Revenge of the Mummy is dream job

Feb 17, 2006

Tim Swieter '03 is a "new face" during the celebration of National Engineers Week, Feb. 19-25

Tim Swieter '03 is on a short list of people who LOVE to go to work.

Why not? How many engineering teams get to work "hands on" with the Revenge of the Mummy LIM Launched Rollercoaster for Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood? The 2,200-foot coaster includes a sudden stop into an eerie, darkened tomb.

Sounds like fun! Or work on the redesign of animation equipment for the Jungle Cruise ride at Magic Kingdom? How about designing and installing the fireworks control system for Hong Kong Disneyland? Or designing the hardware and software for a show control system for the new "Fear Factor Live!" at Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood?

"I love my job," said Swieter, who graduated from Kettering in Electrical Engineering in 2003. "There are not many companies that even do theme park and entertainment work. There are even less who can do it as their sole business."

Swieter works for Birket Engineering in Ocoee, Fla., an electrical and software engineering company that has done ride and show control systems for all the major parks like Disney, Universal, and Six Flags. "I can not emphasize how much my co-op job prepared me for my responsibilities that I had for my first project with Birket," he said.

Swieter's interesting work placed him among the select "New Faces of Engineering" featured as part of the celebration of National Engineers Week, Feb. 19-25. Swieter was nominated by the National Society of Professional Engineers. His accomplishments are highlighted on the National Engineers Week's website. Swieter and the other "New Faces" also were in a full-page ad in "USA Today" newspaper on Feb. 15.

Swieter credits his co-op experiences at Kettering for having brought him this far. "There is nothing better than the education you get from Kettering University and from the co-op experience," he said. "Over time you gain responsibilities and experiences that separate you from everyone else going to a traditional school."

But there's another part to early success, he noted. "You have to tell others about your dreams. One way that I was prepared to take hold of an opportunity in the entertainment industry was through networking. This kind of work can be very demanding but is very rewarding," he added.

About Engineers Week:

Engineering is undoubtedly serious work, but those honored as the New Faces of Engineering 2006 show that it's a profession that knows how to have a little fun, too. Each year, the Engineers Week Foundation - a consortium of the world's leading engineering societies and major corporations - asks its members to nominate young colleagues who have shown outstanding abilities and leadership in their chosen discipline. From that list, a select few are chosen as the year's New Faces, a group that reflects the excitement and vigor of the profession. Engineers Week, February 19-25, 2006, is co-chaired by SWE (the Society of Women Engineers) and Northrop Grumman Corporation. Typically, the nominees work in critical areas such as national security or transportation planning and development, and this year's honorees are no different. But, within that set of 20-somethings (nominees must be age 30 or younger) are a few newcomers who understand the importance of a good time.

Take, for example, Timothy Swieter, an electrical engineer whose idea of work is a day at the amusement park. With his company, Birket Engineering, Swieter has been part of the team responsible for the mechanisms behind such crowd-pleasers as "Revenge of the Mummy, The Ride" at Universal Studios Orlando, a 2,200-foot coaster that includes 180-degree banks and 50-degree drops. The steel twister includes a sudden stop into an eerie, darkened "tomb" where riders are asked to exit, but instead of their snug lapbars being released, the ceiling bursts into flame before riders are sent plunging to the ride's completion.

Engineers Week, a formal coalition of more than 75 engineering, professional, and technical societies and more than 50 corporations and government agencies, was founded in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers. The program is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers among young students and by promoting pre-college literacy in math and science. Engineers Week also raises public understanding and appreciation of engineers' contributions to society. Co-chairs for 2006 are the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Northrop Grumman Corporation. Click on this link for complete information on Engineers Week programs.

Written by Pat Mroczek
With source materials from The Nolan/Lehr Group
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