Ridgway native David Anderson, 32, credits his high school physics teacher Ernest Koos and many other members of the community for his career as a mechanical engineer.
Last October, Anderson moved from the Pittsburgh area, where he resided for nine years, to Derby, United Kingdom, to expand his professional experience.
Anderson graduated from Ridgway Area High School in 1997.
"I had some really great teachers who encouraged me to explore engineering," Anderson said. "It was my physics classes with Mr. [Ernest] Koos that made me decide to pursue mechanical engineering and his guidance certainly helped me to believe that I could do it. In addition to physics, the math and science departments really pushed me to understand what it means to think through a problem and figure out how to come up with a solution. My grounding in the higher sciences and calculus helped me get through my first semester at college.
"It was the critical thinking that also developed in these classes along with my drafting classes that helped me to get through the other seven semesters. Throughout my time in the Ridgway schools I had some great teachers in all of the departments who encouraged me."
In 2001, Anderson received his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Grove City College. In 2004, he continued his education at the University of Pittsburgh graduating with a Master of Science in mechanical engineering.
"As a mechanical engineer, I do a variety of things including machine design, stress analysis and fluid dynamics," Anderson said. "I work with customers to determine what they need from a piece of equipment. I then find a vendor to build that piece of machinery, oversee the installation and help to support any problems that come up during its lifetime. This results in a great variety of duties including everything from contract negotiations to in-depth technical analysis. One day I may be working on a budget proposal and the next I may be knee deep in stress analysis equations."
Living in the United Kingdom has provided Anderson with incredible opportunities to travel both Britain and Europe.
"I've been trying to fit in as many cities and countries I can before I return to the States," Anderson said. "I have also really enjoyed traveling around Britain, which I've done mostly by trains. It has been great being able to go spend a day in London or Canterbury or any another of the great cities in Britain."
Although Anderson doesn't have the opportunity to return to Ridgway as often as he would like, he still looks forward to it.
"I always enjoy seeing my family and friends," Anderson said. "My parents still live in Ridgway and my brother is not that far away in Bradford. I also have some great friendships from people I know will always be there for me.
"Something I didn't appreciate until I had left Ridgway was how many great people had an influence on my life. Obviously my family played the most significant role, but beyond them was a group of people who gave their time and effort to me through various volunteer organizations. Looking back at how much time they put into church, or scouts, or band, or any of the other various organizations, I am really grateful for their effort. They really helped to shape me and while I cannot return the favor to them, I hope I can help others succeed like they did for me."