NYAB: “Safety glasses and smiles”

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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New York Air Brake LLC, part of the Knorr Bremse Group, is commemorating Engineers Week 2016, Feb. 21-27, through a lineup of events “that reaches out to future engineers and highlights the contributions of the company’s own.”

Established in 1951, Engineers Week celebrates the positive contributions engineers make to society, and is a catalyst for outreach across the country to children and adults. It is nationally observed the third week of February each year. NYAB’s annual celebration of Engineers Week features an open house for local students, as well as presentations by guest keynote speakers and senior leadership to the company’s engineers.

“We reach out to the young people in our community on a consistent basis,” said NYAB Vice President of Engineering Bill Kleftis. “Engineers Week is an opportune time to punctuate those efforts with a special program, engaging students in activities to raise awareness and spark interest in engineering. During this week, we also honor the work of our engineering ranks with a celebration spread over three days. These highly skilled men and women share an innovative spirit that is central to the success of New York Air Brake, which is built on technological innovation.”

“Safety glasses and smiles”

On two consecutive days during Engineers Week, Feb. 25-26, NYAB will host its fourth annual Engineering Open House, welcoming middle and high school students into its facility. Students will see engineers at work and learn about the many types of engineering performed at NYAB. Each day, some 125 students will engage in tours, demonstrations and hands-on activities. Divided into groups of 25 and participating in the activities round-robin style, the students will come together for lunch, when NYAB engineers will join them.

“To get a true sense of engineering and the creative problem solving that happens here, there is no substitute for an up-close view, and that’s what our open house gives the students,” said NYAB Director of Systems Development Engineering John Reynolds. “Our activity leaders are enthusiastic and engaging, and they bring out a lot of smiles and wide eyes in the students. Some of these young people, we hope, may begin to envision themselves participating in this kind of work one day.”

NYAB is a supporter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education opportunities. The Engineering Open House is one of several ways that the company supports local schools in developing these interests in students.

As part of its internal Engineers Week celebration, NYAB recognized seven engineers who contributed to the four patents granted to NYAB in 2015. In addition, NYAB filed 14 new patent applications in 2015.

“Through their work, NYAB engineers affect all of our lives for the better. We couldn’t be prouder of them for the passion and commitment they bring through these doors every day,” Kleftis said. “The company is dedicated to celebrating them and providing opportunities to grow.”

An example of NYAB’s dedication to its engineers’ growth is the Engineering Development Program (EDP), which features a three-year rotational employment aimed at new engineering graduates with undergraduate or advanced degrees. “In the EDP, a powerful blend of practical experience and career mentoring enables participants to make immediate contributions while fostering their professional development and advancement,” NYAB said. “As part of the EDP, NYAB also offers the TSE (Technical Skills Enhancement) program, an 18-month rigorous engineering curriculum that offers diverse technical skills training and features the mechatronics educational curriculum at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), in Rochester, N.Y. NYAB helped develop the curriculum and also enjoys a longstanding relationship with the institute.”

This year, NYAB is engaged in a research initiative “that will provide further opportunity for engineer growth.” The initiative includes a $3 million lab investment and expanded research relationships with academic partner institutions. For example, NYAB is now a sponsor of CAMP (Center for Advanced Materials Processing) at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y.

“Our lab investment and broadened relationships with RIT and Clarkson will help accelerate our research into new materials and processes, and promise to bring new technology and value to the rail industry,” Kleftis said. “New York Air Brake’s engineers are key to making that promise a reality.”

Last year, NYAB and Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, working in conjunction with RIT, created the Knorr-Bremse North America Mechatronics Laboratory at RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering. Inside the nearly 1,000-square-foot laboratory are five equipment stations that use fully functional Bendix and NYAB technology to provide hands-on experience with vibration, pneumatic controls, and valve control software. The laboratory serves both RIT students and engineers from NYAB and Bendix, which is also a member of the Knorr-Bremse Group, is a North American manufacturer of l active safety and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles.

In addition to its training and development programs, NYAB also employs engineering interns, “allowing students to gain real-world, on-the-job experience.”

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