Hawaiian Shirt Friday
Chris was a larger than life engineer. His office walls had “Dogs Playing Poker” painted on velvet, as well as a severed-and-mounted toy stuffed animal moose’s head. Every year he would put an orange on his desk until it became mummified in some kind of protest against fruit. Over his large frame, he wore a Hawaiian shirt; every day. And just as beyond comprehension was his taste in art and dress, his ability to address complex engineering and programming issues was equally impressive. Chris knew how to engineer a project, program the PLC and make sure the system worked and worked correctly. He was an excellent engineer with a sharp mind and the ability to understand the client. Chris moved out of state over 15 years ago.
All these years later, Hawaiian shirt Fridays continue as a salute to Chris and the level of excellent engineering he brought to Huffman Engineering, Inc. Excellence, innovation and competence are all words engineering firms use in describing themselves. At Huffman Engineering, Inc., Hawaiian shirt Friday reminds us that systems integration work is fun. It is also professional work. The professionalism we bring to a project requires listening to customers and creating systems tailored to their needs. The systems need to conform to standards, but be innovative. They need to follow specifications and be able to be tested and verified. We need to exhibit that professional engineering attitude Chris brought to the team.
As engineers, specifically controls engineers, the landscape is constantly changing. New things are on the market daily. New technologies change the way we do business. The programs look different. The Operator Interfaces look different. The challenge is to continue to provide the excellent engineering function for which we have a reputation. We need to remember that engineers think and are innovative. They are organized and logical. They are indispensable when it is time to make something work and work correctly. We listen; we observe; we make things work. That would be Chris. He may have looked odd to an outsider, but to Huffman Engineering, he was an engineer. He was happy to set his path within the parameters of excellence and innovation.
Chris left in 2001. At the 15-year mark since his departure, there are people at Huffman Engineering, Inc. who wear the shirt but never met Chris. And, the Hawaiian shirts have become a Huffman Engineering artifact. They supersede the individual and become the standard. Innovation, excellence, hard work, knowledge, understanding, logic, and result-oriented all are part of Hawaiian shirt Friday.