Never let a summer go to waste. That’s good career advice from Camilo Cardona. And he speaks from experience.
“I thought I wanted to go to medical school,” he explains, “so one summer I accepted a research position in a neurology lab. I was developing programs for counting blood cells. When Otis saw the software I’d been using, they offered me an internship and that led to a permanent position.”
A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Camilo comes from a family of engineers. His brother, father, grandfather and an uncle are all in the engineering profession. Mom and dad were also racecar drivers. “I used to go to races with them,” says Camilo. “We are all passionate about cars, and I learned a lot about the mechanics of them from my parents. This sparked my interest in mechanical engineering.”
There was little time for racing once Camilo enrolled at Penn State University. He earned a double degree in mechanical and biomedical engineering and a minor in engineering mechanics. He is now enrolled in the Employee Scholar Program and is working toward a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Columbia University.
He describes his role at Otis as both technical and project management in scope. “I’m in the machines group,” he says. “On the technical side, I’m involved in the design and testing of high-rise machines such as the Otis SkyMotion® machine. On the project management side, I am the project manager for the largest and fastest Gen2® elevator machine to date. This faster machine could enable Gen2 systems to be used in taller buildings than today.”
He also has been tapped to coordinate new employee onboarding and training, and he co-chairs a networking organization for young professionals.
“I tell new engineers joining the company that Otis is an amazing place to build a career. They will have the opportunity to learn from experts and go as deep into technology as they want.”
For engineering students, the advice is a bit different. “I tell them not to waste any time. Spend your summers interning, meeting other experienced engineers and learning the different disciplines and avenues you can take. And, of course, I tell them to study hard.”