22 Feb Allen Neu: Mechanical curiosity led to an engineering career
The goal of National Engineers Week is to increase the understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. We asked some of our seasoned engineers about the influences that drew them to the field, memorable career events and their greatest challenges.
A design engineer with Power-Packer, Allen Neu has always been curious about how things work. He said his father humored him in his passion to take things apart when he was young. “He was a car mechanic and could usually put things back together after I was done learning what made them work,” Neu said. “He also gave me a good background as a mechanic, which increased my desire to get into engineering.”
Neu said one of the first engineers he worked closely with, T. Michael Benson, was a real inspiration as an engineer. “He had an uncanny knack of looking at a problem and figuring out a workable solution to the problem,” Neu said. “Time after time one of us would come to him with a pump, valve or cylinder problem, and he would look it over for a little bit, then pull out his pencil and drafting board to draw up a solution for the issue. It looked so easy and fun, I determined that I would do that someday. Working at Power-Packer lets me do that kind of magic.”
Neu enjoys the challenge of finding the best solution to a problem, and it’s the part of his work at Power-Packer that he really loves. “Taking our products and finding the best way they can provide high value service to our customers, is almost like fitting a jigsaw puzzle together,” Neu said “It’s that little modification here, a combination of components there, and the joy of creation when it goes to the customer for their machines. You feel the pride of accomplishment knowing that you have helped them design, build and improve products used around the world.”
Neu describes Power-Packer’s power unit design development as a particularly interesting area. “More customers are coming to us with system problems and asking for comprehensive solutions,” he said. “Remote control of power units and self-leveling controls for our stabilizing cylinders is a new area we are working on. The research and prototyping of these new systems is challenging and exciting for me as an engineer. Our industry is being pulled into the digital world, and our control systems need to be incorporated into this new age.”
Neu has worked on many challenging projects at Power-Packer, but he says the stabilization systems have been particularly challenging. “Our stabilizer products can be incorporated into many outrigger applications, and the challenge is finding the best way to adapt those products to the needs of the customer and the various equipment.”