02 May Hands-on experiences lead WSU Tri-Cities graduate to start company helping future engineers achieve dreams
By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities
RICHLAND, Wash. – Arthur Baranovskiy was in seventh grade when he broke his arm, an event that would serve as a catalyst for connecting him to his future career.
Instead of participating in physical education class with the rest of his peers, he participated in drafting classes, which led him to an interest in engineering. At Delta High School, in addition to the hands-on STEM opportunities and training he received related to engineering, he pursued an internship with Meier Architecture Engineering in Kennewick, which solidified that engineering was the perfect career path for him.
“The internship was pivotal because it confirmed my passion for engineering, and specifically, electrical engineering,” he said. “What I didn’t know at the time was that it would lead to a future business helping other students. It would lead me to a future passion.”
At Washington State University Tri-Cities, Baranovskiy was able to combine what he was learning in his coursework in electrical engineering and other applicable courses with practical experience at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory through three different internships. In pursuing these experiences, he realized there are a range of options and paths for students to take, but that they may not be obvious or well-known to students.
As a result, he decided to start his own company this year to help educate students about how they can best prepare for careers in engineering and related fields while still studying to be an engineer, himself – a company called AYB Drafting.
While he still plans to pursue a full career in electrical engineering after graduating this week at the WSU Tri-Cities commencement ceremony, his company will serve as a positive outlet for him to help the next generation of engineers.
“I want to help students to reach the same conclusion as early as I did and prepare them with the extra tools to be successful,” he said.
Preparing future engineers
Through AYB Drafting, Baranovskiy said he provides students with in-depth training and connections to a range of tools including AutoCAD and other technical software, content areas not taught in the classroom that are applicable to specific engineering paths, soft skills like interview and resume prep and others that would make them an ideal candidate for their desired engineering job or company. He also plans to work with current employees to provide them with training in a range of technical areas.
In addition, he works with companies to pair them with students for internships that meet ideal specifications.
He went through WSU’s I-Corps program to develop the company. WSU’s I-Corps is an eight-week program that engages faculty, students, staff and community entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into successful business products.
With his business partner Keith Warner, the duo has obtained their business licenses and established necessary legal requirements to begin working with local companies as a training and staffing firm. He said they are in the process of meeting with companies each week to pitch the opportunity locally in the Tri-Cities and have spent the past few months recruiting students for the opportunity, which they have narrowed to a pool to begin training.
“Through this program, we want it to be very exclusive and reward only the most passionate and motivated students,” he said. “We take students who really care about engineering and give them the chance to prove it and really use their passion. This eases the transition and learning curve for when students head into their first engineering job. It’s also a perfect fit for the Tri-Cities where we have so many engineering needs.”
After graduating this spring and while pursuing his master’s in electrical engineering from WSU Tri-Cities, Baranovskiy will drive head-first into his new business while continuing his work full-time in the development and research of advanced batteries with a team at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
“My plan is to continue at PNNL full-time and put all of my effort into my career and battery research, and to also develop the business on the side,” he said. “The business model allows for easy scaling and suspension. We welcome conversations with local companies to really get the ball moving.”
Using his own foundation to help the future
Baranovskiy said it was his experience at Delta High School, WSU Tri-Cities, previous internship at Meier Architecture Engineering and current internship at PNNL that really gave him the fortitude to launch the company.
Through his academic experience at WSU Tri-Cities, Baranovskiy had the opportunity to partake in a range of hands-on engineering projects while learning valuable engineering theory and practical skill.
For his senior design capstone project in electrical engineering at WSU Tri-Cities this year, Baranovskiy and four other engineering students designed a solar panel system and associated power supports that could easily be installed in a remote community in Uganda known as the Kagoma Gate Village. The group designed the project to provide stable power during the day and for at least three hours of power at night for a classroom and office space in the village. The project figured perfectly into his work at PNNL.
At PNNL, he is completing an internship developing batteries for future vehicles and grid applications, and formerly completed two internships with facilities and a team researching countering weapons of mass destruction where he did a significant amount of drafting.
“Through these opportunities, I have developed an in-depth knowledge of the different types of programs specifically to the field of engineering in which I’m working,” he said. “I have also learned how to best conduct myself in a range of situations, as well as present projects effectively to my superiors. It has been essential experience that I believe has given me a leg up for my future as an engineer.”
Baranovskiy said he looks forward to using his own experiences to grow the potential for other future engineers.
“I want to use what I’ve learned in my own career path, in addition to what I’ve spent months researching and gathering as part of my new company, to prepare and connect other passionate students to want the same things,” he said. “Relevant job experience is vitally important to your future success as an engineer. I would like to help connect more students to these experiences.”
For more information on AYB Drafting, visit aybdrafting.com.