Momentum - November 2020 - 19

CAREER
PATH

BE AN OPTIMIST
AND AN OPPORTUNIST
IN ADDITION TO BEING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS OWNER,
James Shaw delivers talks to SAE Student Chapters as part of
the organization's Industrial Lecture Program. The University of
Pittsburgh graduate typically offers advice as part of his
lectures, which for the most part are technical in nature. He
shared some of his advice with MOMENTUM.
"And I do a lot of judging for the Formula SAE program," he
said. "I engage with probably about 500 students per year-a
lot fewer this year due to pandemic travel restrictions."
Asked what a typical Industrial Lecture looks like, he
responded: "I talk about software tools, which a lot of us use
on a daily basis for the vast majority of our career, unless we go
to a management role. The context I give is: 'This is how we use
the tool in the real world.' That usually opens up the floor to
questions such as: "Well, what if I don't get training from my
manager?" And I tell them how to navigate that landscape. For
one thing, I tell them it's necessary to make clear to your
manager that you deserve this training. But really, no topic is
left unturned."
"Engineering is a service," he continued. "Ultimately, you're
providing a service either to internal customers such as bosses
or management or executives, or if you're in product
development, you're delivering a service to the operational
side of things, to the production side of things. So it's a service
industry. And you have to be passionate about the service you
provide. Passion is, I think, a prerequisite."
Shaw believes that passion needs to be expressed not only
at work, but also in a volunteer context.
Passion alone obviously isn't enough.
"You have to have ownership of your decisions, and you
have to work hard," he said. "That's the one thing that maybe a
Jim Shaw talks
about software in
his presentations
to SAE Student
Chapters as part
of SAE's Industrial
Lecture Program.

James Shaw is Managing Director of Fastway Engineering.
lot of students don't necessarily get exposed to. Students are
working hard, no doubt. They're juggling a lot of things, no
doubt. But in a service organization, there are expectations
that you are going to get the job done. So there are going to be
times when you're working late, going in on the weekends,
etcetera. And if you don't have a passion for what you do,
that's going to be really painful."
Cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset is also key.
"I always try to promote an entrepreneurial mindset no
matter what the path is for students," he said. "I think that
those who are in engineering as a student already have the
mentality of, 'I like tough problems. I have a lot of ideas that I
want to either commercialize or see commercialized.' Don't
squash those thoughts; deploy them."
"I'm a small-business owner and I have an
entrepreneurial look at the world, so my
single main piece of advice is to be an
optimist and an opportunist," Shaw
continued. "Whether you choose the
corporate route or the large engineering
organization route, you can apply some of
your entrepreneurial mindset looking for
opportunity and building teams and solving
tough problems."
A final piece of advice from Shaw: "Find
depth, then you can find breadth. Become
expert in something, then you can take that
expertise and go anywhere you want." n
By Patrick Ponticel, MOMENTUM editor

MOMENTUM

November 2020 19



Momentum - November 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Momentum - November 2020

Momentum - November 2020
Questioning the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” cliche
BENEFITS U
Michigan Baja Racing goes 4WD
A testimony to experiential learning
One-on-One Liam MacGillivray
Talking chassis
BRIEFS
2021 ID.4 is Volkswagen’s first U.S.-market dedicated EV
UX designers and “engineering chefs” cook up unique user interfaces
SAE 101: student engagement
Be an optimist and an opportunist
Dossier: Madeline Corrigan of Northwestern University
Momentum - November 2020 - Momentum - November 2020
Momentum - November 2020 - Cover2
Momentum - November 2020 - 1
Momentum - November 2020 - Questioning the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” cliche
Momentum - November 2020 - BENEFITS U
Momentum - November 2020 - Michigan Baja Racing goes 4WD
Momentum - November 2020 - 5
Momentum - November 2020 - 6
Momentum - November 2020 - A testimony to experiential learning
Momentum - November 2020 - 8
Momentum - November 2020 - 9
Momentum - November 2020 - One-on-One Liam MacGillivray
Momentum - November 2020 - 11
Momentum - November 2020 - Talking chassis
Momentum - November 2020 - 13
Momentum - November 2020 - 14
Momentum - November 2020 - BRIEFS
Momentum - November 2020 - 2021 ID.4 is Volkswagen’s first U.S.-market dedicated EV
Momentum - November 2020 - UX designers and “engineering chefs” cook up unique user interfaces
Momentum - November 2020 - SAE 101: student engagement
Momentum - November 2020 - Be an optimist and an opportunist
Momentum - November 2020 - Dossier: Madeline Corrigan of Northwestern University
Momentum - November 2020 - Cover3
Momentum - November 2020 - Cover4
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