Ronan Jenkinson | A-Team Engineering, From Ireland to the United States
Ronan Jenkinson‘s drive to work as an engineer at medical device companies gave him the courage to move from a small fishing town in Ireland where he grew up to silicone valley. Within a surprisingly short amount of time, he was designing new products at Phoenix Deventures and building a fantastic network of engineering (and engineering-adjacent) professionals. Ronan Jenkinson is now working as a senior verification engineer, he continues loving every aspect of the engineering life. He shares with us insights ranging from perseverance to why MacGyver would most definitely win in a battle against Batman.
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device, engineer, medical device, ireland, engineering, design, knew, test, challenging, year, pivoting, people, work, grow, ronan, macgyver, product, notification, business, career
Ronan Jenkinson, Aaron Moncur
Aaron Moncur 00:14
Welcome to the being an engineer podcast. Our guest today is Ronan Jenkinson, who is a senior verification engineer at West pharmaceutical. Ronan has worked at several companies over the past 10 years primarily in product design, r&d and verification testing roles, although he has dabbled in business development as well. Ronan Welcome to the being an engineer podcast.
Ronan Jenkinson 00:40
Thank you, Aaron. It’s pleasure to be here.
Aaron Moncur 00:42
All right. So as we get into this, people are going to notice pretty quickly, but you have probably one of my favorite accents in the whole world. And so before we get into the nerdy engineering stuff, let’s talk a little bit about what it was like to grow up in Scotland. Just getting I just, I couldn’t resist. Ireland, of course, alright, so what is it like growing up in Ireland? How is it different from the US? Oh, and and most importantly, did they have MacGyver growing up in Ireland?
Ronan Jenkinson 01:22
Every person has MacGyver yourself into MacGyver.
Aaron Moncur 01:26
Thank goodness. That’s good. Yeah,
Ronan Jenkinson 01:27
it was. It was interesting. Like, I actually get that question asked an awful lot is people asking me Well, what did you watch? What shows Did you watch? And the 18 was actually a show. I watched quite regularly. Give me a perfect example of what America was like.
Aaron Moncur 01:48
Everyone’s that way. Yeah.
Ronan Jenkinson 01:50
I grew up in a it was a small seaside fishing village. And then it was a good thing and a bad thing, just because everybody knew who you were, which meant that everybody knew what you were doing. So a good thing and a bad thing. Ireland being a small ish country in relativity, speaking to the United States. Growing up was was fun. Like everybody knew who you were, like, played a lot of sports growing up. soccer, golf, hurling, which
Aaron Moncur 02:23
no one was it American soccer or football, soccer,
Ronan Jenkinson 02:28
American soccer. But our our whole family played sports. So it was just myself and my brother. But we had quite an extensive family theme in the range of 20 to 31st. Cousins all live in a small, small area. So again, everybody knew everybody was. But I went to DIT, which was Dublin Institute of Technology, which has now changed to I think it’s Technological University of Dublin. But I started college when I was 17 years old, which was a little bit younger than some people might start. Sometimes they’re a little bit older in 18. Yeah.
Aaron Moncur 03:16
Did you were you just cruising through the the high school courses and you’re like, Hey, I’m, you know, kind of got what I needed here at high school, it’s time to move on.
Ronan Jenkinson 03:25
So interestingly, in in Ireland, and obviously, the school structure is a little bit different to here in the United States. But we have six years essentially spent in quote, unquote, high school, from when you’re 12, to 18. So they’re six years on a year for what they call is a transition year, which is a figure it out year of what you want to do when you grow up. And I was fortunate enough that I knew what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to be an engineer. And that was at about 15. So I skipped a year. So I skipped a year of high school, so I only spent five years as opposed to six years. Interesting. Yeah, which meant I was 17 years old going into college. Now, in Ireland, it’s a little bit different, but everybody would be going out and having fun at 18 where I was 17. I couldn’t really go out. So I spent I spent a lot of time and just focusing on my schoolwork. So I spent five years in college, I did two bachelor’s degrees. And the reason for two was after I finished my first one, which was a three year bachelor’s degree, I my grades were good enough that I was able to transfer into the third year of a four year degree. So that was my manufacturing engineering degree interests. So that was that was the transition that I made.
Aaron Moncur 04:49
So is it common for students in Ireland to do a double major or just you’re just ambitious.
Ronan Jenkinson 04:57
Interestingly with the my Degree on my first one was called my new tronics automation, which sounds super cool. And I’m not gonna lie. When I was picking out the course. And that was the name that I saw, I was like, that’s what I want to do. Because that would be cool to have a degree in. I think they’ve changed that to automation engineering, which is not as cold. But it’s, in those two programs of the manufacturing engineering and the automation engineering, it was common there was, this is going to show how small Ireland is. There was 30 of us that started in our first year in college. And I think there was about 12, at the end of the three year degree that actually graduated, really. So colleges were a lot smaller. And I was very close with all of my lectures, I still keep in touch with a couple of them to this day. So that’s kind of gives you perspective for the scale.
Aaron Moncur 05:56
Yeah, yeah. That’s fantastic, though, having small class sizes, and a more intimate relationship with your professors. In high school, you mentioned this transition year, that sounds like such a good idea. Like, the only reason I became an engineer is because my dad when I was like, Hey, you should consider engineering. I was like, Yeah, okay, I’ll do that. But there was nothing like that, that that I was exposed to growing up, and certainly not, you know, on a like, I don’t know, statewide or federally supported scale. And in Ireland, there’s like a full year where you guys get to just what explore different career paths. And
Ronan Jenkinson 06:36
that’s absolutely it is, obviously, I did not do it, because I knew what I wanted to do. But a lot of my peers would go internship, us, Intel, which is obviously a big a big site in Ireland, they could go and spend summer there, spend a couple of months move on move to a different company, and kind of get different perspective on. And that’s kind of one of my mantras is always figure it out. And being able to figure out what you don’t like is as important as knowing what you do, like. So it’s I don’t, I don’t, I’m not upset that I missed out on that opportunity. Just because I was unfortunate and unfortunate now that every single day I wake up, I love my job, and I love the industry that I’m in.
Aaron Moncur 07:27
So let me ask you about that. And how did you know that you wanted to be an engineer?
Ronan Jenkinson 07:35
It stems back to, I always had this keen interest in knowing how things worked, and sometimes to a fault, because I had to have this, it’s gonna go back now. So a PlayStation three. I pulled it apart, I opened it up, and I wanted to see how it makes it work how it takes the disk that I put in to put it on the screen. So I’ve always had an interest in knowing how things work. And mechanically, certain things just just make sense. So my godfather actually always had me up at his shop because he had an old car, an old mg. And he always liked to work in and he was like here, come work on this with me. And I can vividly remember him putting me under the steering column to replace the master clutch because I was small enough to fit under the steering column. So just having a keen interest and knowing how things worked, that kind of drove me towards engineering,
Aaron Moncur 08:35
and just an innate desire or interest. Yeah. Okay. So I think you moved to the US right after finishing school and Ireland. What what prompted the move was, was it a job opportunity, or just you wanted to experience the 18th life here.
Ronan Jenkinson 08:58
So I was in 2010 is when I first came into the United States. So I came out and I moved to the Bay Area, because technology and medical devices and tech companies and tech groups, were all in Silicon Valley. So I was like, that’s where I want to go. So I hopped on a plane and spent three months in San Francisco. It wasn’t quite the American dream that I thought it was going to be. And I ended up spending three months doing manual labor and hard work. And before I went back to Ireland, so that was in 2010. Jenny So went back to Ireland in I think it was August 2010 to finish my fourth year of my bachelor’s or my second bachelor’s in manufacturing engineering.
Aaron Moncur 09:51
So So you came to the US in 2010. It was it yes was the idea to be kind of like I don’t know an internship or something or Just to kind of get a feel for what, what the Bay Area was like, or Silicon Valley,
Ronan Jenkinson 10:05
the dream was to get an internship. But the dream fell through but,
Aaron Moncur 10:12
but manual labor instead.
Ronan Jenkinson 10:14
It was humbling. It was very, very humbling. And essentially, I learned an awful lot of how things worked. It was just on a different scale and learn Yeah, how houses are put together, as opposed to how medical devices are put together. So going back to Ireland, and then coming back in June 2011. I hadn’t even got my results that I had passed. My my final exams, I had handed in my thesis, and a week later, I had hopped on a plane, and had come to the United States on on that dream. And it took till I think it was October, October, October 31. I started with Phoenix de ventures in the Bay Area, which was a contract manufacturing.
Aaron Moncur 11:00
So that’s, that’s a big deal, though. I mean, to grow up in this small fishing village, your whole life, go into school in Dublin, and then just decide, Alright, I’m gonna do this, I’m all in, I’m going to like change countries, and move to a place where I know, nobody or I don’t know, maybe, you know, I know one person you want. Okay, one person like in the whole country, you know, one person, and just go all in like that. Were your parents like, Are you sure about this son? Or whether they like, that’s awesome. We’re really proud of your ambition. Go for it, do it. What was that like?
Ronan Jenkinson 11:35
So I kind of had mixed, I had both both sides. Like, are you crazy. And this was one of the things that I always admired about the United States is, as cliche as it sounds, is you can always do anything you want to do, like, and there’s no, there’s no stopping. And sometimes in Ireland, there would be not that same approach to certain things. And I always from spending the three months that I was here, in 2010, I was like this, this is where I want to be for the rest of my life. And I had full support from my family, that they thought it was crazy, but
Aaron Moncur 12:16
they supported me. But they loved you for it.
Ronan Jenkinson 12:18
But they loved me for. As I said, I always joke and I was like, I’ll figure it out. And well, subsequently, 10 years later, I’m still here. And I have figured it out with the what I would like to think a pretty good solid foundation career in medical devices.
Aaron Moncur 12:39
Wow, good for you, man. That’s an impressive story. When I was in my early 20s, I didn’t know how to figure anything out the thought of like moving to a foreign country. Oh, I would have I probably would have died within the first week. So congrats to you. That sounds fantastic. Thank you. Phoenix de ventures you mentioned that was that was your first full timing engineering job. And I know that they do a lot of manufacturing. Now back then it may have been more design plus some manufacturing, I think they’ve changed a little bit over the years. But you did a lot of test fixtures in manufacturing process validation there. I think you also did quite a bit of of device design, like just general product design as well for medical devices. Tell tell us about some of the more interesting or challenging projects you had there, both on the testing side and the product design side.
Ronan Jenkinson 13:38
So I was very fortunate and with how finished ventures that structured the business model. And very quickly and very early on in my employment there I was introduced to a physician from the from the Bay Area, one of the leading surgeons in the Bay Area. And he had an idea for a device and was like, I want to turn this whiteboard drawing into a device. Go, how do you do it. And this is this is where you’re hoping that everything that you learned in school, comes comes to the forefront of your mind. And you can you can integrate it very, very quickly. But that was one of the more challenging products that I have to work on.
Aaron Moncur 14:22
So you’re a new engineer, basically right? And you get this new design project and they just tell you go I’m when I was a new engineer, I had to get a lot of training before I could do much, you know, meaningful design work on my own. Did you feel like that you could just jump into it and start doing real meaningful work right away?
Ronan Jenkinson 14:44
Yes and no. I had I had the support of the management there. And there was other engineers that had been there for for quite a while. But they this stage of this medical device which was as I like to call phase zero and because we hadn’t gone through any real validation or verification on, on this product it was, it was an engineer’s dream, go into the r&d Lab and pick out whatever you want and test it and see if it works. And so I got great exposure from from laser welding to machining to learning how tolerances work and understanding that putting six zeros and then a number. It makes it quite difficult for machines to make six
Aaron Moncur 15:28
zeros and what scale I talking about here. Yeah,
Ronan Jenkinson 15:33
no matter necessary scale. And, but he, that was the more challenging device that I’ve ever worked on, I can remember having conversations of, okay, well, this is what you asked me for. And he goes, but this isn’t what I want. And it was, in my eyes always trying to defy the laws of physics, because he wanted something to be flexibly rigid, which were the engineering
Aaron Moncur 16:00
spec for flexible, rigid,
Ronan Jenkinson 16:02
well, what’s challenging is because one is your, the large eye, and then one is a small lie for flexibility. And that’s, that’s where from an engineering that was probably my biggest challenge. challenging, but I’m on there named, I’m one of the patterns for that. And if I make the transition to a different project, I was very lucky to work with a graduate from the Stanford Biodesign program on a another startup idea that she had from from there and working with a physician came to us and said, I want to take this catheter, and I will turn this into a product by the end of this year, and I want to do it for some human. So it was really exciting and nervous and frightening. And some points on how quickly we needed to move to take a product and put it inside of a human being in a year. So that was a very different approach, because that required all the verification, the validation, and all of the design controls that need are needed in the development of a medical device. So I’ve I’ve had from the master Tinker, if you will, to taking a taking a device and putting it inside of a live human being.
Aaron Moncur 17:18
It sounds like throughout your career, you’ve always had an appreciation for the testing side of things. How did you develop that appreciation? Because I think back to when I was a new engineer, and I loved CAD I loved design. But I don’t think I really had an appreciation for how important it is to to test things and to understand the you know, the r&d type tools and how to do quick and dirty testing or even more formal, thorough testing. So how did you develop that appreciation?
Ronan Jenkinson 17:53
So following following the design controls that are mine are laid out by the FDA, we have to comply, there’s certain we could pick any, any device and they all require packaging, they all need some level of packaging. So how do you ensure that your packaging that you put your device in is safe? Like that, that’s one of the very simplistic tests, or we could look at several catheter products that I’ve worked on. They are and the vascular catheters and the other kinds of catheters. But you need to ensure that that device does not break when it ends inside of a human being. And so we have to pull tests, we have to break them, we have to see what forces they were going to break at so that we could ensure that the devices that we were inserting or placing inside of somebody were safe, because ultimately it all comes down to risk. And that’s kind of what a medical device is the does better for the patient and then more harm.
Aaron Moncur 18:59
Yeah, why did you get into medical devices? I mean, you could have done any kind of engineering. Why did you choose medical?
Ronan Jenkinson 19:08
So this kind of jumps back to if you’re okay with jumping back and forth? And
Aaron Moncur 19:13
absolutely, we’re ping pong back and forth all the time here.
Ronan Jenkinson 19:17
So in my final year, in the IIT, I was exposed to it there was a class and it was called medical devices. Subsequently, they’ve actually turned it into a four year degree in, in Ireland, which, if I could go back, I would totally do that. But I was working with one of the doctors or my professors. And he had said, Okay, I’ve got this idea for a medical device. And I was like, Cool. What’s that? I want to work on that. So he had talked to me and it was for balloon angioplasty. So, essentially increasing the diameter of an artery and inside of a human being, and I was like, this is this is cool. Like, how, how do we do this? So I started to learn an awful lot more about medical devices, which I ended up writing my second thesis piece, I’m not quite sure what the plural is, but it was in balloon angioplasty. And what it would do is give a notification an audible notification to the physician using the device that there was an arterial correct, because the plaque would build up and would become hard. And these balloons that you would inflate are such high pressures that they could crack the artery, and the patient would start to bleed internally. And there was no audible or visual notification, other than watching the fluoro. Or watching the screen as they’re watching the device, essentially blowing up, they would then start to see that there was blood leaking internally. So this device and my thesis and funny now that I look back at it, I actually built a rough prototype of it. And obviously, my design skills have come a little bit since then. But it worked. And it would give a almost instantaneous notification that something had changed just based on the pressure differential. Very cool. That was my that was my first introduction into medical devices.
Aaron Moncur 21:25
Do you? Do you remember what that notification mechanism was? And can you share it? Or is this had been sold for millions of dollars, and it’s such a strict NDA now,
Ronan Jenkinson 21:33
with so many selling for millions of dollars, it wasn’t me. It was it was just a little light that had flashed up on the screen. But it was very basic programming that if the pressure differential drops a certain percentage, send a notification. And then obviously, pressure sensors can give almost an instantaneous reading. Nice. That was that was the development. And that was my very first first medical device product.
Aaron Moncur 22:02
All right, very good. Well, we’re going to take just a real quick break here. The being an engineer podcast is powered by pipeline design and engineering, where we work with medical device engineering teams who need turnkey custom test fixtures, or automated equipment to assemble, inspect, characterize or perform verification or validation testing on their devices. And you can find us at test fixture design.com. We’re speaking with Ronan Jenkinson today, who is a senior verification engineer currently at West pharmaceutical. So Ronan, what, what aspect of engineering? Do you feel like you enjoy the most after you’ve been doing this for about about 10 years now? So what’s your favorite part of engineering
Ronan Jenkinson 22:49
these days? Well, it’s difficult to kind of narrow it down to one specific aspect that I that I enjoy the most the the medical device industries is fascinating. There’s so many, there’s so many devices, so many designs, so many ways to do things. It really is challenging I, I love the hands on of getting into the lab, as as I said, I started early in my career, getting into the r&d Lab, and making breaking, fixing, testing, doing all that fun stuff. But as my career has kind of evolved, there’s a lot more planning and project management that comes into my my day to day career. So the role I’m in now is a step that’s required in design controls that the FDA requires. And it’s a lot more paperwork, but I still enjoy doing the verifying that what we said we were going to do, it actually does it. So that’s kind of a long winded answer saying I love every part of it.
Aaron Moncur 24:01
That’s not fair. That’s not a fair answer, but it will take you love every part of it. Even the paperwork, and I’ll be honest,
Ronan Jenkinson 24:11
it can be time consuming to do a lot of things. But yeah, it’s the necessary evil and ensuring that something that I’ve worked on I’ve I’ve crossed the T’s I’ve dotted the I’s and ensuring that the device that any medical device professional works on is going to do like improve a patient’s life. And that’s ultimately what it comes down to.
Aaron Moncur 24:37
There is there is some very real satisfaction I think, in having some kind of document that very clearly spells out what was done. And this is this is how it was done. And these are the results and this is why we are all very comfortable here at company XYZ that this product does, in fact, for performed the way it’s supposed to perform. It’s I think If that’s being part of an engineer as well is that appreciation for, for detail wherever it is, whether it’s an a CAD design, or some type of type of documentation, you know, maybe your manufacturing drawings, things like that. But I’ve always derived this this weird sense of joy from, from seeing something very clearly spelled out. Maybe it’s more communication, that documentation and documentation is just a form of that. But have you found that to be the case to just like, there’s something really cool about being able to communicate in absolute clarity, something from one person to another.
Ronan Jenkinson 25:35
Yeah, and it’s believed me at the start and, and how you’ve pointed that out, it may sound easier than what you have laid it out to be. But sometimes it can be very challenging, because at the start at the start of a project, you’re not really sure what the very final end goal is supposed to look like, you have a rough idea. And as as you walk down this path, this this isn’t a straight path, even though there are very distinct levels of design control that needs to be followed. The path there is so windy, it changes all the time. But it’s the joy of seeing something from start to finish. And that’s, and I’ve seen that multiple times in my career, and it’s, it’s so much fun. It’s so much fun, the same from start to finish.
Aaron Moncur 26:26
So you love all aspects of engineering, you love the design, you love the testing, you love the paperwork, et cetera, et cetera. I’m curious, and you’re obviously a very motivated, bright, capable person. I mean, moving to a new country, when you were 20, or however old you were, and just creating your career here in a new place with new people. Do you? Do you see yourself? Or do you have a desire to move out of kind of the day to day engineering role into a management or leadership role? Or do you think you prefer to stay in that kind of feet on the ground? Engineering roll?
Ronan Jenkinson 27:08
It’s an interesting question. Because I’ve I was I was with a startup medical device company, and the, there was a certain point of transition. And it happens, you could almost talk to any single person in the medical device world that they know of a startup company that everything’s going fine. And then overnight, it just changes. And it’s all just about pivoting and being able to make that change. So at the very start of this podcast, you’d said that I’ve moved into business development. And that was, that was something that I had to pivot very quickly, and move into, for the sense that I needed to go develop some business so that I could get a paycheck. And that’s, that’s all. So that was the motivation. But it was, it was enjoyable, and knowing the technical aspects of how the product should work, and how the product should be verified and validated and tested, was a great asset when talking to physicians and talking to entrepreneurs of going this these are actually the steps that are involved rather than, Oh, yeah, it’s simple. We can just make you a device before you stick this inside of a human being, there’s several steps that have to happen. And as I look at my career, now, I, I would love the opportunity to to mentor somebody, or mentor somebody like myself that is motivated to, to continue to grow their career. And as I said, I, I’m a very fortunate individual that I wake up every day, and like, I love my job, I love getting up and going to work, which there’s a lot to be said for that.
Aaron Moncur 28:51
Let’s, let’s go back to this. The stint you had in business development. This sounds very interesting. So you had to pivot very quickly, and pick up some some biz dev skills in order to ensure that you still had a paycheck. Tell me about how that happened. That sounds like a great story. Well,
Ronan Jenkinson 29:12
engineer turned entrepreneur overnight. And it’s, it was tough. But I’ve always been a firm believer in building relationships with every single person that I talked to, because you never know when, when you’re going to meet this person again. And I’ve kind of always believed in that. And that’s something that I will continue to believe. And gosh, if I could tell myself that 10 years ago, just keep keep talking to people. Don’t be afraid to talk to people. The worst that somebody can say to you is no. So I started talking to date myself and I pulled out my rolodex, which was my LinkedIn and started reaching out to any entrepreneurs or physicians that I’ve worked with in the past and said, Hey, look This is kind of what’s going on. I’m an engineer for hire, what can I do to help you? Is it be it, that you need a plan that you need a device that you need some guidance? I was like, let’s let’s talk. And that was, it was a short stint. But it was a very different environments to just being an engineer and doing design work,
Aaron Moncur 30:28
if you will. Yeah. Yeah. What? What were what are some things that you learned from that experience?
Ronan Jenkinson 30:36
That it’s tough to drum up business?
Aaron Moncur 30:42
Amen to that, yeah,
Ronan Jenkinson 30:44
I’m sure you can appreciate that. But it was. The thing that I learned the most was just being there for somebody that doesn’t know how to do this. And just providing the guidance was what a lot of people just needed. And that understanding of this medical device world, that seems so daunting to a lot of people. As I said, there are regimented steps that we need to follow. But it’s tough when there’s a physician that believes that his idea is the absolute best idea that’s ever happened. I had to look at it with a slightly different approach and said, Okay, that’s fine. But your structure, or the direction that you want to go with might not be a business, it might be a great idea. And it might work. But if you are looking for an investor to come in, and give you money, and move your business forward, they don’t see the return on it. So your path here is going to have to be a very different path. And we had done that a couple of times of pivoting the direction of the entrepreneur with his idea, keeping the core concept of the device but just pivoting to go a slightly different route. To make it a business. Yeah.
Aaron Moncur 32:05
Okay, new topic here. What, what are some of your favorite vendors, vendors that other engineers might find useful or helpful Al’s give the example of mcmaster carr, right, because every engineer loves mcmaster carr. What are some vendors that you’ve worked with? Over the years that other engineers might hear and be like, Oh, that’s, that’s cool. I’ve never heard of them. Or that’s, you know, I’ve been looking for someone like this. Do you have any, any favorites that you can share?
Ronan Jenkinson 32:33
I did, I did have one favorite, but they were actually acquired, which, which makes it quite challenging. But it was telling No, it was a Douro laser, which was a company that was up in I think it’s Sacramento, in California. And I actually became quite close with the CEO, which is what I like to do. And going back to building relationships, I, I still talk to him quite regularly. I’d see him as a mentor, because he’s provided me a lot of great advice over the years. But that was a source that I knew that I could get laser cut tubes in one to two days from a design. And if I didn’t have a design, I would sit down and I would sit down with the CEO, virtually not driving there, but I would sit down with him virtually. And we would work through the design of what I was trying to achieve. And he would propose this idea. And that was a that was a supplier that I loved. And I tried to find suppliers that are smaller, smaller shops, and be it from shops that have NCS lathes, mills, or specific parts such as laser cut tubes, because one of the projects I was working on that was my need, I needed laser cut tubes. So I I try and find those shops that I can get the quick turnaround. And that as an engineer is, is the most valuable thing to me is and that’s why mcmaster carr has continued to boom over the years because they can get us stuff before we even think
Aaron Moncur 34:15
they have stolen our hearts. I need to get someone from mcmaster carr on this podcast. That’s that’s the way to blow it up. Oh, there you go. Yeah, it’d be the best. So Arturo Lazar, but they’re no longer a service bureau for hire anymore. Hmm.
Ronan Jenkinson 34:30
Well, they are I believe they still are, but they are part of ResNet AX I believe that they were acquired by
Aaron Moncur 34:37
Okay. All right. Anyone else that comes to mind?
Ronan Jenkinson 34:43
Would I be biased in saying you?
Aaron Moncur 34:45
Not at all, not at all.
Ronan Jenkinson 34:49
When I was with the startup company, that was the direction that we were going is we never wanted to acquire all the assets for a Um, for building and we knew that we needed to test certain devices, and we knew that who else to reach because you guys were close, you were close to us in the Arizona area. So we would reach out to you quite regularly for for some guidance and some help.
Aaron Moncur 35:18
Well, I didn’t expect that answer, honestly. But I
Ronan Jenkinson 35:21
mean, that’s an honest plug. That’s an honest plug. Honest plug. I
Aaron Moncur 35:24
love it. I love it. All right. All right. So Ron, tell me about your hobbies. What what do you do when you don’t have to do anything?
Ronan Jenkinson 35:32
I’m yet to find that time that has nothing to do. I, I, I’ve actually got into woodworking. And that was one thing that I really enjoyed. But another thing is Spartan racing, which are kind of obstacle course racing or endurance races. And that was, that was probably the most challenging race, physical activity I’ve ever done, which was a Spartan Race that was up in Tahoe up in California, or Nevada, it was just right on the border. And it was a 16 mile race at about 9000 feet elevation. And the race took myself and my buddy about seven, seven and a half hours, mentally, mentally after completing that I was like, I can do anything. I was like, give me give me anything. I was like that. That mentally made me an awful lot stronger. So
Aaron Moncur 36:33
tell us and tell us more about the course. Like what were some of the specific obstacles or hurdles that you had to overcome?
Ronan Jenkinson 36:41
hurdles was one of one of the early hurdles, literally hurdles, or it was a seven foot wall or an eight foot wall that you needed to scale? And there was a I think it was about 100, maybe 200 yard swim, which that was cold, because Oh, yeah, I’ve been over. It was October. When we started the race, I think it was 37 degrees. Oh, my goodness. So it made you run a little bit quicker after that, after you got out of water, because you were trying to heat up. But yeah, mentally that and as ironic as this sounds, I’m not the strongest swimmer. I’m not the strongest swimmer that you’re ever going to meet, even though I did grow up in an island. But I grew up on the island and not in the water. There’s a lot of people seem to misinterpret. But that was one that I I knew I could figure out. I was like, just go in and do it, swim out around that buoy and come back and go to the next obstacle.
Aaron Moncur 37:43
So seven, seven and a half hours going through this this Spartan Race. Were there multiple points at which mentally you’re like, I don’t know if I can do this. I think I think I’m about done here. Or was it like one kind of climactic point at which you had those thoughts? And you got through it, and then the rest of the race, you’re, you know, tired and hurting. But okay, mentally,
Ronan Jenkinson 38:06
it’s, it’s interesting, because there were multiple points along that race that I was like, why am I doing this? Why? Why did I pay to do this? I was that was the kicker all the time. Why did I pay to
Aaron Moncur 38:21
pay for this? Yeah. But again,
Ronan Jenkinson 38:25
I, I fully believe in, in a strong mind is a strong body is a strong soul. So that I knew if I could overcome this, like there’s, there’s not many things in life that I wouldn’t be afraid to put my mind to that I couldn’t overcome. So it was it was good.
Aaron Moncur 38:44
How did you get over it? I mean, I have to imagine that you were on the verge of just saying I’m done. I can’t I can’t go anymore. How did you convince yourself to just keep going at that, during those times?
Ronan Jenkinson 38:56
It’s, and this is, this may sound a little bit interesting. But I’ve always been an admirer of the American military, on on how their resolve on certain departments, or divisions, they just they keep going. And there’s several podcasts that I’ve listened to and certain people that I would pay attention to. And if I look at what I was doing, it’s not it’s not bad. Nobody was shooting at me, like mentally, like, I’m fine. I can stop. I could stop at any point. But I’m always a firm believer. And this kind of goes back to being an engineer. I like to see things through. And so if I put my mind to it, and I set off, and I commit that I’m going to do it. I will make sure that it gets done.
Aaron Moncur 39:45
I love that. I love that your managers if they’re listening to this, they’re loving that too. Like oh, we hired the right guy. This is him. Yeah. All right. Let’s see. What are the biggest challenges that you face at work? Like, right? Oh, sorry, I there was something else I had to say. And I forgot and now I just remembered again, okay. Oh, yeah, it’s a book. It’s a book second suggestion for you may have already read it, but it’s called can’t hurt me by David Goggins. You ever heard that?
Ronan Jenkinson 40:17
Yep, the guy that lost a lot of weight. That was it’s
Aaron Moncur 40:21
Ronan Jenkinson 40:22
Yeah. And that’s just keep going, keep going one foot in front of the other. That is that is a great book.
Aaron Moncur 40:29
Okay. All right. So back to the the other question, what are some of the biggest challenges you face at work?
Ronan Jenkinson 40:36
So, there’s, there’s a lot of things that can be deemed as challenges. But I kind of like to call them opportunities. I’m, I’m the eternal optimist. I every everything in life is great. That’s, that’s kind of how I see things. But we, some of our customers can be challenging. But that’s, that’s the same as any customer because they have high demands. And that’s, that’s where the bounces of the demand that the customer is facing are pushing towards you. But it’s sometimes you just need to continue to go. It’s challenging, but I, I think some of the requests can be difficult. But there’s, there’s guidances. And there’s people that have done it before. And that’s kind of one of the things is not being afraid to ask, ask a question to somebody. But we get requests on devices, per se that the test the device has never been used before. So you’re like, how do you develop a test? And that’s, that’s where it becomes challenging. There’s, you just need to start testing, ask questions, see if there’s devices that have gone through similar test protocols, test methods and see if you can develop ideas from
Aaron Moncur 42:08
Okay, last question. This one is kind of a deep, thought provoking question. So feel free to take a few seconds if you need that we’re answering this One who would win in a battle that men are MacGyver.
Ronan Jenkinson 42:22
Aaron Moncur 42:23
Yeah, this is a big deal. This is where we really see what you’re made of.
Ronan Jenkinson 42:28
It all it all comes down to the battle. And it all comes down to the battle because by mine, obviously, he has the money, he has the deep pockets to just throw at it. Right. But MacGyver sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much money that you throw at a problem. It’s still the same.
Aaron Moncur 42:45
If he can find some chewing gum and fishing line to game sadly
Ronan Jenkinson 42:48
he wins. So I would have to go with MacGyver.
Aaron Moncur 42:52
I think I got regret ever also. Yeah, he’s got the brains, the ingenuity, you know, the resourcefulness to figure it out. He’ll
Ronan Jenkinson 42:59
he’ll figure it out.
Aaron Moncur 43:02
Batman, he’s got some muscle, but he’s just throwing money at this problem. All right, well, how can how can people get a hold of you, you mentioned that you’d love to do some mentoring in the future. Clearly, you’ve got a lot of already talent. Based on your 10 plus years of experience in the field. Maybe people just want to talk to you, whatever. What’s a good way for people to get a hold of you?
Ronan Jenkinson 43:25
My LinkedIn. My LinkedIn is definitely the easiest way that if if somebody has a question, please feel free to reach out
Aaron Moncur 43:25
My LinkedIn is that is that a Irish specific version of what we call LinkedIn here in the US.
Ronan Jenkinson 43:39
It just requires you to think a little bit quicker. It’s actually my LinkedIn. All right. Thank you for sharing. Thanks.
Aaron Moncur 43:51
I really appreciate you sharing some time with us today. You’ve been great. Thank you for thank you for the fun conversation.
Ronan Jenkinson 43:58
No, thank you. Good luck.
Aaron Moncur 44:03
I’m Aaron Moncur, founder of pipeline design and engineering. If you liked what you heard today, please leave us a positive review. It really helps other people find the show. To learn how your engineering team can leverage our team’s expertise in developing turnkey custom test fixtures, automated equipment and product design, visit us at testfixturedesign.com Thanks for listening.
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