Get to know Colten Gray, Applications Engineer

When a customer purchases a new fiber laser, Colten may be one of the engineers installing Mazak's laser-cutting machine. Colten has been with Mazak since mid-2018 and has had the opportunity to install several new laser machines for customers across North America. He is currently an Applications Engineer at Mazak Optonics.

Luke Surratt, Installations Manager said, "Colton came to Mazak Optonics straight out of college with a degree in Laser & Optics Technology. Since joining the installation group a year and a half ago, his customer service, mechanical aptitude, and willingness to help customers shows in everything he does. Colten has become a very strong asset to the team."

Read more to learn about Colten and his role at Mazak through this quick Q&A session.

Quick Q&A with Colten Gray

What is your background involving laser technology and the fabrication industry?

"My background with lasers started with my degree. I went to school at Indian Hills Community College where they offer a program in laser technology. I got my associate’s degree in Laser Electro-Optics Technology."

"I discovered the program at Indian Hills Community College because I had a few friends who went through the program. After talking to them more about their experience and asking questions, I decided to join the program. I thought this would be a good field to go into because I wanted a more hands-on job that didn’t make me sit at a desk all day."

What is your current role at Mazak?

"I started on June 11, 2018, as an Installations Engineer. I install laser machines for customers. Right now, I only set up standalone machines, no automation yet. I mainly install our OPTIPLEX NEXUS FIBER laser for customers, but I have installed some other fiber machines too. I would eventually like to start installing our FABRI GEAR machines."

"My main duties involve troubleshooting on the machines as well as making sure they are running properly for the customer. Some of my responsibilities on the job are to level the machine and 2 Pallet Changer, run inspections on the fiber and the optics to make sure that they are clean and ready for cutting. Another responsibility of the job is to help the customer get familiar with their new machine, help them with any of their questions about cutting when their getting started, and to just make sure they are comfortable with their machine."

"I decided to join Mazak because I’m able to travel for my job, it’s close to home, and Luke (my boss) seemed pretty cool. I like being able to travel for work because I get to experience new areas across North America. My days are never the same, which makes my job more stimulating."

What is your definition of great customer service?

"Great customer service is going above and beyond a customer's expectations when installing their new machine. After the installation is complete, I always want to make sure the customer is comfortable using their new machine. I never want to leave a customer feeling confused or unsure about with to do when using their laser."

What are your hobbies and interests?

"I’m a big sports guy, which is one of the reasons I came to Chicago, because of the sports scene. My favorite sports to watch are football and baseball. I’m actually a New York Jets fan. Reason being is because my favorite college football team is the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. Shonn Greene was a running back there, and the New York Jets picked him in the NFL Draft. Ever since then, I’ve been a Jets fan."

"The St. Louis Cardinals is my favorite baseball team to watch. Going to games is also fun because I love the atmosphere. I used to play slow-pitch but recently haven’t had as much time to play since I’m on the road a lot."

"One thing I like to do when I’m out on the road for work is to make sure I go out and try new things in the area. I try to go to local restaurants or food more known for the region instead of going to chain-restaurants. I see a lot of movies when I’m traveling for work too instead of sitting around at the hotel."

"A fun fact about me is that I have a twin sister. My twin sister and I are exactly 1 minute apart, with her being the older one. The question that people always ask us is, “are you guys identical twins?” No.. We’re not identical twins, we are fraternal twins. Twins of opposite genders cannot be identical twins."

If you had to live in a different state, which would it be and why?

"Colorado would be the state I would live in. During spring break when I was in school, my friend and I decided to go camping in Colorado for a few days. Waking and seeing mountains everywhere you look was beautiful, and definitely a better view than seeing cornfields every day."

"Outside of the US, I would live in Vancouver because that’s the coolest place I’ve ever been to. The scenery there was gorgeous, when I was hiking I could look out and see the bay. I could live anywhere with good scenery because I like to go out and hike."

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