New Year move shapes life for ‘87 grad
Editor’s Note: This is one in the Sentinel’s “Where Are They Now?” series about Ramona graduates — where they are and what they are doing.
By Karen Brainard
Little did Todd Hollingsworth know that when he arrived in Boise, Idaho, on New Year’s Eve 20 years ago, fresh out of college, he was embarking on a move that would shape his career and his personal life.
The 1987 Ramona High School graduate had just earned his degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado in Boulder. The problem was, there weren’t many jobs available in the aerospace engineering field at that time.
So when the minister at his church asked if he was interested in helping to start a church in Boise, Hollingsworth decided to make the move.
“I loaded everything in a U-Haul with some friends of mine and…we all road-tripped to Boise right after Christmas,” he said.
A week or two later, at church, he met one of the owners of Conveyor Engineering Inc., a Boise firm. The company hired Hollingsworth, first as a contractor, then as an employee, and he has designed conveyor systems all over the world, most for the mining industry.
“I kind of grew with the company,” he said.
According to Hollingsworth, when he started with Conveyor Engineering, “we were doing the biggest conveyor in history. It was 400 horsepower.”
Times and technology have changed since then. While that first system was .3 megawatts, Hollingsworth recently finished working on a 9-megawatt system, 30 times larger and equal to about 12,000 horsepower, in Peru.
For two months Hollingsworth spent time in the Andes Mountains near the town of Morococha, advising on the construction of that conveyor system for the Toromocho copper mine.
The conveyor, about two miles in length, is not the longest in the world or the highest powered, he noted.
”What makes it special is the complexity,” he said. “It literally curves up and down, back and forth from one side of the mountain to the other. So the complexity of the control system is what really makes it special.” The conveyor can carry 10,000 tons of rock per hour.
Working out of the country and with international companies is nothing new to Hollingsworth. Nearly five years ago, Conveyor Engineering was acquired by FLSmidth, a Denmark firm, which bills itself as a “supplier of equipment and services to the global cement and minerals industries.” The Boise office designs the conveyors and works with the FLSmidth global sales force, said Hollingsworth.
The Toromocho copper mine in Peru is owned by the Chinese company, Chinalco. Hollingsworth noted that equipment for the Toromocho conveyor project was shipped from Germany and Italy.
“You just get used to the world being very small,” he said.
Other areas of the world, some of them remote, where he has worked include Western Turkey, Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Germany and Poland.
Hollingsworth said he’s been in six of the seven continents with Antarctica being the exception.
“The biggest thing about the job is I’ve gotten to see the world. To me it’s no big deal to say I’m flying to another country,” he said.
Although Hollingsworth enjoys the travel experience, he doesn’t like being away from his family.
He met Monica, his wife, at the church he assisted in starting — Treasure Valley Church of Christ. They have two daughters, Jaden, 7, and Avery, 5. While his parents, Ian and Judy Hollingsworth, still live in Ramona, the engineer’s in-laws live in Boise.
Life for the family could change soon. FLSmidth recently announced it is closing the Boise office as part of its efficiency program. Hollingsworth said he has been offered a substantial raise and a bonus to transfer to the Spokane, Wash., office but, as of his holiday visit to Ramona, he was undecided whether he wanted to leave Boise. About half the employees were offered transfers, he said, but most have strong roots in the community. The mining industry is in a depressed economy, he added.
Hollingsworth said he thoroughly enjoys the engineering field — the riddle-solving, experiencing other cultures, and teaching or training new engineers, designers and draftsmen.
“I really enjoy being able to teach and train and educate, and help people learn about why we do, what we do and how we do it,” he said.
Readers with the name of a Ramona graduate for “Where Are They Now?” may email email@example.com or call 760-789-1350.
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