Welcome to our “Meet Our Crew” series. We want to feature the people behind EarthCruiser because their talents, skills, commitment and passion to create best-in-class vehicles are what make our products and company so special. Our Bend, OR based crew is a tight-knit bunch. Working on these trucks, both in the shop and office, is akin to an intricate dance that produces something extraordinary and beautiful. We have a crew of less than 40 people, and we are lucky enough to genuinely want to share time and adventures with each other outside of work. Whether it is camping or white water rafting, the experiences outside of work foster deep trust and a truly collaborative, creative and innovative atmosphere. We all have unique backgrounds filled with an innate draw to exploration and adventure.
Let’s introduce Victoria from our Engineering team. Victoria earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Energy Systems Engineering at OSU Cascades while simultaneously interning at EarthCruiser. Upon graduating in March, she started full-time at EarthCruiser. Victoria goes in-depth about her experiences during our Q&A session:
Q) Can you tell us a little bit about your background? Where did you grow up? What did you like to do in your free time?
I grew up in Boise, Idaho. My favorite hobbies are camping, hiking, and paddle boarding. My mom got me into camping and hiking. If it wasn’t for my mom and her support, I wouldn’t be the active and outdoorsy person that I am today. We would go on adventures together almost every weekend. We hiked the Lost River Peaks, St. Helen’s, South Sister, and all around Stanley, Idaho. We climbed four out of the nine highest peaks in Idaho.
Q) What drew you into a career in science?
I wanted to be a vet for a while. In 8th grade they made us choose between choir and engineering. I can’t sing so I took engineering and ended up falling in love with it. In high school I took some SolidWorks classes and made some cool things with a 3D Printer and CNC machine. There was a class that challenged us to make the strongest bridge. My uncle, who is an electrical engineer, helped me a lot with the project. I ended up having the first or second strongest bridge in my class.
Q) Did you know from the start of college that you wanted to study engineering?
I was thinking about Mechanical Engineering and then visited multiple colleges and saw that OSU had an Energy Systems Engineering program. I thought that the program was diverse and cool, and my mom hyped me up to do it. I probably wouldn’t be an engineer without her support. I ended up picking Energy Systems Engineering because I wanted to work with hydraulic systems, geothermal systems, or wind power systems. This also opens up opportunities for me to travel for work. I would love to go to New Zealand or Iceland for geothermal systems, or Scotland or Ireland for wind power systems.
Q) How did you hear about EarthCruiser? Had you heard about the company before applying?
There was a tour associated with one of my classes, and my friend asked me to go on the tour with her. I was super impressed after the tour, so I asked the team if I could apply as an intern. They already had an intern, but they gave me an application anyway. A couple months later, I got an email saying that they needed a new intern.
Q) What was the experience like as an intern in the beginning, and what was the biggest learning curve for you?
I was really intimidated at first, because everyone was older, more experienced and I had not used SolidWorks for five years. I had to go and talk to the production crew and I was nervous like a mouse. I thought I was annoying everyone by asking so many questions, but it taught me that it is ok to ask questions to learn. It helped me gain confidence to ask about what I don’t know. Everything is a giant learning curve. I can now use SolidWorks fluidly and independently. I now understand parts of the vehicle better and their relation to each other. I am definitely still learning a lot.
Q) What is your favorite thing about working for EarthCruiser?
I really enjoy how it is like a small family. It is not a big, corporate production company. Everybody knows everybody. We go and do rafting trips together, camping trips, and everyone hangs out after work. We can joke around and have a good time, but still get to the point, work, and get stuff done. It makes you feel welcomed.
Q) What do you see as the biggest obstacle when it comes to engineering these trucks?
My biggest obstacle is trying to create a new design, or trying to figure out how to make something better. I was doing a lot of revisions and touch ups as an intern, but now I am getting more into bigger responsibilities and designing. I think it is good to tackle something you are not comfortable with. It will help you be a better engineer.
Q) If you weren’t working at EarthCruiser, what other company would you love to work for?
I definitely want to travel while working. I want to visit new cultures. I would love to work with NASA. Engineering is my dream job, nothing else makes sense. I love seeing all of the new products in development here, from the bigger trucks to Terranova, to CORE.
Q) What would you tell a new engineer at EarthCruiser?
If you want to be an engineer, do it. Be confident in your ability to learn, but do not be pretentious and think that you know everything. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Get to know the trucks and how their components all work together. Don’t let the haters bring you down. Follow your dreams.