With it being National Engineers Week, there is no better person to celebrate than our very own expert engineer, John Knight.
John’s experience with thermoforming and engineering plastic parts is vast. John’s interest in engineering started at a young age.
Exposure to his parent’s business, The Fabri- Form Company, combined with his intrinsic ambition to create things cemented his decision to become an engineer.
When we asked John what made him decide to become an engineer, he chuckled and replied “I never even considered another profession, it was a given from as long as I remember that this is what I would do.
By age 5, I started taking things apart so that I could put them back together. I drove my parents mad because I would ruin their things around the house and in the garage. “
Like both of his parents, Jack and Shirley Knight, John earned his degree at Michigan State University. John said that what he discovered and appreciated about engineering was that everything could be defined by a math equation. “There is always a way to find an answer for the problem you are trying to solve and you also get to execute creatively.”
Upon graduation, John landed his first job working for General Motors in Detroit, Michigan. While there, he began to collect new experiences and tasks that were challenging and fulfilling. John recalls one of his favorite projects as being assigned to research the airbag in the late 60’s. As a result of his research, the development of the airbags was delayed.
After collecting valuable knowledge and experiences at GM, John returned to his roots to work for the family business, The Fabri-Form Company. He worked his way through multiple positions at the company including plant manager, design engineer, President, and CEO. John validates that his degree in engineering was linked to his success in all of the roles that he assumed. John states, “In fact, all of our leadership team at Fabri-Form had a background in engineering. I attribute our achievements to the strong foundation of the team members that were on board. We could solve any problem regarding plastic.”
John led The Fabri-Form Company to become an industry leader for thermoforming plastics. The company designed and manufactured parts for applications in heavy truck, automotive packaging, food, medical, and other end markets. Over time the growth resulted in four manufacturing plants, a testing center, a tooling center and over 250 employees.
The company was sold in 2013 and thereafter Shirley K’s was established as a legacy business. Our mission is to continue to pass along the love for creating quality products and solving our customer’s problems. This is the same mission that drove John and Fabri-Form to be so respected and successful.
We asked John if he had any advice for an individual considering engineering as a career choice. He stated, “It is a great career for someone who likes numbers and likes to solve problems. It is one of the best degrees to get with a lot of opportunity.”
We couldn’t agree more and encourage anyone considering a career in engineering to explore your options at www.egr.msu.edu