Eric Wilson: "There is literally no downside to the investment and you'll never know where your Mines degree(s) will take you."
Space Resources, PhD Candidate
Why did you choose to come to Mines? What have you enjoyed most about being here?
Originally I chose Mines based on its reputation and my desire to become an engineer. I've now chosen Mines twice more, still based on quality, but also for the new degree programs that were launched. I enjoy the challenge to learn new things as well as being part of a group of like-minded people.
Tell us about something you're working on right now that you find exciting, fulfilling or challenging.
For the past two years, I've been enrolled in the Space Resources program doing coursework. I'm now embarking on the PhD phase which is a completely new experience as there is no roadmap, no pre-defined knowledge, for me to follow. This is exciting, challenging and fulfilling all at the same time!
Have you done an internship or co-op or been in a professional job while at Mines? Tell us who you worked for and what you were doing. What stands out?
I've been in the industry for over 25 years now, 22 of those at my current company where I'm now CEO. We are consulting project managers helping clients build their complex facilities so, in that time, many projects stand out. High-bay cleanrooms, semiconductor process utility systems, anechoic chambers and even hospitals—all unique and all rewarding when completed.
What communities, groups or organizations—on- and off-campus—are important to you and why?
I'm a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and have been the Alumni Board president for a while now. Through that position, I've learned I enjoy mentoring younger students and helping them chart a career path. And now with my daughters, I've learned I have a passion for K-12 STEM education as well so I volunteer with many organizations as a speaker and have been appointed to the board of Destination Imagination Colorado and Building Ships recently.
What are your plans for the future? What's your dream job?
I plan to retire from my current company and continue pursuing STEM educational outreach... somehow. My dream job is one I do because I want to, not because I'm paid to.
What would you tell someone interested in joining your academic program or Mines in general?
Do it. Do it now. There is literally no downside to the investment and you'll never know where your Mines degree(s) will take you until you have them.
What's your favorite thing to do outside of class and coursework? How do you unwind, manage stress, find fulfillment, etc.?
I enjoy many typical Colorado activities like fly fishing, hiking, disc golf, skiing. Also, big things like foreign travel and even small things like board games with the family are great. But honestly right now, any larger blocks of free time are devoted to the PhD. So ask again in a year or so and I'll be better at unwinding!
Tell us something about you that most people would be surprised to learn.
I was a competitive paintball player for a nationally sponsored team.