The wise old sage who wrote Ecclesiasties tells us to cast our bread on the water, and if we're patient, our investment will pay off. It's National Engineers Week, and in honor of the event, Phoenix Contact is doing some ground-level recruiting of the youngest engineers that won't pay off for a few years, but will some time down the road. According to the company's news release, sixth-grade students from Middletown Area Middle School (Middletown, Pa.) will visit Phoenix Contact, the provider of industrial electrical equipment. As part of the company’s National Engineers Week activities, Phoenix Contact engineers will lead the students in a series of hands-on experiments that reinforce the science and math learned in the classroom. Programs will run between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19 through Friday, Feb. 22. Scott Faulkner, mechanical engineering supervisor, will talk with the students about how his interest in science led to an engineering career. The students will then rotate through a series of engineering experiments. In the experiments, the students will learn: • How a wing lifts an airplane • How a light wind can collapse an auto bridge • How to build an electric motor • How to control the speed of a spinning object simply by shifting its weight • How to use gravity to prevent objects from falling to the ground “Phoenix Contact’s 85 years of success are built upon the innovative designs of our engineering staff,” said Jack Nehlig, president of Phoenix Contact USA. “Today fewer young people are entering engineering and other science-related fields, but science and math are crucial to the success of our society and economy. Our employees want to share their love of science and math with these students by taking their lessons beyond the classroom. These experiments show that math and science have fun and practical applications in our everyday world.” National Engineers Week (February 17 through 23) was established in 1951 to promote engineering and technology careers to young students and to honor engineers’ contributions to society. Other Engineers Week activities at Phoenix Contact include an educational lunch-and-learn for non-engineer employees and dinners in Middletown and Ann Arbor, Mi., to honor the 58 practicing engineers who work for the company. Good on the folks at Phoenix. It's always easy for a company to say it's too busy or it's too expensive to be involved in these kinds of events. And yes, they do take time away from our "real work." But only through sewing seeds such as these will we get the next generation of engineers we're going to need badly. PS: It's probably too late to pull together something for your company this year, but you can direct your youngest friends to the link above. Lots of cool games and interesting things for kids on that site. Every little bit helps.