Meet Dr. Mike Vasquez, a former student-athlete at MIT, whose passion for sports led him to develop a career helping companies adopt the revolutionary Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology.
Dr. Vasquez grew up in Minnesota in a Mexican-American family. He loved playing baseball and dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, but when he realized his fastball fell a little short of MLB standards, he focused his attention on his passion for STEM.
One summer, he participated in the MIT Introduction to Technology, Engineering, and Science (MITES) program, which was his first experience with the university, but not the last, as he continued on to earn his Bachelor's and Master’s degrees from MIT, followed by a Ph.D. at Loughborough University, in the UK.
Dr. Vasquez‘s passion for sports continued while he was pursuing his education. He was the captain of the baseball team at MIT, an activity that gave him balance and sense of community, and he also conducted research related to sports.
It was his passion for sports, materials science, and engineering what exposed him to AM early on in his career, and eventually led him to found his own consulting business to help companies ease the pain points associated with implementing the technology. One of those pain points is finding AM professionals, which are few, partly due to the novelty of the technology but primarily due to the lack of knowledge and information available for the general population.
Dr. Vasquez noticed this gap and launched AMx - The Advance Manufacturing Experience, a program designed to create awareness of the types of careers available in AM, and to help individuals develop valuable skills that are sorely needed in the industry. One thing is clear, the AM field is not just for scientists and engineers, and there is a vast need for people who love to pull up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.
AMx was implemented in partnership with local Chicago businesses, and it was initially focused on collaborating with communities in the West side of Chicago. Dr. Vasquez's next goal is to make this program available nationwide.