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Troy Wallace Pierson Age: 18


University of Alabama - Incoming Freshman Mission Viejo, CA


UNDER THIRTY W


hen high-schooler Troy Pierson completes his engineering degree in four years or so, he may be one of few in his class who’s not sending out


resumes and scheduling interviews. Pierson, 18, of Mission Viejo, CA, has had a job in his field since June 2015. He’s also already been promoted—from summer intern to trainee in the Pilot Metals department at Applied Medical (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA), a firm that designs and manufactures devices for minimally invasive surgery and other clinical specialties. “I always had an interest in building and making things, and I was always at the top of my class in math and science,” Pierson said. “With so many kids nowa- days earning degrees with no guarantee of a career I wanted to give myself the best chance at starting a career out of college.” Pierson already has a bullet on his resume for sav- ing Applied Medical money. He did it by suggesting a bunk bed-style arrangement for some CNC milling machines, which freed up space on the shop floor worth $100,000.


If Applied Medical doesn’t work out, or even if it does, Pierson has his eyes set on Mercedes Benz, which operates a plant just 15 minutes away from his classes at the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL), where he plans to start in the fall.


“This opportunity excites me as the automotive industry has always fascinated me,” said Pierson, who has a Plan C if plans A and B should fail. “At the end of the day, I see myself being a lead engineer for a Fortune 500 company.”


In the meantime, Pierson is focused on graduating from Trabuco Hills High School (also Mission Viejo) and


94 AdvancedManufacturing.org | July 2016


a project he and a fellow student will enter in the Cali- fornia State Fair’s (Sacramento) Industrial and Technol- ogy Education portion of its Student Showcase. For their State Fair project this year, the pair de- signed, engineered and 3D printed a drill speeder, along with a stand for the device and a box, to show- case their skills in AutoCAD, SolidWorks, additive manufacturing and CNC milling. Pierson estimates they’ll have spent up to 2000 hours on the project be- fore submitting it to fair judges. Pierson and his partner will find out in July if they’ve won their hoped-for best of show.


“The time that he puts into his projects is remark- able due to his 20–25-hour-a-week job and all of his advanced placement classes, which have earned him the Presidential Scholar award [scholarship] to The University of Alabama,” wrote his nominator and engi- neering drafting teacher Frederick Kendell. Pierson has participated in local and state fair competitions for various AutoCAD, Solidworks and 3D- printed model projects throughout high school; he was once State Champion and twice a runner up. He also earned accolades from professors he worked with at the California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science, a month-long engineering camp that accepts 200 students each year. He spent a month living at and using the facilities of the University of California, San Diego, where he studied civil engi- neering. Pierson’s final research work focused on base isolation and was voted best project by his professors. “His work habits and determination have overcome obstacles in his individual projects as not all projects turn out correct the first time,” wrote Kendell. “He embraces the fact that failure is just a stepping stone to success.”


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