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Engineers Around the World
Caitlin Morelli is one of two first ever Global Officers chosen by President Aoun to travel the world on behalf of Northeastern University. Her passion for social entrepreneurship brought her to Bali, Indonesia, South America and more. Searching for sustainable business models Caitlin made new connections and visited current students and alumni. One current international co-op student was Robbie Mullinix, a fourth year electrical engineering student in Santiago Chile. She had the opportunity to interview him and learn about his amazing experience.
ENGINEERS AROUND THE WORLD
Robbie Mullinix is a fourth year electrical engineering student on international co-op in Santiago Chile. One of the first NU engineering students I’ve met during my travels, Robbie has one of the coolest jobs I’ve found so far.
CM: Can you tell me a bit about your company?
RM: I work at Fracttal, a platform that manages and maintains industrial assets, specifically those pertaining to maintenance. An example of this would be putting sensors on wind turbines that display data to a company. This data can help predict unexpected malfunction and map out the lifecycle of the asset. There are really three components to the company. The brain of the operation is the asset management software that can also manage things like inventory and employees. Then there is Fracttal mobile, an extension of this software that manages assets on the go, and Fractall box, a mobile weather station for industrial equipment. This box attaches to industrial machinery and monitors different aspects of maintenance.
CM: What exactly do you do at Fracttal?
RM: The company only has four employees, and I’m the only hardware person on the team. I work specifically on the printed circuit board of the Fracttal box – designing the board, buying components, soldering the board, and testing it out.
CM: What has it been like working at a startup?
RM: This is my first experience at a startup, but I definitely get more responsibility than I would at a larger company. Startup culture is great because you have much more freedom to create your own tasks and set your own deadlines. Because the company is so small, I have been able to see all sides of the picture, from the technical side, to securing funding and business development. I’ve learned a lot along the way, which has even started dictating what classes I want to take next year. My co-workers have helped me figure out what classes I need to come back and be successful within the company.
CM: What would you say to other engineers considering going abroad?
RM: A lot of engineers don’t go abroad because it isn’t really necessary or required, especially if they want to work in the U.S. after graduation. In other countries, they have different problems with unique challenges that we take for granted in the U.S. But I think we may have the exposure to and know how to solve them. In turn, you bring back a different perspective, which can also help spur innovation at home. Learning a new language gives you the chance to participate in new markets where you don’t necessarily need to discover the next Facebook or LinkedIn to be successful. There is so much opportunity to create companies that already exist in the developed world, that an idea doesn’t need to be revolutionary to take off.