Nate Saint


'78, Mechanical Technology

2018 LETU Academy of Engineering Inductee 

 

Nate Saint found out about LeTourneau College at his church in Pennsylvania, where his strong Christian family had friends whose son attended. When Saint began looking as a high school senior for a Christian engineering college that had a soccer team, he found LeTourneau fit those requirements.

“LeTourneau was a really a good experience for me,” he said. “It was where my faith became mine.

“When I got to LeTourneau, the first thing that struck me was that you have all these students from all these different states, different countries, and a lot of different church traditions and denominations,” he said. “I realized here are all these students who loved the Lord like I do, and they are from different backgrounds. That was one of three things that helped my faith.

The second was the faculty.

“The teachers that I had, they really brought Christianity into the classroom and into life experience,” he said. “Most of them have actual experience in their field before they came to LeTourneau. They were telling stories about what happened in business or on the mission field, or wherever, and they were relating that to their devotions and to class itself. That was kind of the second leg of a three-legged stool.

“The third was the other students— friends—that I made here.

“Hebrews talks about spurring each other on to love and good works, and that’s really what happened,” he said. “Friends I made here pulled me along and challenged me to think about my faith and what Christ did for us on the cross.

“I have to say that those four years at LeTourneau were some of the most formative and most growing I did spiritually in a relatively short period of time.”

When Saint graduated with his mechanical technology degree in 1978, he began his career as a design engineer at Cessna Aircraft Company. After three years, inflation skyrocketed, interest rates went through the roof, and people stopped buying airplanes.

Saint returned to his home state of Pennsylvania and approached the baby products company Graco, where his father had worked for many years—inventing the Swyngomatic baby swing— and where Nate had worked as a janitor when he was a kid and built prototypes during summer breaks in college. They hired Nate to work in their product development department.

“I knew that industry from the standpoint of a laborer, but I didn’t think I would end up long-term in that field,” he said.

But God had other plans. By 2001, Nate Saint—inventor of the ‘Pack ‘n Play’—was vice president of product development.

When the company changed ownership, he started a new company as president and CEO of Iron Mountain LLC, specializing in design, engineering and market analysis of children’s products. He said one of Graco’s most popular products is the 4Ever™ 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat—developed for them by Iron Mountain.

Saint appreciates LeTourneau’s heritage of building and hands-on education.

“I like that aspect of LeTourneau,” he said. “In our industry, we only hire engineers with good hands-on tool skills and experience...We want engineers who can come up with an idea and go into a shop and put enough of a model together to show marketing that this idea will work. That’s important to us.”

Saint also said his professors taught him good work habits.

“One of the professors really drove home that when you go into a lab, or into a workplace, or into a shop, that you leave it in better condition than you found it,” he said. “You pick up after yourself. You sweep up after yourself. You clean up. That seems like a little, small thing, but that’s actually really important. I think that mindset then spills out into other areas of your life.”


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