manufacturers work, this age-old force measurement analog technology stood out with no way to improve data collection or make it more efficient.

The digital revolution has pushed load cell manufacturers to look around and think about how customers develop products and how factories and production lines operate. Here are some of the trends force-measurement companies must get in line with or risk disappearing, as defined by Keith Skidmore, Regional Sales Director at Interface. Click here to read more

Metrology News: The Future of Force Measurement

The rise of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and “Big Data” has had a tremendous impact on almost every industry, including force measurement. Up until about ten years ago, the industry had remained steady and predictable. There was a standard way of building load cells using analog technology that was widely accepted, and they served their purpose well. In this article Ted Larson, VP Product Management and Marketing at Interface explains the industries recent transition and what lays ahead. Read more here.

Interface will continue to remain future-focused in an effort to serve our clients force measurement needs for now and beyond. If you are interested in learning more about custom solutions or new applications, contact us here.

Faces of Interface Featuring Jay Bradley

It is not often that we have a team member we are highlighting that has both engineering and musical talent. That sums up our next feature of the multi-talented Jay Bradley. He is Interface Engineer by day and rockstar by night.

Jay discovered his passion for music and engineering at a young age. He could often be found taking apart and tinkering with amplifiers for his guitar. “Anything that was given to me as a kid that included moving parts or electronics was disassembled pretty quickly,” said Jay.

After high school, Jay joined the United States Air Force. During his time in the service, he began to realize that he was destined for a career in engineering. Jay worked on a number of projects that were, in his words, “very cool,” involving the operation and development of classified electronic warfare equipment. This job went on for several years after his service because he continued to work with the U.S. Air Force as a contractor.

Upon leaving contracting, Jay started working for Microwave Systems Engineering, manufacturers of RF devices such as downconverters and microwave amplifiers. The knowledge and experience he gained in this field helped him to land a job at Honeywell, where he became immersed in navigation-related RF engineering. Before joining Interface, he worked for 10 years at Osmonics and Instrulink specializing in PH and conductivity sensors.

Today, Jay enjoys his career as an electrical engineer at Interface. He started at the force measurement solutions company designing amplifiers, a familiar field, where he applied his knowledge specifically for load cells. He worked his way up the ladder and is currently a lead designer on many of the products Interface makes today.

As a part of his responsibility for designing products, Jay works closely with customers to understand their technological challenges.

“The work I enjoy the most involves solving specific and complex pain points customers are experiencing.” Jay Bradley

A recent example of this type of work came with the development of one of Interface’s latest innovations, AxialTQ. This product was a direct result of customer feedback, mixed with Interface’s continuous drive to innovate.

Another aspect of Jay’s position with Interface that he enjoys is leading a group of engineers.

“My approach to leading these individuals is getting out of their way. I know that the engineers at Interface are incredibly talented, and it’s my job is to facilitate a work environment that is based on communication, supporting one another and allowing smart people to do what they do best without micro-management.” Jay Bradley

To satisfy his inner “rockstar,” Jay can be found jamming with his buddies in a garage band or tinkering with amplifiers to get the sound right. He has carried this passion with him throughout his life. Another creative outlet that Bradley has enjoyed since he was a teenager is photography. To this day, he shares these activities with his wife Ginny and three children. Rock on Jay!

Faces of Interface Featuring Mark Weathers

From working at a Fortune 100 company to owning his own machine shop and everything in between, Mark Weathers, VP of Mini and 1923 Wireless Business Products at Interface, has seen it all in manufacturing. His career experiences have provided him with the tools to excel as a leader.

Weathers graduated from Georgia Tech with a mechanical engineering degree and started his career at General Electric (GE) in the appliances side of the business. During his time at GE, he quickly realized his passion for manufacturing. He knew he preferred getting hands-on with the products, so he joined GE’s manufacturing management program where he developed skills managing a production floor.

After 10 years at GE, Weathers joined Aligned Signal, now Honeywell Aerospace, for nine years before owning his own machine shop, Excalibur Precision Machining. Excalibur served the aerospace industry, and it’s during this time that Weathers gained experience running a business, in addition to critical skills in business development. These skills, along with his management training experience at GE and MBA from ASU later in his career, serves him well in his leadership position at Interface.

Mark sold his business, Excalibur, and continued working with the company under its new management before joining Interface as a quality manager in 2015. At this time, CEO Joel Strom had just joined the company to improve processes and bolster innovation. Over the next four years, he has worked with Strom and other Interface leaders to help break departmental barriers on the production floor and speed up the time-to-market for mini load cells as well as specialized and custom products.

By combining the entire supply chain and improving Interface’s interdepartmental communication, the Interface Executive Team expects the company to run far more efficiently and customer satisfaction to improve dramatically with all the focus on continuous improvement. In Weather’s department, lead times for some of Interface’s higher volume products have already been cut in half, or greater.

Weathers attributes his success at Interface to the collaborative environment that Strom created and his own management style. He prefers to lead by setting an example of a positive attitude and the “do what it takes” mindset he wants to see from his staff. This includes taking time to have daily meetings with everyone on the production floor to understand their challenges, and jumping in his truck to deliver materials to other offices and more to ensure we are doing whatever it takes.  No matter what, Mark knows he will do anything he can to remove obstacles that cause negativity and finger-pointing and instead focus on results and positive outcomes.

“I liken my management style to Olympic curling, an odd analogy, I know and what I mean by this is I see myself as the two guys out in front of the curling stone, madly sweeping away barriers to the success of our department.” – Mark Weathers, VP Mini and 1923 Wireless Business Products at Interface

Weathers was raised in a military family, and also co-owns a jujitsu facility where he trained in the art for a few years. Those experiences have helped him bond with all types of people, regardless of their background, and recognize that everyone has something to contribute. Along with mountain biking and spending time with his family, Weathers finds pleasure in being extremely hands-on with the renovation of his house. He’s well known around Interface for having spent the last seven years single-handedly working on his home. He finds the same passion as a renovator as he does as a manufacturer, but with less stress!.