From Elephants To Crib Mattresses-Behind the Scenes At Kolcraft
From chasing elephants to manufacturing crib mattresses, this Kolcraft employee loves adventure. We couldn’t pass up an opportunity for you to have a behind the scenes look at Kolcraft and meet Sam Logan who is one of our project engineers.
Sam, you lived all over the world. You even had a stint in Africa. How did you decide to be an engineer and not lead a Safari somewhere?
I was born and grew up in Africa and absolutely loved it. I guess that wasn’t enough Africa for me, so a friend and I took an eight month motorcycle trip from Israel to South Africa visiting 15 countries. It would be hard to top that motorcycle safari as we chased animals on our motorcycles, ran from an elephant on foot, drove through thigh deep rivers, crossed over rivers on a 6 inch wide steel beam and other fun things like that. I always loved tinkering with mechanical things and so I chose to study Mechanical Engineering which lined up with what I liked doing.
What do you like most about being an engineer?
The best part of my job isn’t engineering related – I love being able to work with people and I’m fortunate to work with a great bunch of people at Kolcraft.
What is a typical day like for you?
Days can be very diverse from visiting our mattress factory and getting grease up to my elbows as I try to improve how a machine works, to witnessing mattresses burning so they can pass a flammability test, to trying out new ideas for how our mattresses will be designed or made, to working with others to develop new quality standards.
Where do you receive inspiration for your work?
I love putting effort into making Kolcraft a better place to work and seeing changes that take place as a result of my efforts.
You have been at Kolcraft for 7 years, how have you seen Kolcraft change?
When I started at Kolcraft we were in a tiny office and had very little space. Sometimes we would only have little pathways to our desks because of all the product around with no place to store it. We then moved to a new office and have so much space. When I started, there were only 2 other engineers, now there are 6 other engineers. We have dramatically changed the process of how we develop product since I first started and now have a much better way of taking a product from start to finish.
Obviously you are living & breathing baby products at work and you are also a dad of 4 beautiful children. How has being a dad impacted how you approach your job?
I see firsthand just how “creative” kids are in the way they use things. For instance, we have a swivel stool with wheels at home and one day I found our one year old standing on top of it. When we design products here at Kolcraft, we have to constantly think about what a child could do with our product and how we can design it differently so it will be as safe as possible.
What has been your greatest joy & greatest challenge to being a dad?
It is a real joy seeing them mature and grow. I was thrilled last night when our 9 year old spontaneously ran to open the restaurant door for someone. Or I love seeing one of them, without being asked, going to comfort their crying sibling with a glass of ice water.
To be honest the hardest thing about being a dad is shaping their character. When my wife Sarah and I see something negative in them, it is sometimes so hard to coach and mentor them through that negative trait.
Sam at a glance:
Funniest thing that one of your children has said? At supper one day, one of them said “Thank you mommy for making these nice waffles. Did they come down from heaven?”
Favorite daddy activity with your kids?
Each Saturday one of the kids gets to go on a date with me. They love being able to choose what to do: McDonalds, the ice-cream place, the park, playing a game at home, a bike ride, etc. It is a very special time for both of us.
Favorite Kolcraft product? Baby Sit and Step
And since you now have “baby on your brain” 24/7, a little fun mind game with Sam. We asked Sam what is the first word that comes to mind when we say:
Baby – Treasure
Sleep – Baby
Morning – Fresh
Broccoli – Puréed
Beverage – Milk
Lady GaGa – Rattle
Posted September 2, 2010