Lear Corporation has enjoyed a long history with Flint, Michigan’s Kettering University. Ray Scott, Executive Vice President and President of Seating, currently serves on Kettering’s board of trustees, and many Lear team members have studied at the school.
Kettering, previously known as General Motors Institute, offers cooperative work education and learning, while alternating with college courses. Its undergraduate students must complete a minimum of five co-op terms to graduate with degrees in engineering, math, science or business.
Kettering co-op students currently working at Lear include sophomore Devin Binelli (Mechanical Engineering), freshman Madeline Geffert (Business Administration), senior Jacob Kaarto (Industrial Engineering) and junior Nicky Patel (Electrical Engineering).
“During my time with Advanced Materials and Comfort Engineering, I am assisting my group with analyzing a combination of subjective, mechanical and geometric data to help improve the overall seat comfort, as we also conduct research and development to create related innovations,” said Binelli. “A key benefit in working with top industry professionals is the importance of learning how to interpret data properly by ascertaining information’s true importance and applicability.”
Having returned to the Global Product Marketing team after taking courses, Geffert explained, “Working as part of a truly collaborative and goal-oriented group has given me an opportunity to work with professionals who are always happy to guide me in the right direction and provide constructive advice.”
Seeing Lear’s community efforts has even further strengthened Geffert’s wish to contribute to causes that focus on improving the quality of education for children and young adults with cognitive disabilities. She has competed at the Collegiate DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) State Career Development Conference for emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. As a winner in “Emerging Technology Marketing Strategies,” she will attend the International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Florida, for further presentations among other college-age achievers.
“My mentors here require that I take ownership of projects and they hold me accountable for delivering positive results, while respecting and valuing my opinions,” stated Kaarto, who’s working on setting up a warehouse facility and helmet assembly process for Seating’s Advanced Manufacturing Engineering. “Their support has shown me that working as a team is the key to being successful. I am fortunate to work with a group of professionals that have provided me with challenging tasks, starting on my first day here at Lear. ”
Nicky Patel works on the Ford Escape wiring team and helps in the design and validation for the 2017 Ford Escape wire harnesses. “Working as a co-op at Lear has been the most rewarding experience of my college career,” Patel said. “At Lear I am able to learn about things I would never learn in a classroom. The opportunity Lear provides by rotating its students through different groups is what I enjoy most. I have been a co-op at other companies but Lear has been the most welcoming and professional group.”
In contributing to “real world” projects, and working with experienced Lear team members, our Kettering co-op students observe the larger framework of teamwork and overall open communication in every department and job function.