“I ended up with what I really wanted to do,” said Travis Meyer, a mechanical engineering major at St. Cloud State University. Through the SciTechsperience Internship Program, Travis worked at Elite Custom Solutions in Rochester, a company providing cutting edge product design, development, and manufacturing as well as assistance to entrepreneurs in taking their ideas to market.
Elite Custom Solutions was founded by Samuel Prabhakar. Samuel worked at IBM for 30 years and was an executive with the Engineering and Technology Solutions Division. Together with his team, Samuel deployed state of the art technology to create custom solutions for IBM clients. He retired from IBM on August 31, 2013, and started Elite Custom Solutions the very next day.
Elite Custom Solutions’ primary projects are “medical devices of the highest class,” says Samuel. “Every week there’s a new idea.”
The company is using 3D printing to prototype ideas of clients, which include Mayo Clinic doctors. Examples of products include a device that improves the accuracy of taking a biopsy after a CAT Scan and a design for a new orthotic device that would revolutionize the orthotics industry.
The internship at Elite Custom Solutions was Travis’ first in his field of study. He hopes to get his Professional Engineers License (PE) and someday start his own engineering firm. His interest in working with Samuel, in addition to getting hands-on engineering experience, is to learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
“I want to learn the business side of engineering,” he said. “I knew materials testing and 3D modeling from school, but I didn’t know how it all came together. I’m meeting with customers and learning how to translate their technology needs.”
His work involved materials testing, finite element testing and rapid prototyping using a 3D printer onsite. Travis also created 3D models to test the limits of potential materials that could be used to manufacture the product. He worked on projects from beginning to end, including involvement in initial client meetings and final presentations. He also received valuable experience in explaining product analysis to customers.
Last year, Samuel hired a second intern through SciTechsperience: Sachchit Murali (center). “SciTechsperience has made Sachchit’s internship affordable and within a month we’ll have his project up and running which is a major benefit for us. It’s amazing – if you have people with the right attitude and approach, they can excel three to four years beyond what they’re being taught,” said Samuel.
“This internship provided me with experience in all aspects of how a business runs,” said Sachchit, who is studying computer science and chemical engineering at the University of Minnesota. “I was given a project which had me working with all areas of the business as well as outside customers and suppliers. This taught me the importance of accountability and professional communication throughout the workplace.”
SciTechsperience has 175 stipends available now to small Minnesota companies offering paid internships in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries. The stipends, capped at $2,500, help employers cover 50% of an interns’ wages. It’s not too late to get started - learn more and enroll now at SciTechMN.org.