Where Did All These Kids Come From?

On the About Paul McEntee page of this blog, I told the story about hosting Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, which was four years ago. My son Ryan then described my job as, “Goes and gets coffee and sits at his desk.” I don’t know what my daughter Kira would have said about my job, as she was too young to attend back then, but ever since I took her brothers she has been asking, “Daddy, when do the kids get to go to your work again?” So, of course, we just had to have this event again this year on April 30.

While everyone was arriving, we took a little time to have family portraits taken:

Paul with the little McEntees: Kevin, Ryan and Kira
Paul with the little McEntees: Kevin, Kira, and Ryan

After that it was off to our training center where our CEO Karen Colonias introduced herself to the children and talked to them about careers. Our President Terry Kingsfather told them about what we did at Simpson Strong-Tie and followed that up with a great hands-on demonstration to show how weak connections using only nails could be:

Simpson Strong-Tie President Terry Kingsfather with his little helpers.
Simpson Strong-Tie President Terry Kingsfather (far left) with his helpers.

Then it was off to the R&D Test Lab to crush stuff. Kids love crushing stuff.

Tonka Truck prior to crushing.
Tonka Truck prior to crushing.
Poor Tonka Truck didn't have a chance.
Poor Tonka Truck didn’t have a chance.

In planning what to test with the lab technicians, we of course had to smash a bowling ball, which I previously blogged about here. The lab techs wanted to raise the bar, and thought it would be cool to smash a globe. It’s cardboard, so I was skeptical about having an exciting failure. Little did I know they would line the inside with carbon fiber and fill it with high-strength grout!

Globe prior to crushing.
Globe prior to crushing.
84,000 lbs later, the globe lost its battle with the test press.
84,000 lbs later, the globe loses its battle with the test press.

After the demonstration tests, we let the kids get to work on their project – reinforcing sawhorses to make them as strong as possible. Or, if they wanted, decorating them. It was fun to see what each child would focus on. Some were intent on adding connectors to make it stronger, others were all about the glitter glue and coloring.

Simpson 031

Ruby Donaldson sawhorse

Sawhorse

We had a picnic lunch at a nearby park, which allowed the kids some time to run around and gave the team leaders some time to relax. At the end of the day, we returned to the test lab to load test all of their creations and awarded prizes for categories such as strongest, most efficient, and most creative.

All in all, it was a fun (and exhausting) day! Did your company host a Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day? Tell us about it in the comments!

– Paul

Paul McEntee

Author: Paul McEntee

A couple of years back we hosted a “Take your daughter or son to work day,” which was a great opportunity for our children to find out what their parents did. We had different activities for the kids to learn about careers and the importance of education in opening up career opportunities. People often ask me what I do for Simpson Strong-Tie and I sometimes laugh about how my son Ryan responded to a questionnaire he filled out that day:

Q.   What is your mom/dad's job?
A.   Goes and gets coffee and sits at his desk

Q.   What does your mom/dad actually do at work?
A.   Walks in the test lab and checks things

When I am not checking things in the lab or sitting at my desk drinking coffee, I manage Engineering Research and Development for Simpson Strong-Tie, focusing on new product development for connectors and lateral systems.

I graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and I am a licensed Civil and Structural Engineer in California. Prior to joining Simpson Strong-Tie, I worked for 10 years as a consulting structural engineer designing commercial, industrial, multi-family, mixed-use and retail projects. I was fortunate in those years to work at a great engineering firm that did a lot of everything. This allowed me to gain experience designing with wood, structural steel, concrete, concrete block and cold-formed steel as well as working on many seismic retrofits of historic unreinforced masonry buildings.