As a CNC application engineer for Motion Control Business of Siemens Industry Inc. (Elk Grove Village, IL), Sean Sullivan works with Siemens’ West Coast customers out of the Tacoma, WA, office, supporting primarily aerospace manufacturers using the Sinumerik line of CNCs.
An honors graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s of science degree in mechanical engineering, Sullivan started with Siemens right after graduating in 2009, and he quickly distinguished himself with the company. On a given day, Sullivan works with OEMs designing and implementing Siemens motion control and automation technology, develops and tests software, develops training courses and assists with end-user technology project planning by applying Siemens’ technology to an entire manufacturing facility, noted Stephen Czajkowski, applications engineering manager for Siemens’ Machine Tool Business Unit.
“Sean has made a huge impact at Siemens as well as the larger machine tool industry. He pairs this technical knowledge with an outstanding customer focus. Sean is able to deliver his communication at a level the customer understands—which is why customers ask for him time-and-time again,” said Czajkowski in nominating Sullivan. “The colleagues in Sean’s department, many of which are 30-plus-year industry veterans, often look to him for assistance, too.”
When he joined the company, Sullivan started out in Siemens’ two-year Emerging Leader Development Program (ELDP) for Engineers.
In his current role, Sean has been applying his previous work experience on the job while continuing to gain knowledge of a cross-section of industries. This has allowed him to work with many manufacturing applications and projects. “These applications range from milling and turning centers for the job shop, grinders, filament winding, metal-spinning and a variety of complex machines and systems for the aerospace industry,” Czajkowski said.
Manufacturing was always fascinating to Sullivan. “I imagine it started with my interest in Lego and K’nex, and I’ve always loved shows like How It’s Made,” Sullivan said. “I’m also something of a computer nerd. I knew I wanted to study mechanical engineering early on, and my favorite classes were in systems and controls. When I realized I could combine my interests in building things, computers, and controls with automation and motion control in manufacturing, I jumped at the opportunity.
“I enjoy the value generation inherent in manufacturing. I knew it was the right path for me after seeing this process in action,” Sullivan added. “I’ve had the opportunity to visit factories all over the country and see firsthand the valuable jobs and standards of living manufacturing provides to communities in addition to the products created.”
Sullivan credits several mentors in helping him toward success in manufacturing. “I had a great coach and mentor for my senior design project, Professor Tim Dalrymple. It was a team project that was part of the Integrated Product and Process Design program at the University of Florida,” he said. “Professor Dalrymple not only had a great technical knowledge, but also a working knowledge of project management and how to effectively achieve a given goal as part of a team. Also, my current manager, Stephen Czajkowski, has been instrumental in honing my current set of skills in the machine tool industry, and has also provided a great example of how to effectively manage a competent team. And I can’t leave out how much I’ve learned from my father through his example of leadership and integrity, and his influence in my interest in technology from a young age.”
This article was first published in the July 2016 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Read all of the 2016 30 Under 30 Profiles as a PDF.