Gen Z in Manufacturing: A College Student's Perspective of Industry Work

Nolan Westrope's manufacturing interest started while fixing cars with his dad.

Editor's Note: Download the audio version below.

Welcome to another episode of Gen Z in Manufacturing, a podcast where I interview young people about their journeys in manufacturing, how they intend to influence the industry and what they are looking for from an employer.

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For this episode, I welcome Nolan Westrope, a 21-year-old mechanical engineering student at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Westrope was introduced to the manufacturing process when he was a child helping his father work on a 1971 Chevelle Super Sport. By the time he was 15, Westrope was tearing apart two broken down Chevy’s in an attempt to assemble his own truck, which he completed at 17.

Prior to college, Westrope’s education included architecture and TIG welding courses at his high school’s Career Center. In addition to pursuing a master’s degree, Westrope is also the Manufacturing Lead for UT Dallas’ Formula SAE team, Dallas Formula Racing.

In this episode, Westrope discusses:

  • What high schools and colleges are doing right and wrong when it comes to promoting manufacturing (2:34) 
  • Putting a cap on working hours versus allowing overtime (6:17)
  • Which education and training proves most beneficial, and the value of student orgs on campus (7:37) 
  • What characteristics employers should expect from college graduates (10:14)
  • Skills Gen Z can offer that employers assume can only be found in senior workers (12:55)
  • How manufacturers can fill factory floor jobs (14:54)

Before we hear from Westrope, please make sure to like and share this episode of Gen Z in Manufacturing. To view previous episodes, visit If you are a member of Gen Z and would like to discuss your experience in the manufacturing industry, please get in touch with me, Nolan Beilstein, at [email protected].

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