Alabama NewsCenter: What is your job title and work location?
Ben Ayer: DCC supervisor. Birmingham Distribution Control Center.
ANC: How long have you worked for the company?
Ayer: 9.5 years.
ANC:Where did you go to school?
Ayer: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alabama. MBA at the University of Montevallo.
ANC: What made you want to pursue a career in engineering?
Ayer: As a child, I was always fascinated about how my toys could be taken apart and put back together. My ninth-grade geometry teacher told me one day that I needed to be an engineer. The idea took root and the rest is history.
ANC: Can you provide a brief description of your work?
Ayer: I supervise a work group that manages the distribution system, assists with the dispatch of trouble and provides switching to our field resources for Birmingham. We are a 24/7 control center that also manages Eastern and Western divisions during the night.
ANC: What do you find most rewarding about your career?
Ayer: Being able to provide the customer with reliable service and help bring the community a sense of normalcy during storm restoration.
ANC: What makes you most optimistic or excited about the role engineers are playing in the innovation economy?
Ayer: Innovation is all around us. Our distribution system is becoming more intelligent every day. It is exciting to watch the changes we are making with our systems to provide an even faster response to outages.
ANC: What do most non-engineers not understand about engineering and/or engineers?
Ayer: Just like playing with Legos, engineering can be whatever you want it to be. Being good at math is a part of it but does not have to be a barrier.
ANC: How many pocket protectors do you own?
Ayer: I laid mine down at a long time ago.