STEM Career Profiles: Mr. Mike Carman, Materials Engineer

Mike Carman, Materials Engineer

LabLearner recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Mike Carman. Mr. Carman is the Equipment Portfolio Manage for Johnson Controls in York, Pennsylvania. Mr. Carman is a trained materials engineer. His interview is particularly interesting during COVID-19.

While the work of material engineers is extremely varied from industry to industry, in general, materials engineers develop, process, and test materials used to create a wide range of products.

1. Where did you do your undergrad and/or graduate work and what were the classes you took that relate to engineering.

I recieved my Bachelor degree at Virginia Tech with BSME (Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering) and a BioMed Option.

Engineering Classes:

  • Statics/ Dynamics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Heat & Mass Transfer
  • Vibration of Materials
  • Control Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering Basics
  • Engineering Materials
  • Mechanical Design
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Kinematics
  • CAD/Drafting/FORTRAN

Math Classes:

  • 3 semesters of Calculus
  • Differential Equations
  • Probabilities and Statistics
  • Financial Accounting
2. How do you use STEM skills on a daily basis?

Logic and analysis of any problem. The problem can be quite simple or complex…. the process is the same.  The use of STEM classes provide training to follow guidelines/tools to provide more accurate and reliable solution(s).

3. Can you explain what you and your company are doing that relates to COVID-19?

Johnson Controls is a large corporation comprised of over 25 companies/brands (York, Tyco, Simplex, etc..). About 250,000 people work for Johnson Controls globally. We design and build equipment and controls that support large industrial campuses… such as hospitals and universities.  

Today, we are helping the Army Corp of Engineers to retrofit hotels and university dormitories into ICU centers.  We produce items like ventilation systems/monitoring control to help maintain a negative pressure environment in isolation rooms.  In addition, we build and support the major equipment used to manage the building air quality and temperature.

Indirectly, we also design, build and support equipment and control systems for data centers. You may not realize the importance of data centers, but without them, you would not be able to participate in on-line education, order things on the internet, or even perform simple searches on your phone/computer. Today, this has become even more important due to the demands we are putting on the WEB during our “stay at home” period.

4. How do you think your industry might be permanently changed from the COVID-19 experience?

Better planning and preparation for such events.  However, even the manufacturers that plan for disruption in supply chain were affected.

I think what will change is each of us as individuals. How will we prepare for unforeseen events. What will we do moving forward to be more aware of our duties to our community, companies we work for, etc. Maybe we become less wasteful and truly appreciate what we have…. especially our family and friends. 

5. Can you provide one piece of advice for students who may like to get into materials engineering/sciences?

The world is your oyster. Anytime you can learn a skill and apply it, that is rewarding… when you can make a positive impact on people’s lives…  that’s PRICELESS. The field of engineering/sciences is absolutely one path that can take you there. PASSION in what you do is always key.