David Thomas ’19 Connecta– At the time of this writing, interning with Connecta has proven to be a unique experience.  Connecta is almost entirely different than my previous internships, whether it be the work environment, fellow employees, or job tasks.

To those who aren’t familiar with the company, Connecta Corporation is a manufacturer of specialty precision parts and assemblies for commercial, medical, electronic, and aerospace applications.The company specializes in the use of CNC Swiss turning machines to produce small to medium runs of precision turned parts.  Competitive manufacturing processes have enabled Connecta to achieve the commercial success that it has today, contracting with branches of the US military and many other prominent international customers.

As noted earlier, my tenure with Connecta has been nothing short of interesting.  Thus far, I have worked on a variety of projects that are both directly and indirectly related to the front-end production.  For projects directly related to front-end production, I have to say that my prior technical education with precision machining has helped substantially for this internship (in other words, I am glad to have enrolled in machine shop classes during high school).  When performing a quality control testing project for steam valve assemblies, my prior knowledge about precision machining came as an invaluable asset for properly communicating specifications about the project, using correct “industry language”.  Aside from quality control testing, I have also assisted in shipment preparations for Connecta’s products.

My project assignments that were indirectly related to front-end production proved to be a bit more challenging and open-ended.  One of these projects is a sidewalk replacement, which involves outreach to the Indianapolis city government.  Over the past five years, local elderly residents have been injured by falling on this sidewalk, resulting in my task assignment to resolve this issue.  As mundane as a sidewalk replacement may seem, it has proven to be quite challenging to mobilize the necessary support when there no great incentive from the city to allocate its limited resources towards this end.  As a result, greater advocacy efforts are needed to bring find a solution to this ongoing five-year problem.  At the time of this writing, I have completed several phone calls to city officials and scheduled a meeting the local community association to gather in formal petition.  By the end of the summer, I hope to put the 34thstreet sidewalk on the city’s construction agenda.

Overall, my internship experience with Connecta has taught and reaffirmed several lessons in my ongoing learning process.  I found two to be prominently important, because these two have helped me the most with my internship.  First, I noticed that drawing upon residual knowledge is an important part of finding or creating opportunity.  Therefore, collecting a diverse range of skills is crucial for maximizing opportunistic potential.  Whether it be my machine shop classes in high school or my liberal arts education at Wabash College, I found that thinking holistically about applying what I have learned increases the quality and capability of my work.  Second, I found that communication clarity is ridiculously important.  In all aspects of the internship, from the processes of the production floor to the phone calls with city officials, communicating with clarity sidesteps many of the inefficiencies that result from misunderstanding.  Going forward into my professional career, I intend to hold these principles to heart.  I am grateful for the experiential learning curve from my summer internship with Connecta.