Dan Burch thought he would become an engineer. He grew up on an Army base in Germany, where his father was stationed. On his first day at the elementary school there, which offered some Montessori-style education options, teachers saw him playing with Legos and put him in a track that added basic technical skills to the core curriculum. That path for Burch ran in a straight line all the way to his senior year in high school. Then, in 2001, while watching TV with a family friend, he saw a report about the large number of engineers getting laid off.