Mechanical Engineering student Ed Shiao says he chose Purdue simply for the Co-Op program. “I was on my own in terms of paying for school and my own survival,” says Shiao, who came to Purdue from the Los Angeles area. “Hearing that Purdue had a program set up that let me take time off from classes and also get paid was a godsend.”
Shiao says one of the first things he did during his first semester at Purdue was to visit the Office of Professional Practice to learn more about the Co-Op callouts. He interviewed with several companies before accepting a position with General Electric Energy, where he has been able to spend time in Texas and Illinois.
“The thing that hooked me about their company was their willingness to let me travel around the U.S. to their various jobsites and learn new things each time,” says Shiao.
An odd stroke of luck during Shiao’s Co-Op led to a great learning opportunity. Shiao’s boss allowed him to work as a Supplier Recovery Manager, after the employee in charge of that area decided to retire the week after Shiao arrived.
“It was a lot of negotiating with suppliers to cover the repairs and working with service teams to minimalize the time the turbines were offline,” says Shiao. “By the end of my rotation, I ended up recovering almost $40,000 in repairs and fees from our suppliers. “