We’ve all heard that old saying “Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” The quote is attributed to Confucius, but when he said it, he must’ve had David Andrews in mind. Atec has counted David Andrews as a Manual Machine operator for the last 20 years, during which time he has consistently maintained the positivity, consistency, and dedication that exemplifies the Atec way of doing business. David Andrews is a veteran and a long-time employee of Atec, so we sat down with him to have a chat.
David’s day here at Atec begins around 5:30 a.m. when he arrives in the parking lot. He likes to sit for a bit before going in the building to think about what work lies ahead and prepare for the day. By the time the building opens at 6, David goes straight to his work station, which includes the engine lathe, to prep his materials and get started. September 29th marked 20 years of service here at Atec and David was recognized with a certificate by Atec’s President Paul Fenley and CEO Howard Lederer in front of the entire staff.
David traveled the world in the US Navy in the mid-Sixties, visiting the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, the Northern Atlantic, and even serving during the Vietnam War. With the recent passing of Veteran’s Day, David shared a life-changing experience from his days as a firefighter protecting the USS America. “I was on ship in the Mediterranean. I was a non-rated fireman in the US Navy, E3 pay grade, on a ship that screened for submarines ahead of the USS America aircraft carrier,” Andrews shared. “We’re traveling in a zig-zag formation, of course, about 1000 yards ahead of the USS America and the ship turns hard portside. When the ship turns portside, it dips down toward the water and this time, we take a wave. Suddenly, 3 feet of water is coming down the main deck and me and my partner are knocked off our feet. We both grab hold of the handrail and I’m still holding the trash can. We get back to our feet and head for the watertight door when the ship takes another wave, this time much bigger. Once it crashed onto the deck, it was over both of our heads. I’m holding the handrail with one hand, the trash can with the other and it’s completely full of water by now. I’m supporting my body weight with one hand on the handrail, carrying the weight of that trash can with the other. It was truly a miracle of God that I was able to hold on tight. If either of us had washed over the side of the ship, no one would’ve found us. We had nothing on us. It was a miracle.”
David is no stranger to accomplishing difficult tasks, such as the RL-10 main fuel housings, which he described as one of the biggest challenges he’s faced at Atec because “There’s so much detail,” he said. “We want everything to go to the customer with zero defects, and of course that starts with Machining.” He attributes his success at overcoming challenges to his attitude, saying “I try not to look at the negative side of things. I learned that in my seven years as a supervisor at Schlumberger. Nothing is impossible, so I don’t waste time looking for reasons not to be able to do something. I just do it.”
When asked to describe his job in three words, David’s response was “It’s my hobby.” This enjoyment of his job is evident in his attitude and approach. His enduringly positive attitude and passion for what he does is just one of the things that make him an asset to the Atec team and to everyone around him.