Return to Headlines

Innovation Excellence: Adam Zaouague's impactful journey at Reata

A 2021 Overland High School and Cherry Creek Innovation Campus (CCIC) alum is gaining significant recognition for innovation at Reata Engineering & Machine Works.  Adam Zaouague set out to improve whatever he was tasked to do. While in the Aerospace Manufacturing Pathway at CCIC, Zaouague met Grady Cope, Reata President and CEO, and was offered a scholarship and summer internship.

“Adam has a good mechanical aptitude and a strong computer science background and nowadays those things really fit well together,” Cope said. “He is pretty special; he’s done some amazing stuff.”

Reata is an expert in contract manufacturers and assembly services for businesses specializing in complex medical products, semiconductor capital equipment, aerospace, defense, and industrial products. The partnership with Reata began when CCIC was being built and the company provided insight into creating a machine shop in the school.

Student working at ReataAt the end of Zaouague’s summer internship, he created a presentation on how the company could use robots to make their production run more efficiently. He did the presentation on his own, without being asked. Zaouague was shocked when he learned he had approval to get a robotic arm, which he believed could make change happen for the company.

“The robot makes it so the machine can run all through the night,” Zaouague said. “The great thing about any robotic arm, is that it is really repeatable. We are now looking to add another one.”

The robotic arm puts in the raw material and takes out the finished product, all in one motion. Reata wanted to automate that so a person wouldn’t have to do that simple task. The robot paid for itself in just three months.

“It cemented that we had moved from Reata version 1 to Reata version 2 in terms of automation,” Cope added. “This was the first time we had introduced automation to another machine to make things more functional, so it moved us to the next level.”

Zaouague managed the process of getting the machine and the robotic arm in place. He also had to fix the machine to make sure the robot and machine worked seamlessly together. He credits the knowledge he gained at CCIC for his success at Reata.

“If I came to Reata without the experience of CCIC I would be starting from ground zero,” he added. “I come here excited to work every day. We are doing a lot of stuff with AI and data now, there aren’t a lot of manufacturing companies that are working on that.”

He trains other employees about how the robot works. Zaouague was even featured in the Modern Machine Shop Magazine because of his work at Reata.

Student with robotic arm“At 18 he was pretty amazing and at 19 he might not be on the leadership team yet, but he’s probably the advisor for a lot of technical things for the leadership team,” Cope explained.

Cope appreciates the partnership with CCIC and introducing young people to the industry of manufacturing since they’ve lived their whole lives with technology.

“CCIC students many times know the software tools better than we do and show us the latest tricks,” Cope said.

Zaouague attends Metro State University and plans to earn a degree in Advanced Manufacturing with a concentration in Aerospace. He is eager to continue to work at Reata to find solutions to problems.

Posted on 2/8/2024.