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Second Rotation


Experience Information

Employer: Bissell Homecare
Job Title: Engineering Co-Op
Major: Engineering - Mechanical
Received Credit?: Yes
Paid?: Yes

Description of the Organization

Bissell Homecare is an organization that designs and manufactures household cleaning products. Ranging from upright vacuum cleaners to chemical stain removers Bissell covers all the necessities of floor care. Bissell is a private family owned company that started over 120 years ago when Melville Bissell made and distributed the first manual sweeper design. After Melville's death his wife ran the company and it has remained in the Bissell family throughout the course of its history. Over the years Bissell has manufactured more than sweepers including shovels, American flags, and flag poles. However, the current focus of the company has been floor care, with sweepers, vacuums, deep cleaners and chemicals being the main source of revenue. In all Bissell is a great company that treats its employees with respect and has stood the test of time due to their quality products.

Description of the Tasks/Projects Completed

This semester I personally worked on several cool developmental projects. While undertaking semester long projects, like the design of upright vacuum components, I have also been assigned several small tasks. One of these small tasks has been determining the effect of Bissell using recycled material in its plastic parts. Through my calculations the marketing has developed the wording for upcoming commercials with the customer. Even though this project was much smaller than the others it was an example of something unique and rewarding. My main projects consist of aiding my mentor in the development of new vacuum technology, which includes the running of tests, analyzing of data, and designing of components and mechanisms.

Skills/Knowledge Gained Through The Experience

Through this experience I have developed better communication skills. Most of my projects involved giving updates to my mentors as well as consulting with technicians, modelers and fellow engineers. I learned more of the developmental process involved in Advanced Technologies, which was the department I worked in. I also learned how larger organizations operate. The previous summer I worked at another company which was nice, but a much smaller company. Through this experience I have sharpened my skills as a mechanical engineer by having to create free-body diagrams and calculated forces acting on different objects throughout the semester. I feel more confident in my abilities as an engineer.

Favorite Part of the Experience

My favorite part of this term was the stability of having a job in which I thoroughly enjoyed. Although there were times when I was stuck doing monotonous work, for the most part I was learning new things each day. I enjoyed the people that I worked with, they were all easy to talk to very informative and willing to help. I also, really liked having my own responsibilities and having the opportunity to come through for my mentor and boss. It was a satisfying feeling, knowing that my work was going towards improving the company at which I worked.

How the Experience Influenced Future Career Goals

Through this experience I have seen the complexity that goes into the design of a vacuum cleaner. Though it is a common household item I have never taken the time to really think about the fluid flow and mechanical design that goes into the development of a good cleaner. I think that this experience has shown me a possible career path. I think that Bissell would be a great place to work. Even if I do not end up there I think that it is a good company to compare other potential employers to in the future.

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of GVSU.

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