Kevin Hause: Passion for making things drives engineering career
The goal of National Engineers Week is to increase the understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. We asked some of our seasoned engineers about the influences that drew them to the field, memorable career events and their greatest challenges.
A senior design engineer with Elliott Manufacturing, Kevin Hause said he has always taken things apart to see how they worked, even as a child. “It started with watches, small appliances and radios,” he said. “As I got older, it became cars and motorcycles. In high school, I was strong in math and science, so it was a natural progression to become an engineer. I was and still am a very kinesthetic learner.”
He had several influential engineers who helped shaped his decision to become an engineer. “One of my grandfathers was a manufacturing engineer, and my father was an electrical engineer,” he said. “So I was always aware of engineering, and of course my father also passed on and supported my passion for working on cars and motorcycles.”
Hause’s favorite part of his job is the creative aspect. “I have a passion for making things, and Elliott is the ultimate engineered solution provider,” he said. “We design flexible shafts that are incorporated in an amazing array of systems and utilized across many different markets. We can be working on applications for aircraft, submarines, lawn mowers, snow blowers, surgical instruments, food processing, construction equipment and on and on. I learned long ago to stop thinking I’ve seen every flexshaft application, because tomorrow the phone will ring with a new one. The diversity keeps it interesting.”
Hause described the most memorable event in his career as being involved with developing an agricultural planter system for a customer. “It all started with a cold call from a customer, and he wanted to know if we could replace chains and sprockets on an ag planter with a flexshaft system,” Hause said. “No one here knew about that type of agricultural equipment, but we quickly learned. They supplied us with row units, and I developed working flexshaft and gearbox concepts. It was obvious that this solution would be relatively high volume and price sensitive, so we needed new manufacturing techniques. Since that production launch, we have produced millions of those products, and agriculture products have become a huge market for us.”
Hause recalled one of the biggest engineering challenges, that came very early in his career with Elliott. “As a young engineer just becoming familiar with our valve control product line, I was asked to give a lecture to the American Nuclear Society on the benefits of our valve control products in nuclear power plants,” he said. “It was the proverbial baptism by fire as I stood in front of hundreds of nuclear physicists and engineers and delivered my slide show presentation. Actual slides! I survived, and it was actually well received. I guess you could say it gave me confidence in my abilities and has shown me that I can push through difficult situations.”