Engineering Showcase Event at Northern Illinois University

Jul 13, 2023 | Inside BE - Our Culture | 0 comments

Recently, Brindley Engineering was invited to attend the Northern Illinois University Senior Design Demonstration Day. Brindley Engineering’s Mike Picard, Engineer, and Scott Berglund, Piping Department Manager, visited new hire and NIU May graduate, Pablo Ramirez. Ramirez earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. There were a lot of impressive Senior Design Projects showcased at this event including Pablo’s project which was called “Innovative Sampling Solutions.” Pablo and his team were tasked to design and build a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that could fly to remote cenotes (sinkholes) in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and collect water samples. They built a six-prop drone from scratch that could land on water to take samples and return to its home base.

Q&A with Brindley Engineering’s Piping Team: meet Pablo Ramirez, recent NIU grad and Brindley Engineering’s new full-time engineer

We asked Pablo and the BE team a few questions about the project:

Q: Before we get into Pablo’s project, Mike what was the Senior Design Demonstration Day like at NIU? 

A: The NIU engineering senior design program is a yearlong capstone project for seniors in the engineering program, and demo day is when the teams can finally showcase all their hard to the public. There were dozens of teams, each with their own table doing live demonstrations and explanations of their projects to anyone who wanted to see. The projects where impressive and from  a rover that could navigate the gutters of a house cleaning debris out as it goes, to a recirculating pump system that tests for and controls the Ph level in a tank, to large drones that can fly to remote areas and take samples from the environment.

Many of the students spent a lot of time and effort taking real life projects, engineering and implementing solutions that can be used by companies.” – Scott Berglund, Piping Department Manager

Q: What stuck out to you about Pablo and his team’s project?

A: You could just tell at the demonstration day that Pablo was a real leader of his project team and had a lot of passion in his work.

Q: Welcome to Brindley Engineering Pablo! Tell us about your Senior Design Demonstration. What were your goals? Did you achieve them? 

A: My senior Design Project was to design and build a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) or drone that will collect water quality samples in the Cenotes of Mexico. The original plan was that the drone would fly over the jungle, locate the cenote, fly into the cenote, then land on the water and stay afloat. It would then lower a container that has sensors attached to it and collect about a liter of water while also taking sensor readings. The final step was to raise the container and fly back to its point of origin.

What I can say is that all those points were hit, and the drone was able to accomplish all the goals although it is still going through testing. Testing is being done slowly because my teammates and I do not want to crash or ruin anything. The drone can float on water without any problem – we developed a winch system that can lift the weight of the container. The drone has enough power to fly for about 30 mins on full battery. But the biggest benefit of all is that the drone is cheaper than most commercial drones out there- about a third of the price. Overall, we are happy with the outcome of the project.

Q: How did you learn about BE? Why did you choose to work at BE? 

A: I learned about BE via the NIU Engineering Job and Internship Fair. There were so many companies there that all offered great experiences in my opinion and in fields that there would be no shortage of work. I chose BE because they are in a major field: oil and gas. Oil and gas are not dying out anytime soon, or at least in my lifetime. I felt it would be a major steppingstone into my engineering career to work in such a big industry and get exposure to so many different sites and get a taste for the work ethic required.

I chose BE because they are in a major field: oil and gas. Oil and gas are not dying out anytime soon, or at least in my lifetime. I felt it would be a major steppingstone into my engineering career to work in such a big industry and get exposure to so many different sites and get a taste for the work ethic required.” Pablo Ramirez, recent NIU grad and Brindley Engineering engineer

Q: You were an intern before taking a full-time job, right? What is it like to work at BE? 

A: I started off as an intern at BE. I started off with all the basics and was given all the tools necessary to begin my career. Having a BE buddy in the same department right off the bat to helped me on the first day. While I was an Intern, BE was able to work with my school schedule and was understanding when I had to take a half day or a full day off to focus on my schoolwork. Their main goal with me was to help me get used to everything BE – the workflow, the constant communication, and the bouncing around between projects. Also, I completed all the safety training that different sites require. Overall, everyone is friendly and helpful at BE.

Q: What advice would you give other job seekers about finding a job in Engineering? 

A: Some major advice I would give is to be confident in your skills. Always keep your head high when applying to a job. I have met people that applied to over 100 jobs and only get 2 interviews, but I have also seen people apply to 10 jobs and get 10 interviews. Some people get lucky. Some companies don’t even email you back which is demoralizing, but all it takes is that one email asking you to come in for interview to reignite that fire. Engineering is a field that is forever evolving, and there will never be a shortage of jobs for engineers.

Q: Scott, what are your goals for the Brindley Engineering Piping Team? What do you look for in a new hire?

A: We are a field-focused company that wants to visit our clients and see our projects firsthand. We work with clients to develop solutions and implement our work in a quality matter.  The main things we’re looking for when interviewing new graduates to join our team is that they are meticulous, passionate in their work, driven, and most importantly team players, which Pablo demonstrated in his interview and proved it in his Sr. Design Project! 

Q: Are you hiring? What roles and where can we learn more? 

A: We are always looking for good talented individuals across all fields of engineering that fit our needs.  Even when we think our positions are full, we continue to interview. 

Join the Team! Current open positions can be found on our website,


NIU Senior Design Demonstration Day


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