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ME Careers

Mechanical Engineering is one of the oldest and broadest engineering disciplines.  Traditionally, a Mechanical Engineer would be the expert in the production and usage of heat and mechanical power which are critical in the design, production and operation of machinery.  Today, Mechanical Engineers have taken on an expansive and critical role across all fields — from automobiles to energy to medical devices — and in the advancement of new technologies, such nano-technologies and MEMS (MicroElectroMechanicalSystems).  As an undergraduate student, you have the option to explore career opportunities before graduation through internships and co-ops.

Career Resources

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The UMBC Career Center is a great first stop as you begin your search.  They can you help you identify potential career paths or opportunities as a Mechanical Engineer.

 

tc-logoUMBC Training Centers offer courses to help prepare you for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and the PE Exam.  The FE exam is now computer based and can be taken at any time at designated testing centers.  The courses offered for engineering students can be found here.

 

ASMEFutureME logoThe ASMEFutureME website provides a Career Development Video Series that covers technical and career development topics which will give early career engineers the opportunity to learn from featured experts and professionals while exploring relevant technical concepts, industry trends and workplace development issues.

 

Career Cornerstone Center

The Career Cornerstone Center provides career planning resources in a variety of career areas, including Mechanical Engineering.

NCEES logoThe Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination is typically the first step toward licensing as a Professional Engineer.  To learn more about the FE exam, you should consult the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) website.  Many students will take the exam immediately after completing their BS degree program.

UMBC Alumni

UMBC alumniTo give a better picture of the types of careers available to you as a Mechanical Engineer, presented below are brief interviews with UMBC ME graduates.

 

 

Shelbi Tippett

2018- BS Mechanical Engineering

Q. What is your current position?

A. I am an Operations SLP (Stanley Leadership Program) for Stanley Black & Decker. My first rotation is at the Greenfield, IN corded power tools manufacturing plant. Over the next couple of years, I will rotate to possibly another plant, a distribution center, and/or a corporate office. I chose this program because it’s a unique opportunity to see all sides of the business. It promises diverse and exciting experiences every step of the way!   http://www.stanleyblackanddecker.com/careers/leadership-program-slp

Q. Describe your overall job duties and responsibilities

A. I work directly with the Resident Engineer at the plant to ensure that product quality is maintained. Currently, I am helping to reduce warranty return costs and implement automation on the production lines. As an SLP, I am also responsible for finding new ways to “lean” out production whenever possible.

Q. What is a typical day like for you?

A. Everyone at SBD would agree that every day is different. Usually, I will complete returned product tear downs and determine the root cause of any issues discovered. Then I implement a change in either the assembly process, tool design, or product component quality to prevent the issues from recurring. The occasional redesign requires me to build prototypes and develop test plans. I also assist the quality team with resolving any problems that happen during production.

Q. What technical skills are important to being successful in your position?

A. Hands-on mechanical experience is essential because I regularly complete tool tear downs. The second most important skill is understanding how to read drawings and communicate with other team members about specific product features and dimensions. I also need to understand statistics because I analyze product test data.

Q. How did your UMBC education prepare you for this position?  

A. I had a unique opportunity because my professor of a graduate level course eventually became my boss. I received the benefit of being directly prepared for the manufacturing operations position I would eventually accept.

Generally, my undergraduate professors not only prepared me with the knowledge but also the confidence necessary to be successful in engineering. Most notably, I utilize the GD&T and documenting skills that courses like capstone taught me. I also find myself continuously using the fundamentals of classes such as materials, circuits, and machine design to determine causes of failures.

Q. What advice would you give to students thinking about studying Mechanical Engineering?

A. No matter what you do in life, DON’T BE AFRAID. Gain some hands-on experience. Fix the leaky bathroom sink, change the oil in your car, build some Ikea furniture. It may take the internet and a couple of tries but DON’T BE DISCOURAGED! Trying is the only way that you become comfortable investigating how things work and eventually figuring out how to fix or redesign them. Once you establish this skill set and associated CONFIDENCE, the rest of it – completing the coursework, finding an internship, choosing a career path, etc…- it will all just fall into place.

Clare Dowley

2016 – BS Mechanical Engineering

Q.  What is your current position?

A.  I am currently a Vehicle Engineer with Jacobs Engineering, previously CH2M. I have been in this position since August 2016 but this coming July I will be starting as a Mechanical Engineer with Phoenix International Holdings.

https://www.ch2m.com/

http://www.phnx-international.com/phnx/

Q.  Describe your overall job duties and responsibilities

A.  In my current role with Jacobs, I work on numerous contracts and projects related to railcar maintenance of the Metro Subway trains. I also work on commissioning of the new light rail vehicles. The new position with Phoenix will involve design of submarine rescue systems for the US Navy and other foreign countries.

Q.  What is a typical day like for you?

A.  A typical day at Jacobs involves checking work orders for trains taken out of service, checking in with the MTA (our client), contacting vendors and other contractors for various projects, spending time on the maintenance shop floor to help troubleshoot problems and find parts in the storeroom, and run various tests and write reports. I do not yet know what a typical day will look like at Phoenix.

Q.  What technical skills are important to being successful in your position?

A. In my current position I rely more on technical writing and project management skills. The new position is going to require more design and analytical skills and calculations related to engineering. Both positions require an attention to detail and the ability to learn quickly and work efficiently.

Q.  How did your UMBC education prepare you for this position?  

A.  My UMBC education prepared me for both positions by teaching me how to problem solve and work as a part of a team. My education also gave me the knowledge I needed to take and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and earn my Engineer in Training certificate to put me on the path to my Professional Engineering license.

Q.  What advice would you give to students thinking about studying Mechanical Engineering?

A. Go for it! Mechanical Engineering is so broad and practical, you can do anything with it. I had internships in construction and HVAC and have worked full time in the transportation industry and will soon be working in underwater engineering. If you like math and have a desire to create and figure out how things work, Mechanical Engineering is for you! Study hard, ask a lot of questions, and do not be afraid to get to know your professors! UMBC’s Mechanical Engineering department is full of people willing to help you in any way they can in order to see you succeed!

Zozscha Bomhardt

1993 – BS Mechanical Engineering

Q.  What is your current position?

A. I’m a Service Program Manager for GE Healthcare. www.gehealthcare.com

Q.  Describe your overall job duties and responsibilities.

A. I manage service for the healthcare imaging equipment (MR, CT, Nuclear Medicine, X-Ray, Mammography, and Ultrasound) at two accounts with locations in the Annapolis area and throughout Delaware.

Q.  What is a typical day like for you?

A. In this role, I’m in front of the customer almost every day.  I travel to hospitals or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers, meet with the customers, interface with clinicians and field engineers, and ensure we’re meeting our contractual obligations.

Q.  What technical skills are important to being successful in your position?

A.  This role requires a general knowledge of magnetic fields, radio waves, x-ray radiation, vacuum tubes, and high frequency sound waves to understand the basic principles behind the medical equipment.

Q. How did your UMBC education prepare you for this position?  

A.  Of course, my UMBC education gave me a broad technical foundation.  But, perhaps even more valuable, the Mechanical Engineering undergraduate program also developed my mind to solve seemingly overwhelming problems by breaking them down into manageable parts.

Q.  What advice would you give to students thinking about studying Mechanical Engineering?

A.  There are so many career options open to Mechanical Engineers.  It feels like no two career paths are the same.  My path has taken me to three different industries…defense, aviation, and healthcare.  There’s literally something for everyone. And you can choose a path that is more technical and less managerial or vice versa, whatever fits your style, personality, preferences, and goals.  One final thought, since Mechanical Engineering is quite broad, there may be a course or two in the curriculum that you won’t entirely enjoy – don’t let one or two courses cast a shadow on the whole program or cause you to change direction.  Remember, once you graduate, you can choose a field and role that is aligned with your strengths.

John Reed

1995 – BS Mechanical Engineering

Q.  What is your current position?

A.  I’m the Manager for North America Body on Frame Upperbody Structures, Static Sealing, and Water Management at Ford Motor Company. www.ford.com

Q.  Describe your overall job duties and responsibilities

A.  My team designs and seals the upper structure sheetmetal for many of the cars and trucks we produce in North America. My role is to ensure that the team has the resources, expertise, and staffing to design parts that get the job done with world-class efficiency.

Q.  What is a typical day like for you?

A.  Every day is different! With all the unique cars, trucks, and CUV/SUV’s we are designing or have in current production, there’s a unique set of challenges almost every day. Some days I may be helping to lay out the body structure design on a new program, other days making decisions based on test results from a proposed engineering change, or sometimes traveling to a plant to review recent vehicle builds and helping resolve issues. What the days have in common is a regular cadence of communication between me, my team, my management, and the other teams I work with.

Q.  What technical skills are important to being successful in your position?

A. A solid approach to problem solving is one of the keys to success in automotive engineering. The ability to understand the true root cause of an issue and analyze multiple solutions leading to the most robust action is a critical skill. Technical communication is equally important – writing or speaking in concise, to-the-point communications with the desired outcome made clear at the start.

Q.  How did your UMBC education prepare you for this position?  

A.  Most importantly, engineering school at UMBC helped me develop a problem-solving mindset that I still use every day. Also, my time at UMBC helped me understand how to juggle a busy schedule while achieving results. Looking back, I see many parallels between school and work: The workload of having to plan for class project due dates, study for tests, and work after school isn’t all that much different from planning for engineering milestone completions in industry. Learning to prioritize is key!

Q.  What advice would you give to students thinking about studying Mechanical Engineering?

A.  Tough it out through the first- and second-year courses that everybody has to take. Once you get all the basic Math, Chemistry, and Physics done, you can focus on the Junior- and Senior- level courses and find out which engineering disciplines you may want to focus on. As a senior you’ll have even more options to explore, for example I was able to take a course in Internal Combustion Engines which made sense for somebody interested in working in automotive. Also, fill the requirements outside your major with courses that you’re truly interested in – it’s easier to commit time to studying something that you really want to learn about!

Mariano Mumpower

2011 – BS Mechanical Engineering

Q.  What is your current position?

MarianoMumpower

A.  I am a Mechanical Engineer with Key Technologies in Baltimore, MD.  Key Tech is a product development firm specializing in the design of complex electromechanical devices.  Our work can range from basic research and brainstorming on concepts to meet a design need, to user testing and iteration in an established design, to full scale development where we transform ideas into real products.  The products we design are mostly medical devices and scientific instruments, as well as some industrial and consumer products.

Q.  Describe your overall job duties and responsibilities.

A.  As a mechanical engineer at Key Tech, my responsibilities include mechanical design, as well as testing and data analysis.  Because Key Tech is a multi-disciplined and team based engineering company, my responsibilities can also include collaboration with electrical engineerings, computer engineers, and industrial designers.

Q.  What is a typical day like for you?

A.  Depending on the projects I am working on, a typical day could include everything from modeling parts and assemblies in SolidWorks, to running tests and collecting data on a prototype device, presenting design or test information to a client, creating quick breadboard mockups of an electromechanical system, or participating in brainstorming sessions to solve a particular design problem.

Q.  What technical skills are important to being successful in your position?

A.  First and foremost is problem solving abilities and attention to technical details.  This problem solving skill is not confined to just mechanical systems, but more generally “out of the box” thinking where you can look at a problem from different angles and be open to different solutions, and then be able to evaluate those solutions based on application of engineering principles.  To be able to do that successfully involves having a strong background in all of the subjects that make up mechanical engineering.

Q.  How did your UMBC education prepare you for this position?

A.  My education at UMBC provided a strong foundation in the mathematics, physics, and mechanical engineering principles needed for my work at Key Tech.  Through coursework, design projects, and internships, I learned the basics of the engineering process, and the theory needed to solve mechanical design problems, as well as the communication and teamwork skills needed to be an effective part of a design team.

Q.  What advice would you give to students thinking about studying Mechanical Engineering?

A.  Your coursework will be tough, you will end up living in the library or study hall at some point, and your friends with other majors will think you’re becoming a hermit, but you will be learning a discipline which can unlock a lot of personal satisfaction and great career potential so it’s all worth it.  While you study and complete your assignments, learn to love the problem solving process as opposed to just finding the right answer.  The skills that you will pick up when you challenge yourself to understand the topics, wok through the problems in a logical way, and communicate your solutions to others will really be the skills that make yo a good engineer.  Lastly, expose yourself as much as possible to other disciplines within engineering so you can understand and communicate effectively on design teams wit other engineers.

Lauren T. Buckler, P.E., CEM, LEED AP

2006 – BS Mechanical Engineering

Q.  What is your current position?

LaurenBuckler headshot BWA.  I am the Director of the Office of Energy Performance & Conservation for the State of Maryland Department of General Services (DGS).

Q.  Describe your overall job duties and responsibilities.

A.  The Office of Energy is responsible for the energy reduction, energy tracking, renewable energy portfolio and energy purchases for state government.  As the Director, I am responsible for all of these technical activities, along with the administrative duties for the office including staff and budget management.

Q.  What is a typical day like for you?

A.  Every day is different, which keeps my job challenging and interesting.  A day could include meeting with a State Agency, reviewing their energy performance to-date, and discussing opportunities to achieve additional energy reductions or renewable energy options.  Another day could include reviewing proposed energy legislation to determine the impact to the Office of Energy.

Q.  What technical skills are important to being successful in your position?

A.  Analyzing data, applying energy savings technologies and methods, and understanding how energy utilizing systems function; also communication (explaining technical information to a wide audience)

Q.  How did your UMBC education prepare you for this position?

A.  I took an HVAC Design elective my senior year at UMBC, before that elective I planned to stay in the construction management field.  That elective eventually lead me into the design field which lead into the energy field.

Q.  What advice would you give to students thinking about studying Mechanical Engineering?

A.  The time I spend in undergraduate wasn’t easy; the work load was frustrating compared to my non-engineering roommates and friends.  But, I had a job before I graduated and it was a job I liked.  A degree in Engineering opens a variety of career options; there are opportunities to find a career you enjoy.