Q&A with Product Manager Brian Burke

Brian Burke Engineer Product Manager

Get to know Bishop-Wisecarver's Product Manager, Brian Burke!
Brian joined our company in February 2003, and holds a BS in Manufacturing Technology from California State University in Chico and an AA in Industrial Drawing from Bakersfield College. Brian can be reached via e-mail at bburke@bwc.com — Connect with Brian on LinkedIn.

Question: Why did you want to be an engineer?
Answer: I have always been fascinated by the things that are designed and built by mankind to solve technical challenges. Some examples would include Hoover Dam, the internal combustion engine, and the space shuttle program. My interest in engineering evolved from the question of “How did they make that?”

Question: Who was your biggest influence in becoming an engineer?
Answer: My scientific parents were my biggest influence as a child. Both of my parents were Microbiologists with in-depth technical understanding of the micro world around. They have always been a great resource in my quest for understanding “Why?”

Question: Where did you go for schooling?
Answer: C.S.U. Chico, BS degree in Manufacturing Technology
Bakersfield College, AA degree in Industrial Drawing

Question: What kind of job experience did you have before joining the Bishop-Wisecarver team? Any internships?
Answer: I spent several years working as a CAD designer for residential architects as well as HVAC and plumbing engineers. I also worked as a CAD modeler on electronic temperature control systems which were purchased by Intel for research testing on computer processors.

Question: What is your area of expertise?
Answer: My expertise has been focused on manufacturing processes and the work methods utilized in the creation of products. At BWC this includes the layout of machinery, the design of the tools and fixtures used to produce, inspect and assemble products, and the CNC machining process.

Question: What do you enjoy most about being an engineer?
Answer: I enjoy solving new challenges and improving upon established solutions. I particularly enjoy taking rough design concepts and refining them down into simple and elegant solutions.

Question: What's the most rewarding thing about being an engineer?
Answer: The most rewarding thing about being an engineer is having the opportunity to implement new ideas, concepts, and designs. New ideas must be tested and real world feedback helps to confirm whether or not your efforts directly contributed to success. A great sense of accomplishment can be felt after successfully implementing new ideas.

Question: What is the toughest project you have worked on?
Answer: The most challenging project I have worked on involved the design of production and assembly tools utilized to make a new generation of Lithium battery. The tools are required for mounting fragile, rigid components to flexible films.

Question: Any advice to aspiring engineers?
Answer: There can be many acceptable solutions to a given problem so keep an open mind to the possibility that other people can be a resource. Solutions are often iterative so be prepared to improve as you go. This means that you may have to abandon your initial ideas quickly. Working together in a team can help to bring out the best in people.

Question: What do you like to do outside of work?
Answer: I enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, kayaking, and camping. At home I work on many home improvement projects. Recently I helped a friend with a complete house remodel. In summer months my wife and I enjoy our vegetable garden. I build my own computers and have been thinking about getting back into radio controlled airplanes which I did extensively in my teens.