Jesus Chavez: electrical engineer and vacuum science emissary

From his desk in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Jesus Chavez networks with potential customers in the Republic of Columbia. Speaking Spanish, he answers their questions about how Vacuum Technology Incorporated (VTI) can help them acquire the calibrated leaks they need to leak test HVAC equipment. Later that afternoon, he helps a company in Mexico troubleshoot one of their vacuum systems before calibrating a collection of convection gauges for a government customer.

“My background is in electrical engineering, but I also have some mechanical experience. That gives me a lot of flexibility when selecting projects and job assignments,” said Chavez.

As a Service and Test Engineer, Chavez helps VTI’s global network of customers install and maintain their custom vacuum systems. It can be a demanding job. Chavez spends a lot of time on the road, travelling across the country and around the world to make sure customers’ leak detectors, gas recovery systems, and other industrial vacuum equipment continues to operate at peak efficiency. When he’s not providing customer support, Chavez is likely helping electricians assemble vacuum hardware or working in the calibration laboratory, where he serves as the primary operator for VTI’s vacuum gauge calibration program. VTI services a wide range of vacuum gauges, and Chavez calibrates everything from thermocouple gauges to cold cathode gauges.

“It can get pretty busy, but that keeps things interesting. It’s cool getting to juggle a bunch of different responsibilities during the day,” said Chavez

Chavez started his VTI career as a student intern in 2016. After earning his engineering degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, he joined VTI full-time. With his proficiency in both Spanish and electrical engineering, Chavez has helped VTI become a leading provider of vacuum equipment to the Spanish-speaking world.

“My family is from Mexico, so I grew up speaking Spanish at home. I think getting to interact with someone who speaks fluent Spanish is a relief for customers who want to do business with us, but don’t have the English skills necessary to talk about vacuum engineering,” said Chavez.

At first, it was challenging for Chavez to describe the technical nuances of industrial vacuum equipment to customers in Spanish. But he quickly developed a bilingual glossary of terms he could use to have productive conversations with Spanish-speaking manufacturers about vacuum science.

“When I first started, I was basically having to learn vacuum industry jargon in both English and Spanish. Becoming fluent in vacuum engineering was a lot like learning a foreign language,” said Chavez.

In his free time, Chavez enjoys playing video games, listening to music, and dancing. He also enjoys spending time with his family.

“My family and I had to work together to adjust to life in the United States, and I try to use that experience to build strong relationships between Spanish-speaking businesses and VTI,” said Chavez.