Flipping through a packet of design notes, Aaron Powers inspects a sprawling industrial leak detection system. This system, which will help HVAC manufacturers prevent faulty products from entering the field, marks a professional milestone for Powers. The first major project of his career, assembling this complicated, custom collection of machines put all of the engineering skills Powers learned at Tennessee Tech University to the test.
“Our leadership team was always ready to lend a hand if I needed it, but they also gave me a lot of freedom to problem solve on my own. Getting to shoulder that kind of responsibility so soon after graduating has been an awesome experience,” said Powers.
As a Design Engineer at Vacuum Technology Incorporated (VTI), Powers works closely with companies around the world to develop custom vacuum systems that are critical for everything from industrial manufacturing to scientific research. VTI maintains a fully-integrated production process, which allows Powers and his colleagues to play an active role during every phase of a project’s lifespan. Not only does Powers collaborate directly with customers to design leak detection solutions tailored to fit their unique needs, but he also works alongside the fabricators, technicians, and machinists that actually turn his concept into a finished product. This gives Powers and the customers he serves an uncommon amount of control over even the most minute aspects of creating industrial vacuum equipment.
“What really separates us from our competition is our ability to take the reins and manage our systems from start to finish. If customers need a unique part or want us to change something on their system, we can do that pretty easily,” said Powers.
Powers has been a member of the VTI team since his senior year of high school, when he served as a summer intern. After earning his mechanical engineering degree in 2019, he decided to join VTI as a full time employee. The wide variety of challenges he gets to tackle in his role as a Design Engineer makes every day interesting, he says, and he enjoys getting to help build the machines he designs.
“If I worked somewhere else, I’d only be doing design work. I like getting to leave my office and do some work on the shop floor every once in a while,” said Powers.
If he’s not designing and building industrial vacuum equipment, Powers is probably watching sports, golfing, or playing with his adorable golden retriever. Powers also likes to spend time with his family. His mother, Terry Powers, works at VTI as a Shipping and Receiving Specialist.
“For me, VTI is literally family. We’re a team, and it’s really rewarding to work together towards a common goal,” said Powers.