“In today’s engineering, specialization goes deeper and narrower,” Frembgen says. “But biomedical engineering has more integration of different capacities of engineering…and the ability to help people directly…For students looking for those kinds of things, a small company like ours is attractive.”
“The world is shrinking, and we are citizens of the planet, not just one country.”
Stefan Frembgen, Dr-Ing, President, IngMar Medical
This may be one reason that 28 percent of interns have been women. (In the U.S., women account for 17.8 percent of engineers; in Germany, 13 percent.) It also may help to explain why—although twenty-one interns have been German citizens (one was from the United States, two from the Netherlands, and one from the People’s Republic of China)—a number have mixed cultural backgrounds—including Korean-German, Polish-German, English-German, and Chinese-German.
One former intern famously clinched a job when he pointed out that he’d helped to design the QuickLung sitting on the desk of his prospective employer. “Our interns are dedicated, and they’re making a big commitment—five months to a year [one to two school terms], which gives them a longer time to complete projects.
“I don’t like to be a micromanager— more of a mentor,” Bails says. “For every internship period, I try to get an electrical and a mechanical engineer working together.”
Andy and Chris also have accompanied Bails on customer calls for the snore module. “The new breed of engineer needs to be able to talk about a product to marketing and communications staff,” Bails says.
“We dress a bit better when we go to see customers,” Chris—wearing a polo shirt and jeans—says with a smile. “We found that customers are very interested in the snore module. They quickly came up with other uses for our flexible design.
IngMar Med’s location in Pittsburgh’s East End—close to Carnegie Mellon and Pitt—makes it easy for interns to walk, cycle, or take public transportation. Chris and Andy wax enthusiastically about friendships with students from a number of countries and upcoming trips to Niagara Falls and Toronto. Other interns, Petersen says, have pursued activities that include snowboarding, jujitsu, and fire breathing.
“The world is shrinking,” Frembgen says, “and we are citizens of the planet, not just one country.” Both Andy and Chris envision themselves continuing to work internationally. And when past interns meet again at their annual dinner in Dusseldorf, they can raise their glasses to a world of health and cooperation