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Patrick Thonies: from bricklayer to technical writer at Etteplan

Patrick has been working as a technical writer at Etteplan since May 2021. What makes his work unique is his unusual background as a mason. Although he started out building walls, he has now found his calling in writing technical documentation.

"I have always been creative and initially had the ambition to become an architect," Patrick says. "But when I realized that this wasn't the right path for me, I decided to use my talents in a different way. I started carpentry, but due to being left-handed, I quickly suffered injuries during the lessons. That's why it was suggested that I should try masonry, purely for safety reasons."

While Patrick enjoyed the craftsmanship of masonry, his career came to an end when he worked on a new construction project where he had to perform repetitive tasks. He sought a new career direction because it didn't suit him.

His opportunity came years later when he became involved in a project where he started working with Visual Factory, eventually becoming a technical writer. "I was given leadership of the project because of my strong English language skills, good social skills, creativity, and understanding of technical concepts," explains Patrick. This experience marked the beginning of his career as a technical writer.

After six years with his previous employer, Patrick decided to take on a new challenge. He struggled with applying for technical writing positions because he had never needed to write a resume in construction and found it difficult to present his experience effectively. Ultimately, he was hired at Etteplan.

Currently, Patrick is working on-site with a client where he is once again using Visual Factory. He is in the clean room observing how the machines work for which he writes assembly instructions. Additionally, he actively participates in various projects including developing descriptions for assembling new machines and identifying and resolving issues related to material lists and assembly diagrams.

Screenshot of a page in Visual Factory

Structure of a machine in the clean room

Patrick working in the clean room

What truly excites Patrick about his job is being constantly surrounded by technology and innovation. "I find engineering incredibly fascinating," he says with sparkling eyes. "Our clients are at the forefront of technology and the latest innovations, and I find that beautiful."

One aspect that particularly excites Patrick is the use of Visual Factory as a powerful medium. He believes that this intuitive and user-friendly tool has a great future ahead. It allows people to perform complex assembly tasks even without technical knowledge or experience. Patrick vividly remembers a time when he pulled the CEO of his previous employer out of his office and asked him to assemble something. Despite lacking technical skills, he managed to create a part of the machines without further instructions. This incident reinforced Patrick's conviction that Visual Factory is a revolutionary tool.

As a technical writer, Patrick values not only language skills but also understanding the technology applied in products. "Our clients are technical companies, including machine builders," he says. "That's why it's essential for us to communicate not only textually but also comprehend how the technology we document works."

Patrick invites anyone interested in technology and looking for a challenging career to come and get acquainted with Etteplan. "This field offers the opportunity to be involved in the latest developments and technological innovations without having to be an engineer yourself. At Etteplan, you can fully express your passion for technology!"