Soul of the Machine – Jon Godbolt, SAFE Boats International

If you ask someone on the street what they think of their car, or computer, or shoes, or any other product that is essential to their everyday life, they’ll probably say something to the effect of, “Apple makes a great phone.” I don’t say that to stir up debate, but rather to emphasize the fact that, in general, people associate great products to the companies that make them. But it’s the effort and ingenuity of engineers, living in relative obscurity, that bring these products to life.

For most engineers, that’s the way they prefer it. Engineers are humble, team players that don’t do what they do for notoriety, but rather for the satisfaction of solving big problems, making a difference for their customers, and creating something great. So while we are bombarded with news about athletes and celebrities, the stories of people who, day in and day out, work to make the world a better place remain untold.

Our goal with this Soul of the Machine video series is to tell some of those amazing stories.

The first episode features Jon Godbolt, a Lead Designer at SAFE Boats International. SAFE Boats is an incredibly interesting company, making boats that are used by domestic and foreign militaries, federal, state, and local law enforcement, and fire and rescue agencies, operating under the motto of, “God, country, and fast boats.”

Jon has taken what most would call a “non-traditional” career path.  He started sweeping floors and has worked his way up through the ranks. He became a welder and was promoted to welding supervisor, where he taught himself to use the software the company used to design their boats. After spotting and fixing a design flaw on the shop floor, he was pulled up into the engineering office by the manager there to take on a new role as a designer. Now, he heads up some of the company’s most ambitious design projects with a unique perspective gained from his journey.

Watch all of Jon’s story—Episode 1 of Soul of the Machine—below:


Brian Sather is a product marketing manager at Autodesk. An engineer by trade, he likes taking things apart and putting them back together. Half the things in his home work twice as well as they should, and the other half don’t work at all.

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