When David (“Day”) Griffin discussed coming on board with us as a newly minted engineer out of college, he said he’d welcome the opportunity to travel. He’s already starting to learn to be careful what you ask for. On the third day of his full-time employment he was flying with his boss, Lyle Branagan, Pioneer’s Engineering manager, across the U.S. to help provide technical service to a customer in the Pacific Northwest. Between subsequent trips back there and to OEMs in the gas turbine and nuclear industry, at this rate Day will gain tier status with USAirways in no time.

Actually, Day had already been working for us for over three years as an engineering co-op student while earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University. “I was very lucky to have a co-op job in a company where the caliber of mechanical engineering expertise was equal to that of the faculty at Clemson. Lyle has taken me under his wing and inspired me to obtain a Masters degree.”

While serving three successive co-op terms with Pioneer, Day integrated his classroom study with transformative experiential-learning opportunities, which included research to enable him to design various test rigs and test fixtures. He modified our twin bearing rotor dynamics test stand and built a device to test, measure and compare the wear characteristics of tin-based babbitt with TegoStar738®.

Unlike so many others at Pioneer who are from all parts of the country, Day was born 23 years ago in Charlotte, North Carolina. Raised by parents who had established their own engineering business in the textile industry, Day knows what it means to “wear many hats” in a small business. His parents and sister still live in the Charlotte region. While attending Charlotte Latin High School, he excelled in physics and math (while enjoying art and Spanish as well), which influenced his decision to elect an engineering major after entering Clemson in 2006. Day learned to manage his time well, somehow being able to handle the competing demands of his academic schedule, co-op jobs with Pioneer and the party schedule of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity of which he was a member.

In his spare time Day enjoys the outdoor activities of hiking, rock climbing and backpacking in the Appalachian Mountains, which are only 70 minutes from Pioneer’s plant in Kings Mountain. When he’s inside, he enjoys cars, particularly old ones that may need work. With the growth in the demands on our engineering department, we’re not sure he’ll get much time to work on his ’51 in- line six cylinder Chevy, but everyone needs a dream as his or her career takes off on a flying start.