Personalities of IAM Robotics
Rachel Heller, Mechanical Designer
Driven by both her family’s background and a curiosity for how things go from concept to completion, Rachel Heller always knew engineering was in her future. And it didn’t take long for robotics to take center stage in her pursuit. We asked our mechanical designer about her journey into robotics and learned a few of her favorite things, too.
What is the coolest project you worked on or contributed to prior to joining IAM Robotics?
I helped design a system that used FANUC robots to sandwich a piece of vinyl between two pieces of curved glass, one of which had to be picked up and flipped 180 degrees.
What motivates you?
I like seeing the whole puzzle come together, so I’m most motivated by being able to see a project from start to finish and being able to help in multiple areas—design to build.
What is your go-to spot in Pittsburgh?
Number one would have to be PPG Paints Arena to watch the Penguins play. But if I can’t do that, I like to eat at Buca di Beppo or Hofbrauhaus. Great food and atmosphere at both restaurants!
What is your favorite travel spot?
Hands down, my favorite spot is Hilton Head Island. I’m a little bit of a beach bum!
Any favorite quotes that reflect your personality?
I have a few favorites, but number one is, “The Only Constant in Life Is Change.”—Heraclitus
Fun fact: I have a similar saying tattooed on my foot. >>
How did you choose your career?
My dad is a professional electrical engineer, and I grew up hearing him talk about his projects and seeing his prints and layouts, which I thought was pretty cool. So in high school, I took a few drafting classes and intro to engineering classes. I prefer the mechanical side of things rather than the electrical. I decided in my senior year to go to Beattie Tech for robotics and was hooked. I joined the FIRST Robotics team and Bot Ball Team. Then I went to college for my B.S. in Engineering Design Technology (as the only female in my class all four years). I really enjoyed learning the software and the processes things go through from start to finish.
Of course, a couple of my previous jobs incorporated robots into the design, so I started learning more about them on my own and am currently studying for my robotics technician certificate. Needless to say, I’m a non-traditional female in the career path I chose, and I enjoy every minute of it.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I never had any doubts that I wanted to be an engineer.
What is your favorite part about working for IAM Robotics?
I love that my job has multiple tasks, from design work/making prints, quality checks on incoming parts, making assembly kits for manufacturing to put assemblies together, to building and eventually circling back to help with revisions. l love seeing the process from start to finish. Plus I enjoy learning from my coworkers and assisting them on projects. Everyone is easygoing and easy to work with, which is great for a team environment.
What do you think the future has in store for robotics?
Honestly, the sky is no longer the limit for robotics (ask Elon Musk). With constant innovations, if you can think it—it can/probably will happen in the future. It’s only a matter of time.
Thanks to Rachel for sharing your unique path to IAM Robotics. We wouldn’t be leading the way in robotics without team members who are passionate about their work and committed to making a difference in the future of robotics. The best is yet to come.