Five Questions Friday with Charles Culp of Essex Industries

CharlesAtAvalancheLakeOne_960 Name: Charles Culp 

Title: Design Engineer 

Company: Essex Industries 

Job description: I design ergonomic pilot controls

Hometown: St Louis, Missouri 

1. Why do you choose to do the work you do?
I was always interested in mechanical design. Throughout school I gravitated toward classes that incorporated design into the curriculum. After graduation I was able to find a great position at Essex, where I now design control sticks and throttles for aircraft.

I now get to incorporate my engineering knowledge, SolidWorks experience, and even some freedom in aesthetic design. 

SampleJet-Right_s Grip3Iso

2.  What is your proudest career moment?
I was thrilled the first time I found out that a component I designed was flying in an airplane. Now I am able to list the components that I have helped design or engineer that are on active airframes.

Working for a small business allows me to work on a diverse range of projects. I’ve designed controls for both commercial and military programs, and performed stress analysis for mechanical components. I get to work directly with the machinists and assemblers who build our parts, and I always get their input when designing components. 


3. What goal of yours inspires you most?
I always look forward to customers saying, “I’m not sure, give us some ideas.” Having a mostly open set of parameters allows me to generate good designs based on the parameters the customer does have. Nothing bums me out more than being assigned to a project, then having the customer send me a STEP file of what they already want. 


4. How has SolidWorks made a difference in your life?
Who would have guessed that going to the SolidWorks forums to get help writing a macro would have such a profound effect on my life. I have met hundreds of other designers and engineers, and made many friends. The SolidWorks user community is an amazing group of people, and I am very grateful to be a part of it.

While I was in school, I always wanted to do 3D CAD design. I actually started as a chemical engineering student; however, I had an epiphany my freshman year of school. My roommate and I were waiting to move into our newly constructed room. In order to make sure we had space for some furniture, I created a CAD model, and made sure everything fit well. The next semester I switched to mechanical engineering. 


5. Where’s the best place you’ve traveled and why?
My wife and I do quite a bit of traveling. I don’t know about a favorite, but this summer we went hiking in Glacier National Park. Don’t worry: I brought both my CSWP 2010 Event t-shirt as well as my SolidWorks World 2010 backpack


Matthew West

SolidWorks alumnus. I like plate reverb, Rat pedals, Thai curry, New Weird fiction, my kids, Vespas, Jazzmasters, my wife & Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not necessarily in that order.