Growing up on a wheat farm near Walla Walla, Rob made his decision to pursue engineering based on what he considered solid data. “I took a test in high school, and the results said I should either go into agriculture, like my family, or be an engineer. Well, I knew I wasn’t going to farm, so engineering it was.” He received his BSME from the University of Washington, and has spent the last four decades honing his craft, developing specializations including industrial ventilation for painting commercial aircraft.
Paint hangars remain his favorite niche, as each project presents wholly unique challenges, such as the Boeing 777 Wing Automatic Spray Method, where Rob led the mechanical design team. One of the more complicated aspects of the project was the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to analyze and design airflows that worked in concert with robotic spray systems to paint wings for Boeing’s new flagship aircraft.
Over his career, Rob has also focused time and effort developing his leadership abilities. As Principal at FSi, his focus is on hiring great people, and coaching each employee to their highest potential, which he does in ways reminiscent of Yoda. With Rob, it’s “Do, or do not. There is no try.”
Hanging on Rob’s office wall, you’ll find a prominently placed sign saying, “My purpose is to ensure FSi is a special place to work for generations to come – respected, outward-looking, giving, caring, and driven to be excellent!” FSi team members will confirm that he lives this purpose every day, mentoring, coaching, leading by example, and being very direct when the situation calls for it.
“Engineering is a people-centered industry as much as it is about getting the ductwork right,” he muses, “When you’re in partnership with your clients and team, when you’re really listening, that’s when a good project becomes excellent.”
Excellence is a word that is used a great deal in FSi’s culture, and that is intentional. To Rob, it encapsulates everything he wants his customers to experience, from impeccable design to having enjoyable client/consultant relationships. The company continues to grow, and is about ten times the size it was when he started, but it has never lost the personal touch. Thanks to Rob’s leadership, it never will.