I do not consider myself a lucky man. Blessed, yes. Extremely fortunate, yes. But not lucky. Why? You don’t meet the perfect person to spend your life with based on luck. That is something planned by God Himself, and changing garbage in an art store changed my life.

I graduated Kettering University in the summer of 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. While finishing up college, you kind of get it in your head that the first resume you hand out will end up landing you a high paying job with a top dog company. Wrong! Like everything else, finding the right job took time. And for me, it took a few interviews and eight months. Even then the position I accepted wasn’t an engineering job, but at least it was a foot in the door. I didn’t end up using my degree for another two years.

During those eight months between graduation and starting my first real job, my aunt let me work part-time at the local art store she managed in order to save up some money. I was responsible for maintenance work that consisted of cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, painting, and emptying trash on a daily basis. I’d go in before the store opened, do my rounds, and then spend the second half of the day at home searching for jobs online.

Also during this summer, I had ended a six-year relationship with a girl I had been dating. You’d think being in a relationship that long would take you somewhere. Well, it did. Right into the path of my future wife. However, I don’t recommend prolonging a relationship when the last two years of it become negative and depressing because of the mood of the other person involved. In my case, suffering through that last little bit was worth it in the end since the timing seemed impeccable. Again, another reason I don’t believe in luck, but that it was planned. Had I left the relationship sooner, my intentions were to move to South Carolina and begin a life there. If that were the case, I may never have worked at the art store and met my wife as soon as I did.

It was when I least expected it and wasn’t looking for another relationship so soon after ending one when it happened. That’s when my future wife walked by and first told me “good morning” while I stood there changing out a trash bag. But, more on that later. 

After that, the remainder of the eight months flew by and I found myself moving from small-town Houghton Lake to the metro Detroit area in order to begin my first job as a contract hire with Chrysler. Like I said, it wasn’t an engineering position. I was responsible in helping create the bill of materials used in the plants. Essentially a list of parts used to help build the vehicles. It was a great start, but I wanted to be an engineer. I wanted to use the degree I paid so much money going to school for.

Working directly with a lot of the engineers in the bill of materials group for about a year and a half landed me my first engineering position as a steering wheel design and release engineer. Although it was really exciting to help design the latest and greatest in steering wheels for the newly named Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, higher management ruined it for me. The position slowly became less enjoyable, and after almost another year still being a contract hire, I wanted something direct, something more permanent, and a job that I could enjoy. So, I applied for a direct hire opening as a prototype build engineer, got the job, and am still in that position today. I really enjoy what I do, and yes, like any other job, it has its down days, but having a great group of friends to work with makes the position that much more enjoyable. 

The last four years at FCA have allowed me to lead a very accomplished personal life up to this point. I’ve lived in two different apartments and have owned a home. I’ve gone from having a girlfriend, to having a fiancee, to having a wife. And in May of 2014 my girlfriend, at that time, and I adopted a daughter named Ella. To some she is a dog, but to us she is a child. More human-like than some humans we know. And, much like my wife, she has changed my world completely around. As a matter of fact, it is because of them both that I am where I am today. It is because of them both that I can be as happy as I am, and as excited about life and what’s ahead than I’ve ever been before. They are the reasons I want to share our story.