Ken Brown, Lenox, a Stanley Black & Decker Co.

by | Products & People

Hands-on learning

Ken Brown is going into his senior year at the University of Connecticut this fall, and this is his second summer doing an engineering internship at a manufacturing company. When he started the internship at Lenox, a Stanley Black & Decker company in East Longmeadow, this summer, Brown was tasked with organizing a project to help the company reach its savings goal for the year. Specifically, he’s improving the work flow around one machine in the manufacturing process. 

“It’s basically a giant laser jet printer except it prints on saw blades,” he said. “Instead of having the operator have to sit and unload the machine, which is a very repetitive, very boring job, we’re actually setting it up so the machine will run the blades and it will slide down a chute.”

With the plant currently expanding its operations, Brown’s project will free up the operator to take on other tasks. But making the improvement isn’t as simple as it sounds. Brown had to design the chute in CAD software, determine the materials he needed, and get them made. He’s also installing a camera so that another worker can keep an eye on the process from a different work station and make sure the machine is printing correctly. 

Ken Brown, 21

Manufacturing engineer intern,
Lenox, a Stanley Black & Decker Co., East Longmeadow

Lives: Glastonbury, Conn.
Makes: Linear saw blades
Career aspirations: To work in manufacturing engineering for Black & Decker

“You kind of have to understand the process first before you jump into, ‘Here’s what we can do to realize savings,’” he said.

Hannah Butler, senior human resources manager at Lenox, said the company has been running the internship program for more than two decades.

“The work the interns execute during their time here is very impactful for our operations team as it contributes to the overall strategic plan to grow our plant and its capacity,” Butler said. “The projects they complete give us insights and results that aid in continued manufacturing and new product development goals.”

Brown said he likes the hands-on nature of manufacturing engineering, which keeps him moving around the plant rather than staring at a screen like he might do if he were working in design engineering. He also does mechanic work as a hobby around the house and on personal vehicles, and he’s part of UConn’s Formula SAE racing team, so he’s very familiar with Black & Decker products.

“To be able to work for a company that makes something that I use on a fairly consistent basis is a lot of fun for me,” he said.