Crowley’s Traveling Technician

Field Service Engineer
Crowley technician Steve Sheckels cleans the glass plate on a Qidenus book scanner. Steve specializes in scanner installation and training and has traveled to 50 states in just six years as part of his job.

On March 26th, Steve Sheckels, a Crowley field service engineer, accomplished a pretty impressive milestone: he visited his 50th United State in the course of doing business. Steve’s a talented technician and instructor and has traveled the U.S. and beyond performing scanner and imaging equipment installations, training and – happily, far less frequently – repairs.  On the heels of his personal Facebook post recognizing this achievement, we asked him to pull together some of the highlights of his travels.

Here’s the post that led to our request:

“It’s crazy to think about, but in the past six years of my life, I have been to all 50 states plus several other countries around the world. This trip to Alaska was the final one. I can’t imagine what my life would be like right now if it wasn’t for my awesome job at Crowley and the amazing people I work with. I feel accomplished and I could honestly die a happy man tomorrow. I’ve seen so much of the world these past six years. I wouldn’t trade it for anything…”

And here are the highlights in Steve’s own words:

Favorite States

Any state with mountains (I’m not a beach guy), especially the Rockies, the Cascades and the Sierra Nevadas. There’s also nothing like the Appalachians in the Fall. Best states so far have been: Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, California, Oregon and Washington.

Favorite Areas of the U.S.

  • Love the West Coast of California (especially Malibu) and driving along the Pacific Coast highway.
  • The Sierra Nevada Mountains of northern California around Lake Tahoe
  • Palouse Hills of southeast Washington State
  • Black Hills of South Dakota and Mount Rushmore
  • Blue Ridge Parkway during the Fall
  • Exploring the Wasatch Mountains of Utah
  • Northern Rockies of western Montana /northern Idaho
  • Anywhere above 10,000 feet in Colorado
  • The Redwoods
  • North shore of Oahu Hawaii
  • Mount Scott near Fort Sill Oklahoma – it’s a wildlife reserve with bison and longhorn cattle but it’s the only mountain for miles and an oasis from the never-ending Midwest flats
  • New York City – just an experience in itself

Favorite trips outside of the U.S.

  • Barbados – Snorkeling, sea turtles, rum factories…and work
  • Mexico City
  • Trinidad and Tobago – Beautiful beaches and rainforest plus a chance to witness Carnival
  • Germany – five times for training plus the “adventures” of flying around Europe
  • Anywhere in Canada: Nova Scotia #1 by far (so beautiful and clean); Vancouver #2

Memorable events

  • Flying over the Arizona wildfires
  • Flying over the paths of deadly tornadoes
  • Flying over the Grand Canyon multiple times (in my opinion, the best way to see it)
  • Flying into Alaska and seeing the sunlight over the top of the world (bummed I didn’t get to see the aurora borealis while I was up there)…
  • …then flying back over uninhabited/rugged northern Canada
  • Crazy fog driving from Manhattan, KS to Wichita early one morning
  • Crazy sandstorm in Tucson, AZ
  • Being on the local news twice. Once in Tucson during the dust storm and the other in Minneapolis discussing changes in frequent flier miles
  • Been to the top of a skyscraper that was under construction in lower Manhattan (best view of NYC ever)
  • Randomly finding myself within 20 feet of President Obama along a highway in Minnesota
  • Staying in the French Quarter of New Orleans during Mardi Gras (yes, it was a work trip)
  • Hottest temperature: 112 degrees (AZ); coldest: -18 degrees (MN)

Favorite projects

  • Installation and training at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) where I was able to view original holocaust artifacts
  • University of Wyoming and viewing the Native American artifacts there
  • Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (DE) – the gardens are amazing
  • The N/S Savannah – installed a scanner on the first-ever nuclear-powered merchant ship. It was docked in the Port of Baltimore (MD) and is now there in protective storage
  • Installed a Zeutschel book scanner in an RV in Mississippi which was equipped with a freeze dryer. The RV traveled around following Hurricane Katrina, freeze-drying water damaged documents and then scanning them with the Zeutschel.
  • Many famous museums and state Capitol buildings
  • Tours of the depths and specimen cabinets of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and famous works of art under preservation in the Smithsonian Archives of American Art galleries
  • Cape Canaveral and seeing the space shuttles

Toughest projects

  • Any time I have to fit a big scanner into a small room
  • Any time I land at night in a rainstorm with unfamiliar roads to navigate

Final Thoughts from a Road Warrior

I think traveling in general is an amazing (although often nerve-wracking) experience. My job keeps it interesting because I never really know where my next trip will be. I don’t think I’ll ever be completely comfortable in a plane (turbulence and new sounds still make me nervous); I’d much rather have my feet on the ground.

I spend way too much of my trips killing time in an airport, but I count that as reflection time. Overall, traveling for work has been the best experience of my life. Growing up as a kid in western PA, I never would have thought I’d have these amazing opportunities to see the world.

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Select photos from Steve Sheckels’ work travels over the past six years.

Interested in learning more about Crowley Technical Support?

The Crowley Company provides technical support for all of our manufactured and installed scanner and micrographic product lines. This includes installation, training, preventative maintenance, parts and supplies and repairs. We employ a staff of seasoned field service engineers in our Frederick, MD, San Dimas, CA and Basingstoke, UK locations to serve the world.

Editor’s note: During our conversation, we also found that Steve actually went to the University of Pittsburgh to become a veterinary technician. The trip from there to Crowley sounds like it may need its own blog, but we’re very pleased he discovered his technical talents and has put them to such good use.

If you have any questions or comments about Crowley technical support, please contact The Crowley Company by calling (240) 215-0224. General inquiries can be emailed to [email protected].

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