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Rina Molari-Korgel


Welcome to the World of Metrology

Published: Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 11:06

It is my pleasure to welcome you to this issue of CMSC World. Our 3D metrology community is small compared to the bigger circles of civil engineering, manufacturing engineering, or even quality engineering. An even scarcer sight is a female 3D industrial metrologist, such as me.

It has been and is still difficult for engineers to find their way into this world of high-tolerance, portable, 3D metrology. It is not often commented upon in universities across the country. Therefore, this career path is often not discovered until someone finds themselves in industry and runs across the requirements and technologies utilized in portable coordinate metrology, as I did in my career. I want to share my own personal experience and how I stumbled into the best career ever.

Growing up, I was the daughter of a United Air Lines airframe and power-plant mechanic. Aviation Week was always on our living room coffee table. I used to flip through the magazine looking at the awesome jets that were in development at that time. My passion was flying, just like my father. Also like him, I had corrective lenses and did not qualify for Air Force flight training. Trying to find a way to pay for private flying lessons, I was inspired by the TV show My Three Sons, where the dad was an aeronautical engineer and they had a pretty nice house—and Uncle Charlie, too!

Being good at both math and science (make a note, ladies!) I thought engineering might be a good fit for my career. The University of Hawaii did not offer an aeronautical engineering program, but they did have civil engineering courses, and building things was intriguing to me. One of the first classes in the curriculum was surveying, and I had found my calling! To think that a company would pay me to work outdoors to take measurements, do math, and stay indoors during bad weather to draw maps (remember, this was before computers were everywhere)—this profession was it!

Soon I was a graduate of California State University at Fresno, with a land-surveyor-in-training certificate under my belt. Ronald Reagan was president at the time and there was a government hiring freeze in place, preventing me from being offered a full-time position with the U.S. Forest Service, with whom I interned for three semesters at the Tahoe National Forest. I called a friend from my undergraduate University of Hawaii physics class and ended up on the road to Texas to join him in a construction-contracting business.

Times were tough in 1983, and after three months of pay and three months of no pay, I had nothing left in my bank account. I began looking for different work. I called the representative of the local American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), a professional society for surveyors and photogrammetrists. Immediately he mentioned how General Dynamics needed a photogrammetric programmer. Well, if G.D. needed a photogrammetrist, I figured, maybe the other aerospace companies did as well. I went through my father’s copy of Aviation Week and sent letters to Boeing, McDonald Douglas, and all the other companies. They all wrote back telling me they did not need another photographer!

I have no regrets entering this wonderful world of industrial metrology. The opportunities are endless and the experiences are boundless. I have traveled all over the continental 48 states, and even into Asia and Europe for work. I have had the privilege to measure Titan-Centaur launch vehicles, military jets, helicopters, parts of the space shuttle and commercial jets, parts for a new artificial knee, a newly designed solar heliostat, space-borne satellites, and a 2,000-year-old sarcophagus, just to name a few.

In this occupation, you get to use the technology that determines if a part or an assembly meets the specifications of the original engineering design. Now that is power! Spread the word, folks. Being a 3D industrial metrologist is one of the coolest professions ever. And don’t forget to support STEM programs for both boys and girls in your local school system, to prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.


About The Author

Rina Molari-Korgel’s picture

Rina Molari-Korgel

Rina Molari-Korgel is a portable metrology application engineer at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence. She has more than 30 years of industrial metrology experience, specializing in high-precision, three-dimensional data acquisition and analysis as it pertains to manufacturing processes. Molari-Korgel has been involved with the Coordinate Metrology Society since its inception in 1984, and has had an appointed place on the Executive Committee every year since 1995. She is the current executive chairperson for the Coordinate Metrology Society, a position that she has held several times in the past.