Andy at 5 years old, fixing his go-kart


Position at SIGMADESIGN: Program Manager

Time at SIGMADESIGN: Eleven years


{Engineers enable tangible improvements to the world. The things we do are not just academic or only interesting to our minds. They improve our quality of life. I love when customers come to us after trying everything they’ve thought of and our team is able to solve their problem in a novel way.} – Andy Boyes



What do you enjoy most about your profession?

Mechanical engineering is a broad field which allows me to continuously learn new aspects of physical science and business. I’ve always loved physics, and I view mechanical engineering as applied physics. I really enjoy using what I’ve learned at work every day. Engineers enable tangible improvements to the world. The things we do are not just academic or only interesting to our minds. They improve our quality of life. As technology advances, I am able to apply that technology to make better products for people to use in their daily lives.

What do you enjoy most about work at SIGMADESIGN?

I love solving problems and I believe SIGMADESIGN has a two-dimensional breadth and depth that makes us uniquely capable of coming up with the best solutions.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Think outside the box.” Well, thinking outside the box is not possible if you do not have knowledge of what is outside your box. You need the ability to utilize tools you may not even be familiar with. We have clients in so many industries, and therefore have knowledge of tools and applications that we can bring across industries in new ways. This breadth of experience leading to outside-the-box thinking is the first valuable dimension to our design capabilities.

The other dimension of our breadth is our concept through production services. Our team is comprised of many types of engineers, designers, machinists, 3D-printing specialists, welders, assembly technicians, test technicians, prototyping specialists, logistical coordinators and more. The experience and expertise that each individual brings to the table gives us a depth of knowledge that we can use to collectively solve the problems our clients bring to us.

What are your favorite projects or project types?

I love when customers come to us after trying everything they’ve thought of and our team is able to solve their problem in a novel way. I think these are the best projects. I also enjoy working on projects where I am searching for hidden trends amongst millions of data points. I think it is fun to search for trends and hidden patterns, sort the data all out, and make a coherent logical decision that leads to a good design. For me, these projects represent the infinite complexity of life. Getting a glimpse into something highly intricate and being able distill aspects used to solve problems is very rewarding.


Do the SIGMADESIGN core values influence your work?

Yes, they do. Throughout the course of a day there are many conversations and actions that involve applying our core values. I’m frequently in discussions about why a certain path was taken or why certain choices were made. More often than not, it involves one or more of our core values.

The two values that stand out to me the most are:

  • Respect for each other. Respect in the workplace comes down to trusting your people and listening to them. When we have discussions about why something went wrong, we respect each other by knowing that we were all trying to do our best. When we respect each other, we are really giving each other what is due. If I know there is something that a coworker can improve, I owe it to them to communicate that constructive feedback.
  • Help clients and each other. This is the most fun part about my job and it is something that has always been a part of my life. My goal has consistently been to satisfy the customer. It certainly is thrilling to engineer and build a fully functioning robot. But even more rewarding is seeing our team’s efforts lead to a happy customer.

What do you value at work?

My coworkers. We spend a lot of time together solving problems and searching for new ways to make our work easier and our quality better. My coworkers are fun and easy to laugh with; they understand what’s important in life.  We rely on each other to get the job done and help each other along the way. Knowing that management is looking to enable my success helps me stay focused and motivated to complete the tasks at hand in the best possible way for the company and our clients. SIGMADESIGN has been and continues to be a great company to work for. It’s both the interesting projects and the interaction with an incredible team and clients that make it such a great place to work.


What was your youth like?

I grew up in the Columbia River Gorge and my childhood was one of constant learning and good hard work. Being raised in a small community and in such a beautiful area provided plenty of opportunity to learn about nature, weather, history, opportunity cost, politics and how to use physics and economic principles to solve problems. Like many of my coworkers, I was taking things apart many years before I could put them back together in a functional manner. As a family we maintained property, raised livestock, had a garden and played outside. We were a DIY sort of family, finding new ways of overcoming the challenges of the day. My siblings and I were constantly learning, and it was always connected to our daily routine.

Andy at 5 years old, fixing his go-kart

I have a natural curiosity that was reinforced with the psychological rewards experienced every time I learned something new, whether it was in school or in the daily routine of life in the Gorge.  My parents made it a point to make working and learning fun. This taught me that having a positive attitude when confronted with something difficult will have a great impact on your ability to learn and overcome that challenge. Watching my parents’ example and participating in their problem-solving taught me the importance of a team spirit, and the value of everyone saying, “We’re in this together.” This took form in figuring out ways to corral escaping livestock or helping our neighbors facing challenges. These experiences rewarded me with the satisfaction of successfully solving problems, accomplishing difficult tasks, and working to avoid future problems.

At the age of 14, I had my own lawn mowing business. Running and growing this business taught me a lot about customer service, the satisfaction that comes in having happy clients, and the value in finding creative ways to exceed each client’s expectations.

How did you become interested in Mechanical Engineering?

Growing up I worked on my family’s and neighbors’ cars. Doing this allowed me to learn a lot of things that I took for granted at the time but now realize were valuable training opportunities in the world of mechanical design. As I worked on these cars, I was often frustrated that they seemed to be designed in a way that streamlined their manufacturability but complicated their maintenance. When I was 16, I remember thinking “If I could be an engineer and be on the other side of this, I could make it better.” From these sorts of experiences, I’m able to encourage myself and others to remember the maintenance aspect of a design – to consider how changes will be made in the field.

What did you study?

Everything! I was taught from an early age that life is about learning, developing skills and collecting tools to use, both literally and figuratively. I was an early scholar of sequential and topical history, geography, biographies and music. However, as I grew older and continued working on various machines, my interest in engineering was piqued. I applied myself to become proficient in math (which did not come easy to me, even though I loved it) and went on to Clark College, then to the University of Portland, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.

How did you find SIGMADESIGN?

During my college years I worked for a company that is one of our customers. I was an assembly line technician and used and maintained machines designed by SIGMADESIGN. Even then I was able to see SIGMADESIGN’s core values play out very clearly. In 2007, I obtained an internship with SIGMADESIGN which was soon after the time the company codified the core values. Being at the beginning of my career, it was important to me to be in a place where I could start on the right foot and then maintain some level of influence in the culture and the implementation of the company’s values. My aim is to contribute to a workplace culture that strives to apply our core values in every situation throughout the day.