From Intern to Full Time Elcon Employee: Misael Rosales

What originally attracted you to Elcon Precision?

During my senior year at UC Davis, Tim gave a presentation about Elcon Precision. This company stood out to me because it has two departments – the metal products division and the ceramics products division. I did not have a lot of knowledge about high temperature ceramics, so wanted to learn more about that material and decided to complete the project here. After I graduated, I decided to intern at Elcon because I had enjoyed the three months here during my senior design project as the characterization lead.

How would you describe this internship experience?

When I first started, I was very nervous because I had very little experience in industry. Initially, I thought the day-to-day activities were a little slow. However, that allowed me to observe the workflow on the production floor and eventually provide my input and suggestions. This pace gave me time to shadow the engineers and understand each process unique to each engineering project. Working at a smaller company like Elcon gave me autonomy over what I wanted to do and how I want to help the industry. Overall, I really enjoyed the experience because it aligns with my interest in metal materials.

Tell us about your project.

I worked on two projects during my internship here. One was centered around Molybdenum, which is often used to make our grids for Traveling Wave Tubes. The Molybdenum sheets we use are usually thin and not ductile, so when you stretch it, it will break. In manufacturing grids, we need the material to stretch a significant amount, so Molybdenum ductility is important. On the materials science side, I worked on characterizing the material and how to improve the material properties. On the mechanical engineering side, which I do not have a lot of experience in, I worked on another project creating CAD designs for our new grid forming machine.

Do you have any suggestions for how future internship experiences can be improved?

I would suggest providing a more defined structure for interns, such as a packet outlining the general processes and workflows in each department. This would allow the interns to compare the written standards with the actual processes that the engineers and technicians use. This would give us the opportunity to provide meaningful insight into the standard procedures and possibly offer suggestions. Each material and design have an optimal manufacturing procedure, so the more data we log, the easier it would be for interns and new hires to understand and build the knowledge base from there.

Did you gain any new skills, techniques, and knowledge this summer?

When I first started at Elcon, I was asked if I knew how to use AutoCAD, which I did not. After three months of learning and practicing, I am now proficient and can create more complex designs. Surprisingly, I have also learned more about the different features and functions of Excel! Minitab is another tool I learned of and have used more to help me analyze my data. This was a great opportunity for me to apply what I learned in school to the high-tech manufacturing industry.

What do you believe the next step is in your career path, and how can we help to get you there?

I was offered a position at Elcon right after completing my internship and just started the full time role! In the future, I want to work in the Semiconductor manufacturing industry, which works on the nanometer scale. The Silicon Valley started with large scale transistors, but as technology advanced, they became smaller and smaller. I believe that with my experience, working on projects on the millimeter scale at Elcon is a great place to start and understand before proceeding to projects on the nanometer size. The metal department at Elcon focuses on photolithography and etching products that are on the millimeter scale.

How would you describe working at Elcon?

Everyone is very friendly! When I first started, I was afraid to approach people because I did not want to bother them. However, I found that every time I asked someone a question, they were always happy to answer and help me. I also appreciate that although Elcon has goals for me to reach, there was no micromanagement. Contrary to Elcon, there have been companies where I have worked at in which employees were expected to produce results no matter the situation – whether it is within your control or not. It's refreshing to see that the management team here is very understanding and there is a lot of trust in every employee.

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