Day 11: Taking Stock of More Companies

Day 11 was the last of our company visits, and having seen how amazing the previous companies had been, I had high expectations. These companies, however, were much less “Silicon Valley” in their approach to business. TE connectivity especially felt like a normal office building with rooms full of cubicles. Their factory floor was a little bit more exciting, but I was a little disappointed that most of the production seemed to involve molding plastics, instead of wiring complex circuitry. I was also disappointed that there seemed to be no research or design happening in the building. I was surprised at how much downsizing this plant had gone through since it opened in the 90’s. Apparently, only 10 percent of its workforce remained, and most of those jobs were based around checking that the quality of the machine-produced parts was satisfactory. This stood in contrast to a lot of political rhetoric that I had been hearing in the U.S. about how China was taking all the jobs. In reality, it seemed like technological innovations were replacing jobs on a global scale. I personally liked the Dupont visit better, as we got to see more of the research side of their facilities. We saw where they produced and tested solar panel materials and car parts. One of the coolest rooms they took us too was soundproof (only having a background noise level of 23 decibels) for them to test the noise level of car parts. The facilities were very impressive, but I wondered what would become of it once the Dupont/Dow conglomerate split up in a few years. I hoped that regardless of the division, that cutting edge research would continue to occur.

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