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Meet Katie Herron

Katelynne "Katie" Herron joined the AHT Cullman team in the summer of 2019 as Materials Engineer / Quality Specialist. Learn about her background, hobbies and more.

posted On Thursday, November 5, 2020 in Blog

Meet Katie Herron

Q&As with Katelynne Herron

You started at AHT in 2019. Tell us about your professional and educational background before that.

I graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the spring of 2019, with a Bachelor of Science in Materials Engineering. While I was in college, I had the ability to gather a wide variety of experience. I worked as a student assistant in a polymers lab, which focused on healthcare material development. During my time in that lab, I co-authored a text book chapter on fibrou-pourus nanobiomaterials. I found my love for metallurgy after taking a Materials Characterization course, and ended up with an internship at an aluminum high pressure die casting facility. This facility was a tier 1 automotive supplier, and during my time as an intern, I helped lead a project using microstructural analysis to help guide further process improvement projects within their facility. I worked with this supplier as a process engineer within their melt and heat treatment furnace system for a short time after I graduated, before starting my career with AHT in the summer of 2019.

What types of jobs have you been working on lately?

I’ve been working on two different projects lately. In one of those projects, I am helping develop a process to meet the specifications of a high wear part used in the oil and gas industry. The other job I have been working on, is a project to develop a new process for parts within the firearm industry. This project is exciting because we are working together to see if our UltraOx process can replace their previously used chemical dip black oxide coating. If this works well, we would be helping them combine their surface hardening treatment and black oxide treatment into one step with our UltraOx process.

When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your free time?

When I’m not working or spending time with family and friends, you can usually find me either out in the woods or playing video games. Alabama is one of the most biodiverse states in the US, and I absolutely love to go hiking with my friends and enjoy some of the state parks we have. I’m an avid video gamer too, and I love most any game that comes out on Nintendo systems.

What are some metallurgical services that AHT offers that our customers may not realize?

Advanced Heat Treat has 4 labs, one at each of our locations. Not only do we use these labs to help develop and verify our heat treatment processes, but we can also use these labs to help customers with metallurgical evaluations.  Just to name a few things, we can complete microstructural analysis, surface and core hardness testing, and case depth analysis. These services can be very helpful when starting a new product, researching new process designs, and problem solving metallurgical issues.

What is one thing people may not know about you?

I am very passionate about the environment. In high school I completed research on the effects of sedimentation, a certain type of pollution, within the ecosystem of a nationally protected stream within my community. I presented this research both on the state and national level. I was able to present this research at the Alabama Junior Academy of Science as well as presented this research at the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposia in 2014.

Working in the lab, what advice would you give our customers?

Share as much information as you can about any previous heat treatment cycles that your parts have gone through. This information is critical for us to know, in order take into account any dimensional tolerance requirements or mechanical property requirements your part may have when we are designing our processes.

You are also involved in continuous improvement efforts. Tell us about that.

I’m the continuous improvement champion at our Cullman location. I also help manage our See Something Say Something Program. AHT strives to always improve our systems, and both our Employee Continuous Improvement System (ECIS) and See Something Say Something Program helps us to achieve that. Any employee can suggest a continuous improvement project through ECIS, as well as submit any observations for improvement in our see something say something program. I help guide our team in capturing and completing improvement projects, as well as help with any observations for improvement that they have. We have champions at each location, that help form part of a team, so we can capture and share any new ideas that help improve our systems as a company. It’s impressive to be a part of a company that values every employee’s input in regards to improving and shaping our systems.

Now, a series of quick random questions:

First Job:  Retail Associate at Cracker Barrel

Favorite Food: Any type of burritos

Least Favorite Food: Brussel Sprouts

Have You Ever Played a Musical Instrument? If so, what? I can play the guitar and the kalimba.

Favorite Sport: It’s a tie between Volleyball and Soccer

Favorite Team: The University of Alabama (Roll Tide!)

Favorite Movie or Book: My favorite movie is The Princess Bride.

If you had a super power, what would it be? I would love to fly.

Favorite Vacation or Roadtrip: The cross country road trip I took as a kid with my mom, from Alabama to Colorado

Hobby: Bird Watching

Favorite Quote: “All sorts of things can happen when you’re open to new ideas and playing around with things.”- Stephanie Kwolek

Pets: I don’t have any pets at the moment. My childhood dog, and best friend, Roxie just recently passed over the rainbow bridge.

Have a question for Katie? Email her at herronk@ion-nitriding.com.

  1. meet cullman
  2. meet the team