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Patrick Hall Interview

Patrick Hall volunteers as a capstone mentor and hands-on teacher with the VCEA Electrical Engineering students at WSU Everett.

How long have you been volunteering with the Electrical Engineering students, and how did you find out about the opportunity?

About five years ago a coworker, a WSU alumnus himself, told me about the opportunity to work with students at the Everett campus.

What is your background in the industry?

I was in the Navy for several years as a nuclear reactor operator and after being discharged I decided to go to the University of Washington (sorry). I got a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and have been working at the Fluke Corporation for 18 years now.

You do a lot of community work, specifically volunteering with the Downtown Everett Association and the cities’ Historic Commission, and previously with the Boys Scouts. What is your favorite part about working with our students and how is it different than other volunteering you’ve taken part in?

I am working to teach them the real-world side of engineering that is often lacking in the classroom setting. PCB layout and soldering are two specific skills we work on. However above all we work on teamwork and how, as a group of engineers, to solve problems together.

Part of the joy of working with students is that they are eager to learn. It’s not just a job, and it’s rewarding to see their progress in becoming engineers over the years. I also truly feel that they appreciate having me around, which is nice.

One of the cool things we do here is partnering with industry leaders like Fluke for mentorship and research projects that are not available to most undergrads. What is that like for you?

I don’t have a background in scientific research, but I do have a background in the development and research side of things. Engineers solve problems, so this is just solving a problem that hasn’t been solved before and helping the students see it through. In the case of this project, at Fluke, there are a few folks who identified the need for this problem, but it isn’t necessarily something we can afford to divert resources to it. The students are playing an important role in this for us because they are essentially building us a prototype. This program gives us a way to use their need to learn things and our need for brain power. It’s great.

If you could share with the Everett community one thing about us, what would it be?

WSU Everett is a resource for skilled new hires in engineering (and other majors), otherwise, we would be recruiting from outside of the community. It is a great resource for technology companies and companies like Fluke not only to hire future engineers but also to foster the technological ecosystem of this region. The partnership is an example of mutual benefit that betters our society and it’s fun to play a small part in it.

What is your favorite takeaway from the year so far?

Two alumni from the Everett program are mentoring alongside me now! Those two can focus on the hard skills they are more proficient in, and closer to their level of work, while I can focus on mentoring them. Now there is a succession plan for the program, and it’s great to mentor people on how to mentor.