What’s On My Desk? Jesse Alley Shares

Jesse DeskJesse Alley is the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) Lead Engineer and Vehicle Systems Engineer at Argonne National Laboratory. Originally from Kingsport, TN and he has a Bachelor and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech, graduating in 2010 and 2012 respectively. While at Virginia Tech, he participated in EcoCAR: the NeXt Challenge and was the team leader for the first year of EcoCAR 2. Day-to-day, Jesse manages the structural waiver process, the energy storage system design process, and the safety and technical inspection process. In this second edition of our blog series, “What’s On My Desk,” Jesse shares unique objects in his office and the story behind them.


1. The J. Fred Johnson Stadium brick is from the press box of my high school football stadium at Dobyns-Bennett High School where I spent 4 years playing football. My senior year I was voted MVP and ranked all-state. That year I led the team in tackles and had 8 Hammer Awards. The Hammer Award was given to the person from each game who had the hardest hit. This memento brings back fond memories from high school. The J. Fred Johnson brick is a landmark of Kingsport and relic of home.



2. This is a photo of my grandfather and me. All 8 grandchildren have the same photo on pop’s shoulders. I am very blessed to grow up with a loving family in the same community. This photo is a reminder of home and represents my childhood, family, and love. Family has always been very important to me.




3. John’s Island, Angel Oak: This is a famous tree located in John’s Island, South Carolina – one of the Sea Islands outside of Charleston. I’ve been down to this area more than a dozen times since high school on missions trips with a few different churches and faith organizations. Each trip lasted about a week and was focused on home repair. I love the low country and the people of the Sea Islands. This was the first place I discovered a love for mission work and service.




4. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere – about 60% of the country’s population lives in poverty, consuming less than $2 per day. And that was before the devastating in earthquake in January of 2010. In May of 2011, I was part of a Virginia Baptist Mission Board student group that spent a week in the still-devastated city of Port-au-Prince building a home and working on the construction of a new orphanage. I witnessed heart-wrenching abject poverty but also joy and hope in the Haitian believers we worked with. This juxtaposition was such a powerful testament to the saving power of Christ.


5. My philosophy is that you should always base your work on sound fundamentals. Hence, the textbooks used for monitor stands. The Mac keyboard is a carryover from my days in Grad school. Virginia Tech has a CAD lab in the ME building that is equipped with Apple computers (and keyboards). Each computer had two huge monitors and any piece of software I’d ever need, so I spent an enormous amount of time in that lab doing school work. In the process, I developed a fondness for the keyboards – the key was the low travel of the keys, which made typing easier and faster. One of the first things that I bought for my office at Argonne was this keyboard. The keyboard worked well for me and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Fun facts about the keyboard: the ALT and Windows buttons are switched, the print screen button is labeled as “fn” and the “clear” button on the keypad is actually Numlock.




6. I have quite a few toys, gadgets, puzzles and trinkets. Deep down, I’m really just a big goofy kid who likes toys. The things on my shelf are little knickknacks and puzzles that I’ve accumulated over the years. Most of them were stocking stuffers from my mom, I think. I keep them around to remind myself not to take things too seriously.