2 min read

My Thoughts on ACE, after 18 Years

I grew up in Connecticut, just outside of New Milford and a few minutes north of Danbury. In 1999 I decided to attend the University of Delaware because I knew I wanted to be a chemical engineer. Fast forward to the winter of my senior year and I was interviewing for positions at companies that made products that we use every day. It was then that a small company, based right near the University of Delaware caught my attention during an on-campus interview. They offered the opportunity to work with a variety of automation technologies and for a variety of customers. I joined Applied Control Engineering in the summer of 2003 and as I approach 20 years with the company it is amazing to think about how my choices have really brought me full-circle and eventually led me to my family.

From my first day at ACE, it was obvious that the culture of the company encouraged personal interactions both at work and after hours. It was driven by my co-workers and fostered by the owners. A typical Friday would involve plans to get together: sometimes at someone’s house, a concert by the waterfront, or just for drinks at a bar. I played wiffleball, basketball, and an occasional ping pong tournament at lunch. Summer has flexible hours, allowing time for group runs or bike rides. And yes, I learned to play volleyball one summer on an ACE-sponsored team.

For many who got to know me after school, it probably comes as a surprise that I did not really play volleyball in a competitive setting until after I left college. In my second summer with ACE, some co-workers organized a volleyball team in the local county park and rec league. We won some, we lost some, and I really took to the game. I joined other leagues and started playing in tournaments with people inside and outside of ACE. I played wherever I could and as often as I could.

Meanwhile, the company grew from two offices to seven. My opportunities at ACE seemed to expand as well, as I started working with a wider variety of technologies with customers from different industries. I had new responsibilities, too. Where before I was the one being mentored, now I was a technical lead helping to grow the skills of our newest batch of college hires.

In 2007, the ownership of the ACE asked me to move to our Connecticut office to act as a technical lead help with some new customers’ work, mentor new employees, and help reinforce the culture of ACE to the office. Of course, being a few minutes from where I grew up didn’t hurt, so I said…”No.” At first anyway. I was not ready, yet, to leave the friends I had made and the life that I had in Delaware. That would change, however, and two years later I did move back home. And, of course, I continued playing volleyball.

I joined a couple of leagues in my new home and played in a bunch of tournaments. One day, a few years after my move, I was called into sub for a league in which I had not really played. That evening I ended up meeting my wife.

I still think about those early days playing rec volleyball with the ACE team and how I am lucky to still know so many of them after all this time. It really did set me on the path that got me to the point where I am now. When people ask what I think about working at ACE, I tell them that the opportunities are great…and that I also learned to play volleyball.

 Check out our Careers page if you are interested in joining ACE and creating your own story.