Engineering Technology and Management student David Douglas demonstrates how professional development landed him his dream job
As an undergraduate student in Engineering Technology and Management, David Douglas has developed his skills in engineering, business and leadership which has allowed him to secure a job as a process lead at General Mills after graduation.
Originally from Athens, Ohio, Douglas grew up watching his family run a business, a trucking company. Observing the ins and outs of this business sparked Douglas’ interest in pursuing a career in business, but he quickly learned that he loved hands-on learning, which drew him to engineering. When he discovered the engineering technology and management (ETM) major, he found exactly what he was looking for. In fact, the ETM program has a business minor built into the curriculum, so students graduate with essential engineering and management skills.
“Getting to be able to understand the principles behind different manufacturing processes through a hands-on approach sounded amazing. ETM also incorporates a business minor into the curriculum, which was also super appealing to me, as I wanted to still have some background in business even though I wanted to be an engineer,” said Douglas.
Throughout his undergraduate career, Douglas kept his schedule full with class, work, internships and extracurriculars. He developed his professional skills firsthand by working three jobs — an inventory specialist for OHIO’s food truck, a junior quality engineer and a gas station employee. Additionally, Douglas earned his commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive for his family’s company, allowing him to grow personally and professionally. To further his skills in engineering, he interned as a production project coordinator with Great Lakes Cheese in Manchester, Tennessee.
“At Great Lakes Cheese, I developed 45 new downtime tracking sheets by analyzing old documents, collecting information from machine operators and asking maintenance for common issues to incorporate downtime tracking to identify problems more quickly. I also conducted film waste studies by finding trends in collected data, resulting in a possible solution that could save the company $7,000 per shift on the production line,” said Douglas.
Through his internship, Douglas was able to practice what he learned in the classroom in a real manufacturing environment. Improving processes and reducing waste were key principles taught in the ETM curriculum and lean and quality engineering was one of the areas of study that attracted him to ETM in the first place.
The skills he learned in his internship, the classroom and his PACE position as a junior quality engineer prepared Douglas to not only begin his job search but navigate how to weigh the benefits of multiple job offers.
“I have a job lined up after graduation with General Mills as a process lead. Some of my responsibilities include providing safety and servant-based leadership to achieve breakthrough production results on a specific production line,” said Douglas.
In his new job, Douglas is excited to learn about new processes and how food products are made. He noted that his journey would not have been the same without the support he received in the Russ College. Specifically, ETM professors Zaki Kuruppalil and Mustafa Shraim helped Douglas professionally, academically and personally, including helping to negotiate possible contracts with companies and helping to understand and analyze data.
“If a prospective student is considering Engineering Technology and Management, I recommend it as I think the faculty do a great job preparing their students for a professional career,” said Douglas.