Engineering lecture series stars DTE

On Friday Jan. 29, Executive Vice President of Major Enterprise Projects for DTE Energy Company Ron May visited the Engineering Center.  He presented for the third segment of the School of Engineering and Computer Sciences lecture series.

In addition to his position at DTE Energy, May serves as the chairman of the Oakland University School of Engineering and Computer Science Advisory Council and is also on the board of directors for various other educational and municipal organizations.

May held a lecture titled “Engineers by Training” for a room full of students and faculty.  The speech focused on the versatility an engineering degree can provide and encouraged engineering majors not to be bound by any limits of their degree.

A major point May expressed in his speech was the idea of lateral thinking, which is creatively exploring all possibilities of even the simplest objects or concepts.

He highlighted that the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills learned are useful tools for engineers.  May emphasized though that engineering is focused on problem-solving and that we should be problem-solving all of the time.

May illustrated that there are so many aspects of our world that people do not think about.  Some of these examples include questioning the simple things in life, such as tire pressure or how piano keys are spaced out and demonstrating how the human brain is designed for sequential thought, through a couple exercises with audience members.  

He explained that by simply understanding how the things around people work, we may think of a breakthrough idea that could change our society.

“Are you really integrating learning into your work and everyday life?” May questioned the room.

The second major idea May addressed was to keep educating yourself.

“You’re never done with your education,” May said.

Engineers are not limited to problems exclusively around technology. May outlined that there are legislative components and communication components, such as facilitating community involvement, that show up in many projects.

He stressed to be broad and focus on removing limitations from yourself by applying your brain to as many different places as possible.

May also emphasized to make sure you’re learning in your courses by asking your professors questions and making sure you fully understand everything.  He encouraged students to get involved in order to have a dynamic college experience.

In addition to studying engineering, May mentioned that he was involved with glee club and other performing arts that gave him valuable communication skills that he could apply to his career development.

According to one of May’s slides there are so many jobs that all vary quite differently in just one company.

“You always hear that our country needs more engineers, but our country needs more engineers than we think we need,” May said. “By broadly applying yourself, you set yourself up to take advantage of more opportunities. You don’t always end up where you think you’re going.”

These lectures are open to anyone.  Students have the opportunity to meet people that are highly involved in the industry and hear their stories.