Alex Yust
Portland

What is your job title, and what does that position entail?
I am an Applications Engineer working from the Seattle office. My job is very diverse; it includes everything from repairs to customer support to installs to demos. Basically, my job is to make things do what the customer expects them to and simultaneously do my best to manage those expectations.

How long have you worked at Olympus, where did you come from?
I started at Olympus in July 2014 after graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Chico (hometown of Sierra Nevada brewery). I was born and raised in Santa Rosa, CA.

Can you tell us a little about your background and how it helps you in this position?
In college, I worked at a butcher shop in a natural foods store called S&S Produce and Natural Foods. This helped prepare me for interacting with customers. I’ve also been involved with many construction projects over the years, from half-pipes for skateboarding to recording studios. These projects prepared me for the hands-on work that is required from an AE. I’ve always loved robots; as a kid, my Lego Mind Storms kit was a prized possession. I caught the Automation bug while taking a motion control class in college. I credit my professor and advisor, Nick Repanich, with helping me realize my potential in this field

What do you like best about working at Olympus?
I really appreciate the focus on employee happiness and having the independence to solve applications on my own. Also, working with exciting technology keeps my mind active and healthy so I always stay engaged.

What are some key lessons you have taken from your career thus far?
Never dismiss the benefit of proving out an application with customer samples before quoting the hardware. Also, when a customer reports a “software” issue on a system that has been running for years, software is probably not the problem.

Describe some of your hobbies – what do you like to do outside of work?
Recently, I have been doing quite a bit of AcroYoga. For those who are not familiar with that, it is a type of partner yoga that involves one person as the base and one person as the flyer. The flyer moves between various yoga and acrobatic poses while the base supports them using his/her hands and feet. If anyone has seen a Circ du Soleil show, it is a very basic version of many of those moves. I also enjoy playing the didgeridoo, backpacking, kayaking, gardening, fire-dancing, attending concerts, and mushroom/plant identification.

Has anything exciting or interesting ever happened to you?
When Ashley and I traveled to Dubai (en route to Nepal) in January 2015, our flight was overbooked. We were offered complimentary round-trip tickets to be used in the next year if we delayed our trip 1 day. We went for it and will be using those tickets to get us most of the way to Sri Lanka for free this coming February!

What is one thing your customers might find surprising about you?
I have successfully started a fire using nothing but sticks and I love traveling to exotic destinations. Also, I buy all my coffee green and roast the beans myself.