Young Seal Reliability Engineer Discusses Academic-Practice Gap in Industry Podcast

In a recent episode of the Manufacturing Tomorrow’s Workforce podcast, SEPCO’s own seal reliability engineer, Jack Ferguson discussed his transition from student life to that of an industry professional. He also talked about the growing academic-practice gap, with Plant Services Alexandra Ditoro.

In this conversation, Ferguson also touched on his strengths, like failure analysis, as well as areas in which he lacked some confidence when launching his career as a seal reliability professional.

Seal Reliability Is Best Learned Beyond the Classroom

Ferguson recently graduated from Clemson University with a mechanical engineering degree. He then began his role as a seal reliability engineer, his first “real-world” job.

seal reliabilityIn the podcast, he explains how critical field experience is to learning how equipment like pumps, gaskets, and mechanical seals actually operate, compared to just studying a diagram in a textbook.

“Where everything in the classroom […] is nice, and neat, and easy, and organized, in the field, it’s just not … There’s so much variation that can go on and so many different things that can happen that if you’re just going off of classroom experience, you’re not gonna be prepared for it,” Ferguson said.

In other words, hands-on experience is invaluable.

Check out the Full Interview in This Video

Listen to Ferguson’s full conversation with Ditoro and Plant Services in the video below!

You can also read the full transcript on Plant Services‘ website.

About the Author
Anna Claire Howard is a contributing writer, editor, and content marketing specialist for Sealing Equipment Products Co. Inc. (SEPCO) and has been since Spring 2019. Before those two big life changes, she was the content marketing specialist for Fluke Accelix; assistant editor for Grand View Outdoors, publisher of Bowhunting World, Predator Xtreme, Whitetail Journal, Tactical Retailer, and Shooting Sports Retailer; managing editor for Media Solutions, Inc., publisher of Gear Solutions, Wind Systems, and Thermal Processing magazines; assistant editor for MSI; and the editorial intern for B.A.S.S., LLC, publisher of Bassmaster Magazine and In these B2B/B2C roles, Anna Claire developed an appreciation for the industrial sector, as well as the operators and technicians who make up the workforce. You can find her on LinkedIn at