Meet Student Engineer Garrett Fielding

By Dora Smith

Student engineer uses NX from Siemens PLM Software in solar car design

Garrett Fielding was on stage at PLM Connection in June discussing solar car design during Bill Boswell’s keynote: What Has Red Arms, Green Wheels and Defies Gravity? After he exited the stage Chuck Grindstaff came over and asked him if he wanted a job. Garrett didn’t know Chuck was president and CEO of Siemens PLM Software. But he soon found out.

“I learned more about the history of the company and everything that Siemens makes. It’s a fantastic, well founded company. The company does a really good job of taking care of its employees and its users.”

One thing led to another and Garrett has spent part of his summer as a student intern at our office in St. Louis. He works with our training team updating NX drafting courses. Since he is one of the student machinists on campus at Principia College and has taken our online learning courses there, he brings a true end user perspective to the material.

Originally from California, Garrett came to Missouri in high school. He heard about Principia’s solar car five years ago after they placed 2nd in the North American Solar Challenge.
“I fell in love with the program. I loved the idea, the innovation and the spirit of the project. It was the deciding factor for me to go to Principia College.”

Garrett says the solar car project is so compelling because you’re building an experimental vehicle powered by the equivalent energy of a hair dryer.
“The solar car is a fun medium for learning. You get exposure to a wide range of topics – automotive, electrical, mechanical, design, chemistry, physics. It’s the perfect project.”

On stage at PLM Connection he shared:
“It’s fun. It’s one of those projects you want to be involved in because you can see the product of your labor come to life in front of you and watch it be built from the ground up. And you can see these models you’re designing in NX and say that’s cool and then see them 3D printed or manufactured. You can take a great sense of pride in your work.”

Garrett has taught himself several CAD systems. When I asked him how NX compared, he said “oh yeah, NX is my favorite.”

He enters his senior year at Principia this month. He is studying chemistry and interested in material science, atmospheric science, and forensics. This fall, he’ll be busy fabricating Principia’s new solar car for the race next June. I asked him what lessons he learned with the solar car project. It turns out the biggest lessons in real-world projects are often off-screen.
“There are lessons learned all the time but they really come down to teamwork. Learning how to communicate as a team, learning to work with others and collaborate well.”

Student engineer uses NX in solar car design and internship with Siemens PLM Software


Garrett has brought that same mindset to his work at Siemens PLM Software. His manager Debbie Eckhoff shares:
“It’s always a privilege to work with new, enthusiastic minds. Interns like Garrett seem to have an abundance of energy and creativity, and can bring unique perspectives to problem solving activities in established teams. And the work that Garrett is doing now can also help him better identify what real-world opportunities he wants to pursue after graduation.”

He’s also brought a little solar car to his work too. For those of you taking our online or instructor-led courses in NX 9 might just find a solar car steering wheel as one of the projects. (seen on the screen with Garrett in the top photo)

Learn more about Principia solar car in this case study and keep up to date with Garrett and the team on their website as they prepare for the 2014 race.

What real-world project got you engaged in school?

– Dora


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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at