Evan Foster

IMSE Undergrad Class of 2016

IET, Inc.

What does the company do? IET is a full service Industrial Engineering consulting firm helping clients in a variety of fields to improve their productivity, flexibility, and competitive situation. In industrial engineering, IET believes there is no such thing as a “stock” solution. Our engineering toolkit features diverse capabilities, from work measurement to facility and strategic planning. We have precisely the right tools and expertise to work with companies to enhance productivity and build profits.


Current role:  Industrial Engineer (05/2016 – Present)


A day in life of an Industrial Engineering Consultant – If you are considering consulting, then you probably already know there is no such thing as a typical day. Change is constant.


At IET, projects can range from a few days to a few years. My first project lasted two weeks, my second lasted 2 months, and my current project is closing in on 8 months. Although IET works in a variety of fields, all of my work has related to the automotive industry.


The auto industry never sleeps. I’ve worked on holidays, on every day of the week, and on every shift at some point during those projects. Even still, I’ve only averaged about 50 hours a week of work time & travel time combined. A lot of engineers I’ve been around average more than 50 hours in the office alone.


My current project is at an engine plant in the middle of a capacity increase. My original scope of work was to get the AutoCAD layout up to date. Along the way, I’ve had the opportunity to create, plan, and see many layout changes come to life. I’ve also been able to get involved in more traditional IE work and even do work typically associated with mechanical engineering.


This current project is more predictable than the first two. Below is an example of a recent week I’ve had.


6:00PM Sunday – I consider Sunday night to be my Monday morning. My work week is technically starting because it’s time to travel. I check my bags, pack my car, and make my way to a hotel where I have become a regular.


5:50AM Monday – I awake with just enough time to get ready for the day. Luckily I have staged everything the night before in order to be able to make it out of the door by 6:15.


6:30AM Monday – I’ve made it to my desk and immediately open my email. My email is full of things that happened over the weekend which need to be added to my to-do list. The to-do list I keep is for everything I plan to get done before Friday. I keep a calendar that contains everything else that either needs to be done in the upcoming month or needs to be done on an ongoing basis. Throughout the week, my to-do list will grow faster than it shrinks, and many less urgent things that I thought I’d have time for are carried over to the next week’s list.


8:00AM Monday – At this point, assuming I have taken care of everything that needed immediate attention, I will make my way to the first of 3 morning meetings.  I work mainly, but not exclusively, in the machining area of the engine plant. The machining area consists of 3 areas with 3 main components: the crankshaft, the cylinder block, and the cylinder head. This meeting is for the cylinder head line. It’s a throughput improvement process meeting that I’m helping make standard & effective across all 3 areas. The goal is to make improvements and solve problems using data with action plans instead of the previously used method, word of mouth.


9:00AM Monday – The crankshaft meeting has begun. I’m usually still looking over my list of things brought up at the cylinder head meeting and thinking about a plan of attack. More items will be added during the crankshaft meeting.


10:00AM Monday – The cylinder block meeting has started and my list continues to grow. More likely than not, I will have already walked a mile or two at this point going to see things or track people down. When the meeting is over, I will either make my way back to my desk to work unless what I need to work on involves being somewhere on the floor.


10:30AM Monday – Other meetings may be scheduled but if not, I have plenty of things to take care of before I take a lunch break around 12:00PM.


After 12:00PM – The rest of the work week usually follows fairly close to the format above. Most of the big projects I’ll be working on have already been planned sometime prior to this week, but other projects could be planned at any point during the day. My work day after lunch consists of taking on my to-do list in order of highest priority. I work until about 4:00PM on most days except Friday when I take a half day in order to travel home.


Why chose consulting? Although I can’t compare to much outside of the manufacturing world, consulting seems to be the most experience-rich field I’ve come across. What I mean by that is your resume will look like you’ve worked 10 years after only 2. Although every field will force you to continuously learn, consulting will surround you with more experts and systems to learn from. Also, your timeline is often limited which will force you to learn faster and be innovative.


What’s the end goal? My current end goal is to consult remotely so that I can work anywhere in the world. I don’t set my goals in stone, though, and am willing to let fate take me to my true end goal.


Most surprising thing that I didn’t expect coming out of college – I enjoy life a lot more than I did in college. I’ve always heard the opposite so I thought I’d miss my college life more.


Least favorite thing about consulting – there is usually not a lot of respect for consultants, especially young consultants, when first coming to project. You have to work hard to earn respect and you don’t always have the time to earn it from everyone.


My 2 cents – Never think that you have your career path or life path figured out. Fate has a crazy way of getting you to do and love things you never thought were possible.

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