Robbie Allred, Protonex Technology Corp.

by | Products & People

At 25, Robbie Allred has done a lot different jobs. He’s worked in restaurants and as a park ranger, and served in the Marine Corps for four years. But becoming a paid intern at Protonex Technology Corp. in Southborough set him on a course he’s been dreaming about for a long time.

“Most of my life, I’ve always been a science nerd and a space nerd,” Allred said.

So, when one of his professors at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, James Heffernan, suggested he consider the position at Protonex, he jumped at the chance. The company makes advanced fuel cells for military and scientific uses, including unmanned real systems platforms.

A space nerd at work

With his background in electrical engineering, Allred began by testing and building small cables.

Robbie Allred, 25

Electrical engineering technician, former electrical engineering intern,
Protonex Technology Corp., Southborough

Lives: Fitchburg
Makes: Portable power solutions
Career aspirations: Work on space systems, including rovers
Pay: Industry standard for co-op students

“You come in, and they definitely give you a lot of responsibility and trust,” he said. “But they’re definitely good about teaching you too. It’s important to know when to ask for help.”

Today, Allred is a full-time electrical engineering technician at the company.

Chris Bonnie, a senior engineer at Protonex and manager of the intern program, said hiring people like Allred is part of the point of offering internships as far as the company is concerned.

“It’s a good way to get new employees and try them out,” he said. “So you bring them in on a 12-week internship, see how they work, see how they interact with everyone.”