Mechanical Engineering graduate gets dream job
Everyone has a dream job. One University of Louisville Mechanical Engineering graduate, Shawn Combs, now works and plays at his dream job. However, the road was winding and at times, bumpy. Shawn graduated from UofL in 2001 with a MEng degree and immediately took a position in Houston, Texas, with ExxonMobil Corporation as a cost engineer. But Houston left him far from family and his hobbies of fishing, biking, and skiing. After a year in Texas, Shawn returned to Louisville in 2002 as a project engineer for Jordon Technologies Incorporated where he designed vapor recovery systems for gasoline loading terminals. This position provided opportunities to travel worldwide supervising equipment installations. His journey continued three years later to Schenectady, New York, with a position at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory as a structural engineer. Assignments included finite element analysis of submarine nuclear reactor pressure vessels, development of remote fuel handling equipment and testing of advanced nuclear fuel manufacturing processes.
While interesting and sometimes exciting, none of this work was related to his longtime passion for designing fishing, biking and skiing equipment. After a chance encounter with a manager at The Orvis Company, a leader in design and manufacturer of fishing equipment, particularly related to fly fishing, Shawn was offered a position as rod and tackle product development specialist at their headquarters in Sunderland, Vermont. He now lives and works in an area that provides many opportunities to pursue fly fishing, mountain biking, hunting and skiing. At Orvis he has established a tackle testing laboratory and has already developed an improved fly line finishing process. His job affords many opportunities to fly fish some of the premier trout fishing streams in America. He still continues to design and build backcountry skis and plans to cross country ski the eight miles from his home to work during the Winter months.