Q&A Session With MHI Outstanding Young Professional of the Year Award Winners

By Laurie Walker, MHI Senior Membership Coordinator

Each year, MHI member companies have the opportunity to submit their employees for the MHI Outstanding Young Professional of the Year Award.

We were proud to announce Arsenio Evans and Isaiah Reynolds at MODEX 2016 as the winners of the MHI Outstanding Young Professional of the Year Award.  Recently we caught up with Arsenio and Isaiah and learned more about them.

Arsenio Evans, Age 27
MHI Outstanding Young Professional of the Year

Arsenio Evans

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Farmville, Va.  I have always been strong at math and started electronics in the 8th grade.  I had the opportunity to compete in Skills USA competitions for electronics in high school and went to Nationals in 2006!  I then went to a pre-engineering academy in high school and was on the first team for FIRST Robotics team at my school.  After I graduated, I came back to mentor the same team for two years.

I went on to get associates in Electronics Technology from a Community College and then transferred to Old Dominion University, where I ultimately got my Bachelors in Electrical Engineering.  While in school, I interned with Northrup Grumman, Babcock and Wilcox and Swisslog.

I graduated in 2013 and became a full time employee with Swisslog.  Once I got settled, I got back into mentoring First Robotics at Phoebus High School in Hampton, VA.  When I’m not working, I enjoy hanging with my friends and family.

What position do you currently hold at Swisslog?

I am currently a Controls Engineer at Swisslog.

You’ve had so many accomplishments with the Swisslog AGV program.  In your opinion, what has been the most impactful for your company and industry?

I think the safety aspect of what we accomplished with AGV spread through our company and had a huge impact on other projects, which ultimately helped to grow the industry.

We saw in your application that you’re involved in a high school robotics competition and also on the advisory board for SAMMech Pathway Project.  How do you think you are able to use the early stages of your career to help mentor these upcoming engineers?

When I was growing up, I didn’t know what an engineer truly was and it seemed somewhat of an impossible dream. I like to inspire the youth by showing them that they can become an engineer or anything they want for that matter. Being closer to their age, I think I can relate more to what they are going through and can share my experiences with them. In my mentoring role with the robotics team, I enjoy sharing the similarities of what we do to design and build the robot to what I do with a project at my job.

What do you hope to accomplish and/or work towards in the next 5 years of your career?

I would like to become a better engineering by learning from others within my field and outside. I want to be more involved in the STEM community.


Isaiah ReynoldsIsaiah Reynolds, Age 25
MHI Outstanding Young Professional of the Year

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a Virginia native born and raised. I grew up in Louisa County, VA where my dad was a math and computer science teacher at the local high school for many years. My dad taught me my first programming language in high school. I enjoyed programming so much that I went on to get an Associate’s Degree in computer science at Piedmont Virginia Community College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Christopher Newport University. My interests in AI and the software behind robotics led me into the automation industry where I currently work.

What position do you currently hold at Swisslog?

I am currently a Senior Software Engineer.

You’ve taken the lead on multiple AGV projects for Swisslog.  Which project are you most proud of and how has it had an effect on your company?

I am most proud of my work on the AGV projects for Swisslog. My work on those projects demonstrated the success that an intern turned full time employee could have. I was in the first wave of software interns employed under my Director, Steve Thorne.  My success, along with the success of my peers, demonstrated the positive impact that interns can have. This has led to other departments taking on interns from local Universities. This process assists both Undergraduates with gaining real work experience and grows a positive reputation for Swisslog with up and coming engineers.

We saw in your application that you’ve taken new interns under your wing and helped to mentor them both during and after their internships.  You even got them involved in MHI!  What words of advice do you have for new young professionals entering the material handling industry?

My advice would be as follows. First, take everything as an opportunity to learn and grow. Learn from your successes and grow from your failures. If you can do that, there isn’t anything you can’t accomplish. Second, treat everyone with honesty and respect. If you do that, you can go home every day knowing you’ve had a positive effect on those around you. Finally, build meaningful relationships. Whether it be with your coworkers, customers or clients. This is a large interdependent industry and no one can make it alone. You have to have people you can trust and people who trust in you.

What do you hope to accomplish and/or work towards in the next 5 years of your career?

My goal for the next 5 years will be the same goal I had for the last 5 years, which will be the same goal I will have for 5 years after that. I want to learn, improve, and succeed. I am a firm believer that every opportunity is an opportunity to learn.  If I can learn, I can improve.  Improvement leads to progress and progress leads to success. I believe anything I’ve done before can be done better. I plan to keep learning so that the work I do today is better than the work I did yesterday.  In turn, the work I will do tomorrow will be better than the work I’m doing now.

Submissions for the Outstanding Young Professional Award are accepted at the start of each year, with the winners being announced at ProMat.

The Outstanding Young Professional Award is given to an MHI member under the age of 40 who has displayed professional accomplishments, effective leadership skills and contributions to their company and industry innovation.

If you know of someone that would be a candidate, be on the lookout for submission forms in January or check back on the MHI Young Professionals Network webpage.  For questions, please contact the MHI membership team.