|Clay's Complete Guide to....... Clay!|
Ok, where to start... for those who care I guess, I was born and raised in a medium sized town in Indiana named Terre Haute (tear-a hoe-t). I don't have some great story to tell (though I do have a lot of good stories!), I was raised by my wonderful parents, who are both Vets (yeah know, animal doctors). They did a pretty good job considering the task they had! ;) I've lived in Terre Haute pretty much my entire life, minus a short stint in West Lafayette, Indiana while attending Purdue University. I live on the north end, where I have always lived, and Im with in 2 miles of my parents house, and maybe 3 miles of work. So, in 27 years I haven't moved much!! I have one sister who was, for a short period of time, on the wrong path attending school in Bloomington, Indiana at Indiana University, BUT thankfully she saw the light and now attends school at Purdue seeking the "Holy Grail" of a degree in Veterinary Medicine. Why I didn't seek this same "Holy Grail"? Who knows, I've always liked animals, but I guess I liked grease and gasoline a bit more!
College and the Internet.....
Purdue was a big part of my life for 5 years, and still is. I loved the times I had there, and still considered that to be one of the best times I've had in my life. I had great friends and great roommates in this time, Eric, Pat, Chris, Neil, Elliot, John, Amro, Paul, Tony, Tom, and Tyler to name a few. Eric was my first roommate, and to this day probably one of the smartest people I have ever met. He thought me a lot about me, and even though I don't like to admit it, my faults. ;) Pat was the brain. He never failed to make me mad by getting perfect grades with virtually no effort. I think he graduated in Chemical Engineering with at least a 3.97 GPA! He was also the nick name giver. Everyone he met would eventually get a nick name from him, and they were all fitting! He introduced me to Seinfeld, and I still love that show to this day. Chris, ahh Chris, our resident sex addict. Always fun to be around, and always getting into some kind of trouble. I still wonder what happened to him, as he partied a bit harder than ole Purdue wanted him to, and back to Chi-town he went. Neil, a good guy all around, always there to help, and have a good time. He is probably doing very well out in the world as he is a great people person, and will go out of his way to get a job done. Elliot, what can I say, another great guy who still has my calculator! I hope its working great for him cause I never liked the RPN crap anyway! John, ahhh the 'Ruth! I still talk to him today, and he is still doing well. Has a good job, and is probably somewhere warm and tropical right now! Amro, my buddy from the UAE. Haven't seen him, or heard from him since I left school. Would love to know what he is up to. Paulie! another great guy! We played golf, and I sucked! We lost track after a couple of years when he moved out of the dorm. Tony, a good friend of Paulie's, and another great guy. He tried for a couple of years to get into Purdue's Vet school, with out success. He eventually went to a vet school somewhere on an island in the Atlantic. My parents being Vets, I do get to talk to some people who have gone to the same school, and some even remember him. So hopefully right now he is a Vet somewhere! Tom, a roommate and fellow car nut my last couple of years! He is a Grand National person, and probably what turned me on to turbo cars! He is currently living his 'dream', working for GM in the Corvette division. That would be NICE!. Lastly, there is Tyler. Tyler was a senior when we were all Freshman. He taught us a lot about dorm life, and life in general. Tyler was kind of the "Godfather" of the floor that year, since he had been there, and done that, and knew what to expect. We were all green and wet behind the ears, and thank God Tyler could show us the light! ;) I made lots of friends, great friends, who I still laugh about and think about to this day.
My first year at Purdue was an eye opening experience in more ways to one. Never really being out on my own for that long, and never having to deal with the pressures of totally relying on myself for everything. I started out in Wiley Hall, and 5 years later I finished there. Yes, I was a dorm rat, and proud of it. It just fit me the best. Lots of people around, food was provide, and close to campus! Because of Purdue, you are reading this now, because the internet was still fairy new when I started (after all Al Gore hadn't had a lot of time to advertise his new invention!), and I had not yet been exposed to its greatness! I started off small, mostly in IRC chat rooms, where I met a great bunch of people. MoparMan (Dave), Demon (Marky), Hemiden (Dennis), and Detail (Scott), where my first online "family". I still remember the times staying up into the late hours of the morning talking to them, and wonder where they are today and what they are doing. Funny thing about it is, Mopar is what brought us together!
During my last year at Purdue, I was lucky enough to do what many people never do. I was able to find someone who I consider to be my soul mate. My parents were probably extremely happy that when asked who I was seeing they could stop telling them a girl with 4 wheels and a V8 engine, that, and they could rest assured I wasnt gay! ;) The story of how we met is kind of funny, and very coincidental. A good friend of mine from Terre Haute received a degree from a local college and then found a job in Columbus, Indiana. He had never lived away from home, and now was in a town where he didn't know anyone. So, in order to meet people, more specifically women, he found a part time job at a clothing store in the local mall. That's where he met my now wife, Amanda. She was an assistant manager at the store, and someone Billy would pal around with. One weekend while out on the town, they ended up in Terre Haute, and ran into me playing pool (another of my loves). Right off the bat I was attracted to her. Beautiful girl, with a wonderful personallity, and a beautiful smile. We hung out that night, and then back to Columbus she went. After a couple of weeks, I called Billy one night to see what he was doing, and to ask what the cute blonde he had with him was doing. After a little convincing, they made the 2 hour trip back to Terre Haute for a visit, and the rest is history! We are now happily married 5 years later!
Anyway... like I said, I still live in Terre Haute, graduated from Purdue University with a BSME (Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering) in May of 2000. Contrary to "popular" thinking by most of the people I graduated high school with, I wanted to stay in this town, and for multiple reasons. Family, friends, and a good place to raise a family are a few of those, as well as............
After I graduated was lucky enough to find a job. Lord knows in at the time I graduated the country was slowly slipping into a time of economic trouble. I not only found a job, I was even able to keep it during that time! I found a job with Alcan Aluminum Corp. Alcan is a fairly large global company in the aluminum process business, 2nd largest in the world in fact, second only to Alcoa. You know that aluminum foil you use to cook with, or the aluminum pans you bake in, or the aluminum cans you drink from, or the aluminum fins on your cars or houses A/C unit that keep you cool... well chances are that it might have come from Alcan. (and if you really want to know why aluminum foil has a shiny and a dull side, I know the answer!). Anyway, my job at Alcan is pretty easy to understand, but no so easy to do. I am a Mechanical Engineer, but I am also a Process Specialist. The ME part of the job deals completely with the equipment. I take care of equipment installation, maintenance, breakdowns, etc. I also do some equipment design and modification work as well when I have time (which isn't often).
Now, as a Process Specialist I'm basically, and I hate to say it because Im only 27, and everyone in the dept. is old enough to be one of my parents, is basically a management position. I'm in charge of the Anneal area of the plant, the people who work there, production in the area, and for the most part what happens there. (For those who don't know Annealing is the process of softening metal by heating it) The 'management' thing came around and has been a large step for me in both my job and my responsibilities, but at the same time I really enjoy it as I work with a great group of people.
Well... with the good job I took one of the largest steps in my life and moved out of my parents house (maybe not the best decision as houses are very expensive). I do have a large 4 car garage though! :)
Well, this is enough for now, that's a lot of words!!