Jonas works at the Vermeer Applied Technology Hub (VATH) located in Ames, Iowa. The team at VATH is dedicated to looking at emergent technologies that they can make and adopt or evolve. He’s been with Vermeer for close to three years. Yet his love for engineering started long before he came to Vermeer.
“That goes way back to when I was 14 – I already knew what I wanted to do. I knew it was engineering,” said Jonas. “Growing up in St. Lucia, I grabbed every single book I could on electronics at the local library. I would tear apart every piece of electronics I could get. I would build power supplies and fix radios for neighbors.”
In high school, Jonas found a love for physics, which he describes as the foundation for engineering. He went to community college to study physics and mathematics, laying a groundwork for his engineering career. After studying, Jonas taught for about a year and a half in St. Lucia before moving to the United States. That’s where he started his undergraduate studies at Grambling State University and his love for engineering really took off.
“In my senior year of college, I developed a love for sensors,” Jonas shared. “I worked on a sensor that helped blind individuals.”After graduation, Jonas went on to graduate school where his work on sensors continued. Over the next six years, he worked on different sensors – at one point he worked to help develop sensor technology for horizontal directional drilling (HDD). His experience in HDD made for a natural transition to working with Vermeer after graduate school.
“Now I lead a team of about three engineers and two interns,” said Jonas.
When asked what continues to drive his passion for engineering, Jonas said it’s all about solving problems and making an impact.
“I've been lucky to work with quite a lot of brilliant, creative and sharp individuals,” he said. “I've learned that [engineering] is all about getting the right tools to solve a problem. I once read that engineering is the purposeful use of science and that's essentially what it is - to make life better for people and make things more efficient.”
The team at VATH is always trying new technologies and facing different challenges. If you’re someone who gets bored easily, engineering might be the right career for you.
“You must have passion for problem solving or else [engineering] will drive you nuts,” Jonas shared. “You often hear how difficult [engineering] is or how much math is involved - but in the end, it's all about a passion for problem solving.
“It's not just about math and science. You have the fundamental science, but there's an artistic way of doing things - you do some things by intuition or feel, not just the science.
“Second to that is the relationships you build. Not just views and thoughts and ideas, but also being receptive to other ways of thinking.”
Stay tuned to meet more engineers doing important work as we celebrate engineering week this month.