Vancouver company rethinks the way children get an inside look at their parent’s workplace
VANCOUVER — Forty children had a very big day recently at one Vancouver company’s main headquarters. For many, it may have even changed their lives.
U.S. Digital, located in east Vancouver, invents and designs encoders for all manner of motion control applications. Everything from solar panels to high-end theater seats that move with the movie action, use U.S. Digital components.
April 25 is national Bring Your Child To Work Day, and the team at U.S. Digital decided after a few years on the shelf, it was time to bring back their very own special day for kids one day early.
“Everytime their parents go to work, we wanted them to get a sense of what they do and how what they do at U.S. Digital contributes to the overall success of U.S. Digital,” said Valerie Ciri, the human resources manager for U.S. Digital. “We really wanted some hands-on experience, we wanted to make sure we touched every one of the areas.”
Starting first thing in the morning, employees from all over the facility, set-up their demonstrations and activities. Dart launchers were loaded, robots booted up, slomo cameras were flicked on, and lasers started humming.
When the children arrived, they split up into three groups, and began rotations through a series of over a dozen unique stations. As they stopped by each one, the group would learn about the process, see the steps in action and maybe even get to make something to take home.
“I’m excited for next year. I’m already thinking of up different ways that I can kind of tweak the challenge,” said Camilla Leonila Garcia, who ran the station with a motion controlled Nerf-style blaster. “I get to do pretty interesting stuff at work all the time … having something like this with the kids was fun and exciting as well.”
Garcia, who has worked as an engineer for U.S. Digital for the last five years, said she based her station off of presentations she’s done in high schools for Women in Engineering.
“I wanted to do something fun and engaging so I can convince more people to become engineers,” Garcia said laughing.
Not one area was missed during the day of exploration and connection, with parents and employees, as the children visited station after station.
Along with the launcher station, children witnessed laser cutters and etchers, macro and slow motion photography, robots of many sizes, specialized measurements, fitness facility exercises, a television studio, and many types of electrical engineering.
“The biggest takeaway was afterwards, the individuals came up to me and said, ‘Oh, it’s gonna be better next year,’” Ciri said. “I mean, we have a very competitive group here. It was good for the kids and it was great, but I think it was just as good for the staff here.”
Next year, U.S. digital hopes to include their Outreach Center in the day’s activities, involving more children and their parents. The center houses dozens of area nonprofits and ministries serving Clark County and the world.