Employee Spotlight: Ken Brey

Employee Spotlight: Ken Brey

Ken Brey, Technical Director

How did you get involved with DMC back in the early days?

I met Frank while we were working at a previous employer.  We would go to lunch at Sorrento’s on Friday’s and bounce ideas off of each other.  After graduating from Marquette in 1996, I was working at International Truck with no email address and no internet connection on my desktop and Frank tracked me down.   DMC had been around for about six months and I was interested in the consulting concept, as it seemed like an exciting opportunity.  I decided I could always get another job at an established but run-of-the-mill company and this was my chance to get involved at the ground floor of something special.

Our early struggle was sales and we would work on any project that we could get.  Informed by our experience, DMC is now much more selective, enabling us to ensure that both the customer and DMC will be happy at the outcome.

What has made DMC successful?

Our focus on the customer and solving the customers’ problems – DMC adds value and the customer recognizes this and keeps coming back.  We are able to do so by recruiting and developing good people and through our environment of open communication and collaboration.  We learn from each other to improve our common skill set offering.  At DMC we are always looking for better ways to do things, and we frequently find them.

What have been your favorite projects at DMC?

I’ve been fortunate to work on many interesting and challenging projects in many fields.  The most fun are motion control projects.  It’s a thrill to see a machine perform a theoretical motion plan you have designed.  The more effort a system is to design, the more tremendous the satisfaction to see it realized.  You see parts lying on a table and have to decide how they should behave and interact.  It’s a dance, an intricate mechanized ballet. 

Do you have any engineering hobbies?

I recently became interested in woodworking, making furniture and kids’ play tables.  I just completed the first prototype of a table for toy trains.  There is an octagonal hole for a child to stand in and play, which is off-center to the right so a train figure-8 is still possible.

What else do you like to do outside of work?

I am a big fan of waterskiing.  I also like diving and can dive from a 10 meter platform.  I enjoy bicycle riding and repair, which I first became involved with when I worked at a bike repair shop in high school.  We mostly repaired old Huffys and such; however I upgraded the next summer to Schaumburg Schwinn.

Most of my free time is spent with my family.  I met my wife during my sophomore year while we were both students at Marquette.  She was a biomedical engineering student at the time, and is now in law school.  We were married in Puerto Rico, where my wife was born, and have two children who are now 5 and 3.

Are you a native Chicagoan?  What is your favorite spot in Chicago?

I was born in Indianapolis, so I may be called a Hoosier in that regard.  However, I attended elementary school in the Chicago suburbs, which is where I learned to love the Cubs and attended high school and college in Wisconsin, which is where I learned to love the Packers.

I always enjoy the slick light and music show at the Buckingham Fountain in the summer.  Once an hour the water and music are timed to a show, which is fun to experience.  My favorite views of the city are from the Adler Planetarium or on the highway coming in from the southwest .

What does it mean to be a licensed Professional Engineer?

It’s a title you certainly have to work hard for.  I specifically attained the PE in control systems, expanding my knowledge into fields that hadn’t necessarily been applicable to DMC’s work in the past. The exam itself consists of two 4 hour exams, which were all multiple choice in my case.  I gathered reference materials and conducted several weekends of independent study to prepare.  It’s given me exposure to new industries, specifically chemical.  The process also formalized safety as an element.  Attaining your PE is really the beginning of a lifelong process of furthering your engineering knowledge.

Can you share some career lessons you’ve learned thus far?

Don’t be afraid to disagree, especially when you’re right.

Also, choose your priorities properly.  Spend your time and energy making the changes that will have the most impact.

Ken's Play Table Prototype 

Learn more about DMC's company culture.


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