Behind the Innovation | Austin Cobb
Behind the Innovation is a series where we talk to someone at Whelen about their career and life. In this edition, we talk to Austin Cobb – Senior Training Specialist and beekeeper.
Hi Austin! Would you like to introduce yourself to the world?
My name is Austin Cobb. I’m a Senior Training Specialist at Whelen in Connecticut. I’ve been at Whelen for 12 years. I started out building lightbars, and then I went to work in the install garage. I was there for 7 ½ years! In 2016 I moved to the training department and I love it. I get to use all of the skills I learned both in production and install to help people best understand and utilize Whelen’s product offerings.
What is a typical workday like for you?
I start my day in the office at the espresso machine, and then I develop training curriculums to suit our customers’ needs. I gather information from product management and engineering, learn as much as I can about the product features and specs, how it installs, and how it works together with our other offerings. I also test everything. Then I develop the seminar content and build the training displays. During the pandemic, I’ve been working to make this curriculum more modular for webinars. Other than that, I provide technical expertise to other Whelen teams when I can, like marketing and tech support.
If I’m holding a seminar, either on-site or out on the road, I spend the day switching between the classroom and hands-on learning components and making sure everyone attending is having a positive experience.
What are your interests outside of work?
I’m a dad to my four-year-old daughter, Alina. My fiancé Kaitlyn and I keep bees and have a garden. I love spending time with my family out on our boat.
What has been your favorite project here and why?
I don’t really have a favorite project. What makes a project great for me is three things: the material I’m teaching, the team I’m on, and the people I get to teach.
- The material: It’s always fun to have a challenge. Interesting, new topics are always great. Whelen has so many new technologies in development and I can’t wait to create training courses about them.
- Working in a department where everyone has a good attitude and is willing to collaborate with one another is ideal. We are often all traveling to different places, so communication is key.
- Lastly, the students who are invested and respectful are my favorite to work with. When a training class is full of passionate people, my job is pretty easy and fun.
What is something you never expected your job to teach you?
I’ve learned so much as I’ve traveled internationally about the ways different countries utilize our products. There is so much out there in terms of what our products can do in different parts of the world. It’s so fascinating to me.
How do you handle stress or when you’re having a bad day?
I usually don’t have bad days at work, but if I do, I try to work on something else that brings me joy. I also know where all the candy is hidden in the office.
Who do you want to interview next, and why?
I want to interview Greg Voelker (Mechanical Engineer, CT) because even though I know him, there is so much I don’t know.
Behind the Innovation is a series of interviews where the people at Whelen find out more about the people they work with – the designers, sales executives, production workers, marketing team members, dog people, writers, inventors, and everyone in between. With 1,200 people working from two different locations, it’s a good way for us to get to know each other.