February 22, 2021
Get to Know Clifton Lindsey and How Trane Technologies Engineers Make the Impossible Possible
In honor of Engineers Week, Trane Technologies celebrates the engineers who make the impossible possible.
Clifton Lindsey is New Product Development manager for air conditioner and heat pump engineering in Trane Technologies’ Residential HVAC business. He leads a team of seven engineers tasked with developing new outdoor products for the Trane, American Standard, RunTru and Ameristar brands.
He didn’t always know he wanted to be an engineer. Clifton was in his second year of college – planning to become a dentist and majoring in chemistry and minoring in biology – when he realized he was taking the last math course he would ever need.
“I was bummed because I really enjoyed the math,” Clifton said. “When I went home to study, I always did the calculus first. I realized chemistry and biology might not be right for me, because I wasn’t enjoying the science nearly as much as I enjoyed the math. I’d always heard that people who like math should consider engineering, so I started investigating a different career path.”
A life-changing decision
Clifton did his research and decided to change his major, which also meant transferring to a different college with an engineering program.
“It didn’t take me long to realize that my new major in mechanical engineering was the right choice for me,” he said. “The program was tough, but I found my classes much more interesting, and my grades reflected it.”
After graduation, Clifton landed a job in product engineering and held roles in process engineering and manufacturing engineering before joining Trane in 2008 as a component engineer. In 2016 he moved into his current role as new product development manager.
Clifton reflects on his engineering career path and how engineers make the impossible possible.
Q: How did you decide which type of engineering to get into?
A: I didn’t know any engineers at the time, and I didn’t know enough about the different engineering disciplines to make a good decision at the time. I chose mechanical engineering because my dad was a mechanic, and looking back, I think I chose well.
Q: What do you like most about working in engineering?
A: I enjoy the challenges that come up. Each day is different, and there are always challenges that need to be overcome. I love solving problems.
Q: What types of challenges do you tend to encounter in your current role and how do you solve them?
A: As a manager, my biggest challenges are around resources and availability. For an immediate need, I negotiate with other departments. But for long-term goals, it’s all about strategic planning – often looking three to five years ahead so we can have the resources in place to execute on new product development projects.
Q: What project at Trane Technologies has been especially enjoyable for you to work on?
A: In 2020, we launched our first value brands of outdoor products, RunTru by Trane and Ameristar by American Standard Heating & Air. It was challenging because we started completely from scratch, instead of making changes to an existing product line, which is more typical for my team. It was also challenging because Trane and American Standard aren’t seen as value products – they are our flagship, premium brands – so people’s perspectives and mindsets needed to change in order for us to be successful.
Another challenge was developing products that offer the same quality, reliability and performance of the Trane brand and finding ways to take costs out – we were walking a fine line between performance and cost, and we succeeded. This project was memorable because of all the new challenges it presented, and I’m proud to be part of the first value product line we’ve ever manufactured in-house.
Q: What sets Trane apart from other companies you’ve worked for?
A: So many people at Trane are subject matter experts – and they’re more than willing to share their expertise and help you along the way. It’s the culture here – people helping people. When I first joined Trane as a component engineer, I was able to lean on colleagues who had more experience designing components. It has made all the difference in my development and really helped me grow.
Q: How do engineers make the impossible possible?
A: Engineers take an idea or theory and find a way to apply it realistically – we turn ideas into reality. Or, conversely, we prove that it cannot be done. But generally, here’s how it works: A scientist does research and development in a laboratory and comes up with a new discovery. It’s up to a team of engineers to turn that discovery or idea into products that can be manufactured and sold.
Get to Know Clinton Lindsey, in his own words:
Grew up in: Wichita Falls, Texas
Calls home: Whitehouse, Texas
Tell us about your family: My wife, Cristy, and I both grew up in Wichita Falls. She is exactly one year and seven days younger than me, and our anniversary is six days after her birthday. This makes it really easy for me to remember the important dates! We have two daughters, Abby, 18, and Brealyn, 14. They are my pride and joy. They are both cheerleaders at Whitehouse High School.
Hobbies: Watching my girls cheer, fishing when I get the chance.
Favorite pet: My dog, Ellie Mae. She is a mixed breed and is 11 years old. We have had her since she was 5 weeks old, so she thinks she is one of the girls.
You would like to invent: A time machine so I can go back and fix mistakes. And, hey, the 80’s rocked!
Favorite place to be when you’re not at work: Any beach in the Caribbean
Super hero you would like to be: Iron Man – he is an engineer and a billionaire
Least favorite chore: dishes
Favorite band: Led Zeppelin
If you could High Five anyone, living or dead, who would it be? Sir Isaac Newton
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