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2 min read

Purdue University Talks with One of ACE’s Founders

ACE’s first president and one of our founding owners, Tim Cole, recently participated in a podcast hosted by Purdue University’s chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In the podcast Tim discusses topics such as how he got into the field of engineering after initially majoring in veterinarian medicine, why he decided to start ACE, and reflects on his experience starting a company.

He started Applied Control Engineering in 1991 with two friends, Alex Shields and Paul Fruehauf, after working at DuPont for 13 years. They built the company on reputation and struggled to find work in first few months. They spent that time calling people and telling them about ACE and what we could do.

During the podcast, Tim talks about his successes with ACE including a tense startup during one our first projects for a helium plant that services one of Intel’s original Pentium manufacturing facilities. He also goes into detail on one of the toughest decisions he had to make while trying to grow the business.

Speaking of recruiting, Tim talks about the characteristics he always looked for in incoming engineers, especially new college graduates who do not have much work experience to fall back on. He looks for good grades, curiosity, and well roundedness. Beyond the grades, it was important to have outside interests, such has sports or music, and have some knowledge of current events.

“I didn’t want all these people who had given me their professional lives to be left behind.” 
-Tim Cole, ACE Founder

Nearly 20 years into his tenure Tim wanted to ensure the continuation of what he and his friends had begun. He started to plan the next steps for ACE and his own future by building a team of leaders that would allow the company to continue evolving and provide the opportunity for retirement on his own terms. In 2017, he successfully turned his legacy over to that team of leaders and with a new set of strong leadership in place ACE has continued to grow even after his retirement.

Click the podcast linked below to listen to the full podcast.

If you are interested in joining ACE, learn more on our Careers page.