July 29, 2022
Back when she was a kid, Marlene Trujillo loved playing with electronic toys. She marveled at how she could hold a remote control, press a button, and the object would do exactly what she told it to do with no wires attached.
“That connection between the controller and the toy always had a little magic wrapped up it in for me,” she says.
Fast forward a couple decades and Marlene found herself working as a mechanic and fabricator at high-end car shops. She’d gotten her Certificate in Automotive Technology from CNM and chosen the automotive field because she was great with her hands but hated paperwork and didn’t want to enter a field like engineering just yet.
Still, her curiosity for design and electronics lingered and eventually she came across CNM Ingenuity’s first-ever Internet of Things bootcamp. She saw that it only took a matter of weeks to get important coding, manufacturing, and design training so she enrolled and quickly excelled. The key to her success was high-level instruction.
“Brian Rashap, the instructor, did a great job of making complicated things so much more palatable,” she says.
At one point during her bootcamp, Brian introduced Marlene to Chris Ziomek, the founder and CEO of Build With Robots. She helped him set up an autonomous welder and Chris soon asked Marlene to come on as an intern at his Albuquerque-based company, which was building mobile robots designed to disinfect large buildings.
The timing was perfect because COVID-19 had just hit and there was a growing demand for the services provided by the company’s robots. Marlene started her internship, excelled, and was immediately hired. She started by helping the company with assembly, troubleshooting and repair, and has since moved up and is now part of a team that works on the electrical design.
“It’s been a really interesting and challenging opportunity to go from the assembly side to the design side,” she says. “I had purposely avoided paperwork for so long, but I like the balance I have now and this feels like a real career. It’s been amazing to see how to take an idea to a physical thing, and then how to find a way to mass produce that physical thing.”
Next up, Marlene has several exciting projects. Build with Robots recently deployed its flagship Breezy One robot to several high-profile clients, including the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, and the The Pit basketball arena at the University of New Mexico. The company is also working on their next robot called Breezy Blue bot, which is designed to clean smaller spaces like offices and hotel rooms. Marlene is also working through some final prerequisite classes at CNM and plans to enroll at UNM for a bachelor’s in Engineering.
As Marlene moves forward, she says she feels like she can always come back to CNM and her Internet of Things community for help and support.
“CNM Ingenuity has been great for me and for this community, and the college continues to support me to this day,” she says. “I know I could go right now and everyone including Brian would drop what they were doing and help me with whatever I needed.”