Name: Tim McLain
BYU employee since: 2005
My job at BYU is… professor of mechanical engineering. I teach courses in modeling how mechanical systems move and how to control their behavior. I work with students on researching how to increase the capabilities of unmanned aircraft.
Currently, I’m working on… a Devotional address scheduled for the 28th of June (which I am a little nervous about). Besides that, I have a couple of proposals that I am working on that are due soon. Once these things are out of the way, I look forward to focusing on preparations and improvements for my courses coming up.
My go-to comfort food is… this is a toss-up. On the savory side, it would be BBQ—the kind that is smoked low and slow. Favorites are smoked pork spare ribs and smoked beef brisket. This taste for BBQ comes from having grown up in Texas and Oklahoma where BBQ is taken very seriously. On the sweet side, it would be dark chocolate—the darker the better generally.
I get most excited about my work when… I have a breakthrough on how to better explain a difficult concept or when I learn something new that was particularly challenging for me to pick up. It’s also exciting when we, as a group, come up with new ways to do things or have a successful flight test.
I’m most looking forward to… future marriages of all of my children and more grandchildren. We have one granddaughter now and more would be great!
My favorite TV show growing up was… Emergency! It was a show all about firefighters and paramedics in the Los Angeles area—lots of action and lives being saved.
My dream car is… a self-piloted, personal aircraft. Imagine something like the aircraft George Jetson flies around. If all goes well, these will exist in my lifetime.
My favorite hobby (currently) is… cooking. In times past I have enjoyed and spent a fair amount of time fly fishing and riding bikes. Since we have to eat, we might as well savor it. Trying new recipes is fun. I enjoy smoking meat and making chocolaty stuff.
My most cherished memory at BYU… I can’t come up with a single most cherished memory. The memories I cherish most are those associated with the relationships I’ve developed here as a student and as a professor. The people that I work with currently are wonderful. I feel like BYU is such a great place to be because of the people that work here and the students that attend here. When the day comes that I am not on campus regularly, it will be the people that I miss the most.
You’ll never find me without… my shoes on. OK almost never. This is just how I do things. I don’t leave my room in the morning without getting fully dressed—including shoes. I think this is pretty normal. My wife, Amber, on the other hand, thinks it is pretty strange. She’s often barefoot. When headed into rugged terrain, she might pull out some flip-flops. She often asks me, “Why do you have your shoes on?"
My advice to graduating seniors is… you should really consider graduate school. We’ve just barely scratched the surface of all the awesome stuff there is to learn!