Know an engineer? Give them a big hug, an epic high five, an aggressive fist bump, because it’s National Engineers Week (Feb. 16-22). It’s a seven-day celebration of our friends who help create nearly everything we interact with on a daily basis, from the cars we drive to the hinges on our laptop computers. The purpose of the week is to “observe how engineers make a difference in our world, increase public dialogue about the need for more engineers and bring engineering to life for kids, educators and parents.” At Proto Labs, we staff a team of experienced customer service and design engineers who work with a variety of engineers from companies large and small around the world. This engineering partnership helps develop some of the most innovative products found across all industries.
Appreciation for our mathematically inclined honorees was evident in a recent study conducted by TE Connectivity Ltd. The survey of more than 1,000 men and women revealed that Americans see engineering professionals as the leading drivers of innovation. In fact, 87 percent associated invention with engineers and see their roles in innovation increasingly more important than it was 20 years ago. Mobile devices, robotics and wearable technologies were sighted as areas that would have the most impact on society in the next 10 years.
Advancing innovation into the next decade and beyond involves educating students about different types of engineering — the four major fields being mechanical, electrical, civil and chemical with a subset of nearly 200 others. A large piece of National Engineers Week is teachers and parents finding creative ways to excite kids about science, math and technical skills. There’s a heightened level of events that are being held across the U.S. this week followed by periodic happenings throughout the year. A good place to look for an engineering-centric event in your city is at discovere.org, where you can search by location and event type.
It’s no coincidence that National Engineers Week falls on the same week as Presidents Day. George Washington was considered one of the first engineers. The long list of notable engineering alumni is impressive, including some of the brightest minds in history, but there are few others with engineering backgrounds who may surprise you — filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, former supermodel Cindy Crawford, “Office Space” and “Bevis and Butt-head” creator Mike Judge, and Rocky Balboa’s Soviet Union arch enemy, Dolph Lundgren. So, good company.
Happy National Engineers Week!