It’s Time to Meet our International Engineers (Global Day of the Engineer 2019)

For the past 5 years, National Engineers Week has given Digi-Key an opportunity to highlight the innovation and advancement of electronics and technology by our customers and employees – in North America.

We decided it was time to shine the spotlight on employees and customers around the world who make contributions to technology and innovation. We explored what inspired some of our engineers to pursue the work that they do today, advice they have for next-gen engineers, and some of their favorite inventions.

Name: Dany Haikin

Type of Engineer: Electronic Engineer

Years at DK: 7

What first inspired you to become an engineer?

I wanted to understand the mystery of small electronics that make everything work.

What inspires you now about engineering?

Engineering is not only the knowledge, but the approach to have things solved: analyzing the problem/task, thinking, using available resources, then taking action/trying.

What do you feel is important to inspire the next generation to take up engineering?

As mentioned above. Being thrilled to meet challenges and be able to solve them. Technicians know how to fix things (sometimes even better than engineers), but engineers create the technology and realize it. I imagine it’s like giving birth. You need to love it and have some basic skills.

What do you feel is most rewarding about being an engineer?

The satisfaction from the job, never being bored, working environment

What do you feel are a couple of the most important inventions ever made?

Air conditioner, disk-on-key, diapers, mobile phone, internet


Name: Rolf Horn

Type of Engineer: Generic Electrical Engineering with special subject area in semiconductors

Years at DK: 5 years

What first inspired you to become an engineer?

I wanted to share my enthusiasm for electronics and the continuous innovation within the industry, touching on the role of German culture in the valuing of engineering as an old and still actual discipline.

What inspires you now about engineering?

I want to continue my learning process to be fully accepted in the role of a real trusted advisor for any kind of electronics components recommendations, and to provide solutions to as many customers’ issues and problems as I can.

What do you feel is important to inspire the next generation to take up engineering?

There are two things: the traditional approach of learning the basic fundamentals of physics as well as state-of-the-art new technologies for future innovations.

What do you feel is most rewarding about being an engineer?

Being considered as the most reliable go-to person for any technical support issue.

What do you feel are a couple of the most important inventions ever made?

The Wheel, Cheops pyramid in Gizeh, Egypt, printing press, Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machine, steam engine powered train, telegraph, telephone, Edison’s electric bulb, Karl Benz Patent-Motorwagen, Konrad Zuse computer, Bell Laboratories’ transistor, Sputnik satellite, Original “Digi-Keyer”, ARPANET Internet, Intel 4004, 4-bit CPU, mobile phone, GPS, CBM C64 8-bit Personal Computer, 3D printer, Hubble Space Telescope, The EU/€uro currency, Bluetooth, Linux, Mars Exploration Rover, Google Search, Android, IBM Watson (developed to answer questions on Jeopardy), DK IoT Studio


Name: Savitri Sinnema

Type of Engineer: Industrial Engineer

Years at DK: 2

What first inspired you to become an engineer?

Growing up, I noticed that the engineers I came across, whether they had an engineering job or not, were less afraid to explore the world around them. They were the ones most likely to approach problems in a playful, positive, and productive manner. I find such an approach to life inspiring.

What inspires you now about engineering?

The endless possibilities for the future! Some of the technologies we have today would have been unthinkable 100 years ago, so I can’t wait to see what the future will bring.

What do you feel is important to inspire the next generation to take up engineering?

To challenge young people to take an active role in the world around them and become creators and not just consumers. One could start by asking young people they meet how an existing product in their lives could be made better, how would they would go about making it happen, and how this change would impact the world; talking about recent discoveries and still unsolved engineering challenges, promoting Maker fairs and other similar spaces (virtual and physical), etc.

Also very important, would be to dispel the myth that engineering is for non-creative people and that if you struggle with math and science, engineering is not for you. Yes, learning takes dedication and the basics must be covered before moving on to more difficult subjects, but constantly tackling problems that are out of reach will help one learn how one best learns and solves problems, which are highly valuable skills that will be helpful for the rest of one’s life. Like the characters in video-games, we all start with different stats that are influenced by how we “play” our lives and the world around us, but it’s always possible to level-up those stats that are useful and important to us. So yes, some subjects might come more easily to some, but focus on yourself and use what you already know to expand your knowledge base and solve the problems you’re faced with. Experiment and learn from your mistakes!

What do you feel is most rewarding about being an engineer?

When you manage to solve a challenging problem that made it necessary for you to sit down and think hard and give it your full attention. That moment when it all clicks, particularly when solving the problem will help someone else solve a problem of their own, is extremely rewarding.

What do you feel are a couple of the most important inventions ever made?

The transistor, wheel, printing press, steam engine, antibiotics, telegraph


Name: Penny Tse

Type of Engineer: Electronic Engineering Information & Communication

Years at DK: 5.5 years

What first inspired you to become an engineer?

I like Math & Physics. I knew studying Engineering could extend my exploration in these subjects and then I could apply both in daily life. When I first graduated, I supported a project by integrating the cap touch sense feature into a Cordless phone. The iPod had just launched 1-2 years prior. I already felt how technology was impacting personal life & experience and I was interested to further develop in this field.

What inspires you now about engineering?

Sharing & enabling technology to others. The same technology could be adopted in different applications, or different technology can be applied in the same application; which does a lot for innovation. In my recent position, I can play around with many kinds of technologies and products. I am interested in how they could inspire different imaginations in people that will change our lives in the future.

What do you feel is important to inspire the next generation to take up engineering?

The internet changed the world, especially how we collect information, search for answers, and gain knowledge. In the past, we needed to take a class to study how to create a PCB layout. And now, you can build a vehicle or mobile phone through an online video. Rather than worrying about the lack of resources or technologies that the previous generation had to deal with, the importance of identifying and precisely collecting the desired information on the internet as well as focusing on one’s own innovation will be critical for the next generation.

What do you feel is most rewarding about being an engineer?

As mentioned before, I would like to create more content sharing for new technologies and ideas for the engineering community; thereby, generating more and more attention from our created content and inspiring more innovations.

What do you feel are a couple of the most important inventions ever made?

Optical Fiber, Internet, and AI

About this author

Image of Kayla Krosschell

Kayla Krosschell is a PR & Marketing Communications Specialist who joined the Digi-Key Electronics team in 2013. She earned her Bachelor of Arts & Sciences degree in Mass Communications and Media Studies from the University of North Dakota where she was a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Her current role includes tasks such as press releases; media relations; integrated marketing campaigns; writing and proofing editorial, advertising, and web copy; and community outreach. In her spare time, Kayla enjoys attending (and traveling to) UND athletic events and the occasional craft beer.

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