Bill Yori

Bill’s passion for his work shines as he conducts structural testing on wind blades

Even for someone who drives 80 miles a day, five days a week, from a small Brooks family farm to the hustle and bustle of Orono, Bill Yori loves every minute of it. With a smile on his face, he claims the lengthy commute is a small price to pay for the chance to work in what he considers the best job around: working on the lab floor of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

Yori first stepped foot in the UMaine Composites Center when he attended a tour of the facility in the fall of 2014. As he happily described, his “mind was blown away” by the research being conducted at the center. Little did he know that in about a year, he would become a student employee.

The journey to the center was not an easy one for Yori. He had previously attended Alfred University in Alfred, New York, from 2000-2004, but he then took 10 years off from college. In those 10 years, Yori worked at a variety of jobs, including Verizon Wireless, his family’s dairy farm, and Bank of America. However, Yori realized he was yearning to further his education, and the mechanical engineering program at UMaine sold him on returning to school. After starting his academic career at UMaine in September 2014, Yori learned about  internship opportunities through John Arimond, the center’s business development manager, and Professor Andrew Goupee. Spotting a chance to develop his passionate engineering skills at the center, Yori enthusiastically applied.

Now in his third month, Yori, a student research assistent, has devoted his time exclusively to the structural testing of monstrous wind blades, vital components of the center’s prolific renewable energy projects. While the specifics of his job are shrouded behind a non-disclosure agreement, Yori had only positive things to say about his work.

“Commuting and then working all day isn’t that exhausting,” explained Yori. “The excitement of my job carries me through each day. Even though my work is vital to the safe operation of these massive wind turbines, the team is great about positive feedback and constructive criticism, so that my job isn’t stressful.”

Yori’s only regret is that he didn’t realize he wanted to pursue an engineering career sooner in his life. In any case, he recognizes how “good he has it now”, even just three months into the internship.

“I’m so proud of the fact that I’m a part of this team, and that I can work here. I’m going to be thrilled to have this on my resume and to be able to talk about the work we’ve done here. I love engineering because it offers me a chance to leave my mark on world in a tangible and quantifiable way.”

If there was one aspect of his job that he will surely apply to his future endeavors, it is the center’s emphasis on safety. Every employee, no matter what role, has to complete lab safety training. Yori appreciates the “diligent” procedures and staff efforts to keep everyone safe in such a potentially hazardous environment, where anything from chemical spills to improperly mounted machinery poses a risk.

“I can absolutely apply some of these safety skills to my family’s farm in Brooks,” said Yori. “The safety training and the center’s emphasis on being careful is amazing and wonderful.”

Yori plans to complete his degree at UMaine in the fall and move on to other engineering opportunities. He notes that he would enjoy “really anything” in the engineering field, and that the opportunity for meaningful work is the prospect he is most excited about. Yori’s passion for his job will surely serve him well in whatever endeavors he undertakes.

Written by Kyle Hadyniak, 2016