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Longevity in Engineering: Challenges, Opportunities and Finding your Passion

Meet Bill Faulkner, a seasoned sales engineer with over 50 years of experience at Trane. Bill is committed to helping his customers achieve their objectives through building technology and energy solutions.
  1. What is your education and career background?

    I graduated from Georgia Tech on June 12th, 1971 with a degree in Industrial Engineering and went to work for the Trane company in the Graduate Training Program on July 12th, 1971. And that means I'm in my 53rd year with Trane.

    I was hired as a Sales Engineer and after completing the 1971-II GTP Class, I was assigned to the Atlanta office as a 100% commissioned sales engineer. I have held that sales role in Atlanta now for over 52 years calling on contractors, engineers and owners. I feel very lucky.

  2. What was the spark that excited you about a role in engineering and how has that continued throughout your career?

    I’m not sure I’d say there was a moment where I had an epiphany regarding a career in engineering. In school I was pretty good with math, physics, chemistry, and I enjoyed technical things. The main reason I went into engineering is that I thought I would always have a job and that has proved to be very true, I just didn’t know it would only be one job. At this point in my life, I just don’t want to retire because I’m having fun and enjoying what I do so much. I’m a good example of the adage; “Find something you like to do, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

  3. What do you like about your job?

    The thing I like about this job is that every day is different. Every day there's something to learn. Every day you have an opportunity to get better at what you do, and it never ends. And what we did last year or a couple, three years ago is different than what we do today. There's always a challenge. So, if you like challenges, this is going to be great. I like challenges.

  4. What is the most meaningful lesson you’ve learned throughout your career?

    That I don’t know everything, and I need a lot of other people who can provide me with support to help get my customers what they want, or need. It is important to realize that you can learn something from anyone, even if the encounter is with a very humble individual. Keep an open mind and always try to do something better tomorrow than you did it today. Treat everyone with dignity and respect. Remember, friends may come and go but enemies accumulate.

  5. What is one moment of success in your career that made you proud?

    As a trained sales engineer, one way to look at the market is that you're faced with  limited opportunity. But I hate the word ‘limit’. That's a terrible word, limited. But the good news is there's only one limit to your opportunity, and that is your imagination. And one of my successes throughout my career is me using my imagination to come up with things that, for whatever reason, other people just weren't going to think about. Your only limit should be your imagination.

  6. What advice would you give an engineer just starting out in a sales or technical field?

    When you first start your work career, you will feel bewildered and unprepared, or at least that is how I felt. You must persevere. Pay attention and remember. Learn from your mistakes and your successes. Ask for help only after you have fully investigated the issue yourself to develop options. You will be amazed how quickly those negative feelings disappear and your performance improves. What you will find is that you are more capable than you know, and you are only getting better every day.

  7. What drives your passion for engineering?

    My role as a Trane Sales Engineer matches well with my strengths, while minimizing my weaknesses. I try to sell value and I derive satisfaction from helping my customers achieve their objectives. The job is very technical, with new puzzles to solve every day and new things to learn constantly. Dealing with people means every day is different and there is always a challenge to do that well. This sales role is anything but boring. I take great pride in the service and equipment I provide for my customers. Remember, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.