By Indiana State University
Jun 24, 2019
A Clinton, Ill., native, Parker Kirby, ’17, ‘GR’19, has been living life to its fullest with good food and outdoor adventures near Nashville, Tenn., where he works as a system engineer for the system Integration company, PREMIER System Integrators, Inc.
“A typical day on the job is setting my own hours while accomplishing all of my work. Being able to come and go as I please and being left to be responsible is the best,” he said. “I tend to thrive not being micromanaged and that combined with the lack of politics in my company happens to make for great days. It’s 100 percent employee-owned and everyone that is there wants to be there and contribute.”
Kirby, who earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering technology and a master’s in electronics and computer engineering technology, developed his passion for the mechanical engineering field at Indiana State, where he initially thought he would study automotive technology.
“But I found myself so familiar with the material already that I could teach it, so I switched to mechanical and spent the next five years getting as much exposure and projects I could handle,” he said. “It wasn’t until working on my master’s, specifically through the help of Professor Edith Wittenmyer, that I turned into a project manager and powerhouse of a team member.”
One of those projects was for the Vigo County History Center visitors who enjoy the interactive features of the Duke Energy exhibit.
“We basically made a mechanical design of a box with a shaft that goes into the box and an antique wheel from the energy station is fixed to it,” Kirby said. “When someone turns the wheel, it produces a sound like it’s activating a turbine.”
Kirby handled the project’s mechanical design of the metal pieces and wheel, while another group of students devised the code to turn the computer on and off and play sounds.
“We started off researching how the wheel would have actually worked, then we used a box to contain the speakers, electronics and computer that runs it I designed a mechanical shaft with enough counterweight on it so (the wheel) wouldn’t spin freely on it but was easy enough for a child to spin,” he said. “Once there has been no rotation for three seconds, a shutdown sound starts.”
State also gave Kirby exposure to teaching.
“It helped with communication and to further my knowledge on topics related to my field and I think that this experience helped me get my job,” he said.