Larry Golding ’90, MS ’92 shares his insight and experience at UW-Madison and how it helped him to create a successful career. Larry earned both his BS and MS in mechanical engineering from UW-Madison. He’s currently the engineering manager at Taylor Dynamometer, an engineering and manufacturing company based in Milwaukee, WI.
How did your time at UW-Madison prepare you for your professional career?
UW-Madison helped hone my time-management skills. Students are given a lot of work, and the professors expect you to get the work completed at the designated time. Therefore, you realize that you can’t procrastinate if you want to be successful. You quickly develop the skill to look at a project, gain an understanding of how long it will take to complete and then figure out how to get the work done over a set period of time. This skill has really helped me in my profession because I have many projects that are completed over a long period of time. Knowing how to break them down and estimate the time necessary to complete them is critical to my success.
What were some of the lessons you learned while on campus that you’ve incorporated into your professional life?
UW-Madison did a great job of developing a foundation in the technical skills of engineering, such as being able to solve dynamic and structural problems. The course work is very broad and focused on teaching students the first principles of engineering. Once you gained a thorough understanding of these principles, you had the ability and confidence to apply that knowledge to more specialized cases with a little independent research. This has served me well throughout my career as a professional engineer, and I’m very proud of the technical aspects of engineering that I learned at UW-Madison.
Was there a class or professor that had a particular influence on you, and why?
My adviser in graduate school, Professor Gary Borman, was very influential. He taught me how to quickly analyze complex engineering projects by breaking them down into the simplest pieces.
While helping me with my research project for my graduate degree, Professor Borman would have me come up with a hypothesis for each problem in my research. Then he told me to gain an understanding of the basic principles involved with each problem. By doing this, we could quickly determine if our end goal was reasonable, rather than spending days running engineering calculations to come up with the same conclusion.
This is a skill that I use almost daily in my profession because I am constantly confronted with various engineering challenges. Having the ability to quickly analyze and assess problems helps me to be efficient with the various resources at Taylor Dynamometer.
Do your Badger connections continue to play a role in your daily life?
There are a few people that I run into occasionally. The most important Badger connection is my wife, who is a metallurgical engineer. We met while we were both studying engineering at UW-Madison.
Did you keep any of your textbooks?
I’ve kept almost all of my textbooks, which is something I’d encourage engineering students to do as well. Classroom textbooks are a wonderful resource for a professional engineer. I have more than a dozen textbooks from UW-Madison in my office at Taylor Dynamometer, and a lot more at home. I use one of these textbooks almost every week, either to look up a problem or to share with one of the engineers on my team.
What is your favorite memory of being on campus?
Spending my summers at the Terrace and sailing on Lake Mendota. Madison has a great campus atmosphere, which is one of the aspects that attracted me to the school. There are so many things to do outdoors at UW-Madison; it’s a beautiful campus and a great city.
What advice would you have for engineering students wanting to get into your industry?
Get some professional experience while you are in college. If you can get an internship or co-op with a company, that’s great. If you can’t get that, try to work with a professor in a lab. This gives you the opportunity to solve problems that are more abstract than those you get in a classroom.
As a student, I participated in UW-Madison’s co-op program and spent four semesters working for Caterpillar. This was a great experience because it enabled me to take what I learned in the classroom and see what applied to real-world situations. This experience really strengthened my understanding of the technical information I was learning in the classroom. The co-op added a year on to my education, but it was well worth it.
At Taylor Dynamometer, we offer engineering students internships, which give them the opportunity to work with professional engineers while they further their education. If you or someone you know would be interested in learning more, you can visit our website at www.taylordyno.com/content/about-taylor/engineering-internships.
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