When he was an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame, Kiel Hockett added a degree in history to his degree in aerospace engineering so that he would learn to write papers and manage documents effectively. Then he decided he want to learn more about research and development, customer service, ethics, finance, and operations, so he joined the ESTEEM Class of 2011.
“I wanted to be able to do all of that in the future and not have to catch up,” Hockett says. “I realized that I liked the interaction with people and eventually I wanted to get out of engineering and do more business development.”
After ESTEEM, Hockett lived in Dubuque, Iowa, for three years, working with John Deere engineers for an engineering consulting firm. Another Notre Dame graduate invited him to come to Houston as an engineer for an oil and gas firm, FMC Technologies. The firm eventually sent him to Ghana for a year as lead engineer with responsibilities for project management and planning with vendors, suppliers, and customers. He recently returned to Houston.
ESTEEM skills were vital for the assignment, which included analyzing the relative merits of buying or renting gas pump systems. “When I was in Ghana, I had to put together requests for proposals,” he says. “I’ve done some of the finance stuff, some of the systems management we talked about. That was definitely something I learned in ESTEEM and didn’t have knowledge of before.”
Hockett hopes to move into more operations and business development as his career progresses. “I probably won’t be doing the R&D side that we did a lot of in ESTEEM,” he says, “but more of helping the company grow and finding new customers and expanding new lines of business. I really want to get into the development side. In the meantime, I’m looking to do more operations work like I did in Ghana, controlling flow through the shop and helping things move and meet delivery dates for customers.”
More than five years after graduation, Hockett stays in touch with several of his ESTEEM classmates. “We were one of the first classes,” he says. “I still talk with a few of them. We meet on occasion. I see them on game day.”