Why Mark Thompson Chose a Career in Engineering

By Dora Smith

Why did Mark Thompson choose a career in the engineering and manfacturing industry? Because he’s a people person. Not all work in the this industry is done on the computer. Mark Thompson does a lot of work on the computer. But his favorite part of his gig is off computer.

Talking with folks like Mark – who work in engineering but may not engineer a product – reminded me of a recent Deloitte study analyzing the current skills gap in U.S. manufacturing. It noted:

“The hardest jobs to fill are those that have the biggest impact on performance.” 

The study found shortages in two key areas that affect a company’s productivity and operational expansion. They included skilled production (machinists, operators, distributors) and production support (industrial engineers, manufacturing engineers).

Mark began in skilled production and now works in Solid Edge field support role. Mark shared in this video interview how he went from a blue to white collar job. His 14 years of shop floor experience were key to this career move.

He notes that this field is exciting to follow because the software changes quickly.

I asked Mark what was the most interesting thing he made in all those years in the machine shop. Here’s what he said:
“The most interesting piece that I worked on was a 3 foot x 3 foot x 10 inch aluminum block that had to be placed on my jig bore machine by a forklift, but when I finished machining the material away I could literally pick the part up with a couple of fingers. The weird part was this was really a job for a CNC type machine, but I did it on a jig boring machine which was all manual. It took me a couple of months to finish.  When I finally finished it, they asked me if I thought I could do 30 more of these ;-). I had to laugh as it probably could have been programmed and finished within a week on a CNC machine.  The part turned out great, but was impractical to do the way we did it.”

Mark brings that productivity focus now to the Solid Edge community – helping everyone get up to speed quickly with new versions of our software. Case in point – teaching a class at Solid Edge University:

That’s Mark’s story. What’s yours?

 – Dora

P.S. In case you missed previous blog posts like this, here is a link to more engineering as a career posts.

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