Steve Sorenson is the vice president of membership at INCE-USA. We spoke with Steve recently to get to know him better and allow him to share his experiences with other INCE members. Here is what Steve had to say.
How was NOISE-CON this year? Anything make an impression on you?
We didn’t really know how well NOISE-CON 2020 would work after making a transition from an in-person conference last year to a fully online conference this year. I was really pleased with how it all happened as scheduled, and I think we learned how to apply the lessons from this experience to future events, whether live, virtual, or hybrid. One thing we are still working on is how we can duplicate an online event to create informal interactions with old friends and to create opportunities to get acquainted with new people at the conference. I always enjoy the board meeting weekend prior to the conference, as it is a good time to reconnect with colleagues who serve as directors or officers, and I look forward to those live meetings again sometime in the future.
What do you do for work? Do you enjoy your job?
I work in engineering at Toyota Motor North America R&D, Ann Arbor, Michigan, in vehicle development for noise and vibration performance. Some of the most interesting work I do is in studying new ways to interpret meaningful data we already have about the customer experience from both public and internal sources. On the technical side, I work with research partners to try to develop new ways to control noise and vibration. I am involved in the regulatory part of it as well, which is a little different in that if you don’t meet the regulation requirement, you don’t sell your product. This job also enables me to participate in professional organizations such as INCE-USA and SAE, where I can interact with a lot of people in my field whom I would ordinarily not run into regularly.
When you are not working what do you do for fun?
I enjoy music, specifically playing the piano and guitar. A really fascinating challenge is to sit with other musicians and try to pick up a new tune on the fly by listening to the rhythmic patterns, chord changes and voicings, and the overall interplay of the different instruments and then contribute a little something to the overall mix. It’s a combination of the objective (keeping the right time, managing the frequency spectrum, staying in tune) and subjective (what are the “right” harmonies/dissonances, balancing rhythmic and melodic inputs, when to keep quiet) aspects. I find that a bit of musical knowledge can sometimes help me in acoustics and noise control work and vice versa.
What value do you find in your INCE membership?
My INCE membership is the best way I have found to interact with people from all areas of noise control engineering—consulting, academia, government, and industry. On-the-job contacts are usually somewhat limited by necessity. Through INCE-USA I have been able to get a good sense of how practical noise control work is done in different settings and how to learn from what others are doing. Also, being part of putting a conference together is very interesting and rewarding.