Melissa Jensen-Morgan initially wanted to be an engineer. She earned an Honors Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Oregon State University.
Before joining Lebanon, Ore.-based Entek Extruders, a division of Entek Manufacturing Inc., in 2010, Jensen-Morgan said she knew "almost nothing about extruders but now I can design them."
She recently began expanding outside of the design engineer role and into project management.
"I was so focused for so long on becoming an engineer and then being an engineer. Now I'm breaking out of that mold to do more," said the project coordinator and design engineer for Entek Extruders.
The project coordinator role includes creating and maintaining schedules for extruder projects, providing lead times for potential projects, communicating with area supervisors and project leads, forecasting resource availability, setting and tracking budgets, and more.
"As part of the extruder R&D group, I have worked on new product development, solving customer problems, projects that led to patents and represented Entek at shows," she said. "All of this has been very rewarding.
Jensen-Morgan was awarded a U.S. patent for a "extruder screw shaft alignment apparatus and method."
"We are very busy, so every aspect of the business is growing." she said. "I'm responsible for scheduling and managing the projects. It's a delicate balance between pushing our internal team and meeting the customer's expectations."
Asked what position she would like to have in the future, Jensen-Morgan said she just wants "to keep contributing, learning and innovating."
Jensen-Morgan was nominated by Tammy Straw, marketing and business development manager at Entek.
Q: What's an accomplishment of yours that most people don't know about, either for work or in your personal life?
Jensen-Morgan: I have played flute for 24 years. Starting in middle school, through high school and then in college as a member of the marching band. I was even in charge of the flute section my senior year at Oregon State University. Travelling to football games with the band was one of the highlights of my college years. Now — well, pre-COVID — I play with a local community orchestra that puts on free concerts twice a year.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Jensen-Morgan: Do what is right, not what is easy.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Jensen-Morgan: I'm interested in electric cars — I've been wanting one for years but haven't taken the plunge yet. It's interesting to observe such a large, consumer-facing and infrastructure-heavy industry figure out how to change the status quo. Similarly, 3D printing (additive manufacturing) is interesting to me. The change from subtractive to additive methods results in some really innovative designs.