A Day on the Road with the SIM Club

Last week’s field trip was an unequivocal success. After meeting briefly behind Weniger Hall to count heads, we took to the road as the sun rose (or at least seemed to rise) over another rainy Oregon day. Though perhaps marked by a swollen sense of competition on the part of certain passengers, the ride north went by in good humor and soon we stood at the steps of the Northwest Data Center Division of Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), a company responsible for hosting, operating, and maintaining data centers of global organizations such as Nike and Goodyear Tires. While the tour was impressive and the servers themselves quite large and fascinating, I found myself in another world of lingo and systematics quite unfamiliar and sublime. Jeremy Gragg, on the other hand, seemed right at home and had plenty of intelligent questions to ask.

Next stop, just down the road was Nike. At Nike we went from the museum-like multi-story entryway to an immense presentation room where we got our heads rocked by some rockin’ sports action and were briefed on Nike’s round robin format. Not only did they feed us, but when it came to presentations the Nike folks really got down to brass tacks. A very pleasing afternoon, all told. Next we toured some of the grounds and workout facilities on the 125-acre campus. Some might agree that the scale of things at Nike was grand, perhaps even swollen.

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MECOP Presentations

First to speak (she volunteered) was Amy. Amy interned with PSC Scanning, Inc. They partner with OSU researching wireless mobile data capture. Their end products include the scanners in Fred Meyers’ U-Scan devices. At Amy’s workplace in Eugene, there were about 1,000 employees, but she only worked directly with 30 people (other returning interns remarked that this was “huge”). There was a certain degree of surprise when she described PSC’s overtime policy and made it seem as if they pay you to take extra time on projects, but she assured us that her work was very deadline-oriented.
Amy said when she began, that she did not know ASP and SQL Server 2000, things heavily required in her line of work. She then told us that her experience learning these tools while an intern was better than learning them in class. What Amy valued the most about her internship with PSC Scanning was that it gave her a chance to observe the business process from within. She even remarked that she was often asked her opinion as if she was a salaried employee. One thing she found important was to “speak the language” of here coworkers.

Stephen Andrada worked for LSI Logic at their Campus in Gresham where they develop custom semiconductor products. He found surprise in the great flexibility of hours LSI employees had, he himself working from 8:30-5:00 weekdays. At LSI, Stephen had the opportunity to work on four different software development projects which employed the use of things like .NET and PHP. His projects included developing electronic forms to track corrective action for “defect events” and software to process Cp/Cpk data (I’ve learned in my OM class that Cp and Cpk are statistics which are used to manage quality control).
The people Stephen worked with included test engineers, end-users, people from the department of human services, and another department called “ARO.” He said that in his position at LSI Logic it was sometimes his job to call meetings. To begin with, a lot was put upon Stephen to achieve within a short amount of time, but he was able to overcome this challenge by communicating effectively and getting from his coworkers a better sense of what exactly was needed of him to do.

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