Mechanical designer brings drawings to life

Some people find it difficult to take a drawing on paper or the computer and make it a reality. But for mechanical designer and St. Marys native Steve Reed, it is part of a normal day on the job. "I am a mechanical designer; this means that I use my drawing skills and understanding of mechanics to create visual plans that help the engineers understand how to create a mechanical product," Steve explained. "I enjoy this because when I get an idea, I can draw it up on the computer and when I am done, I get a 3-D model of exactly what I want."I think the best part of my job is getting to see that the object that I drew on the computer gets built and to think that this idea that was in my head is now real." Steve works for the HILCO Division of the Hilliard Corporation, based in Elmira, N.Y., where he designs oil filtration systems and mist eliminator systems. "The filtration systems can be used to filter anything from oil, diesel fuel, (to) vinegar or even beer. The mist eliminator systems are hooked up to other industrial machines and prevent oil mist from entering the air, which means this machine is preventing harmful particles from getting into the air," Steve said. He is also the CAD (computer-aided design) administrator for his department; he helps all of his colleagues when they have problems with AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor, which are programs they use to create their designs. "I recently took a test to become a Certified Expert in Autodesk Inventor; this is special to me because this test was very hard and there are not a lot of people in the world who are a Certified Expert in Autodesk Inventor," Steve said.Steve is a 2002 graduate of St. Marys Area High School and a 2007 graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Technology, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer-Aided Product Design and an associate degree in Computer-Aided Drafting. He is the son of Steve and Gloria Reed of St. Marys. His dad owns Reed’s Custom Woodworking and his mom is the MIS manager at St. Marys Carbon. His brother, Travis, is currently attending Clarion University and plans to become a science teacher. Steve credits one teacher in particular for helping to steer him toward his current career path. "While I was in high school, I just did what I had to do to get through the classes, but once I started taking drafting classes I couldn’t wait to go to that class," he said. "(SMAHS drafting instructor) Craig Gahr was a big influence in getting me into the drafting and design field." He also noted that his parents have been very supportive and have helped motivate him. My major mentors were my parents; after watching how hard my dad works at his business and how much he enjoys what he is doing, I decided I wanted to find something that I enjoy as much as he does, and my mom has always pushed me to do my best. She pushed me to go to college and get a degree. Without her, I don’t know if I would be where I am today." In addition to his parents and brother, there has recently been another addition to the Reed family: Steve married his wife, Kristy, in July of 2010. She is a graduate of Elmira Business School and works as a medical assistant at a pain management office in Elmira. In their free time, the newlyweds like to drive around and look at the many waterfalls in their area, as well as travel to the nearby Finger Lakes, a well-known wine region, to visit the wineries located there. Steve also likes to hear the rev of an engine, whether it is coming from a motorcycle or a stock car, and regardless of whether he is driving or happens to be taking in the action from the stands. "I enjoy riding my motorcycle during the summer months and going to the NASCAR races in August in Watkins Glen, which is only 20 minutes away from where I currently live," Steve said. While he noted that he loves his job and likes living in the Elmira area, Steve is also a frequent hometown visitor, returning to the St. Marys area often. "I come back to St. Marys many times a year to see friends and family. It is nice because it is only a three-hour drive. I hope to one day be able to move back home and grow my family there," he said.