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Mechanical Engineering Overview - PowerPoint - Podcast

Matthew McGoff

Technology Leader
Procter & Gamble
Cincinnati, OH



 
BS, Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
Technology Leader, designing the equipment and processes required for manufacturing new dry laundry products or innovating existing production lines.
Matt urges engineering students to network as much as possible, starting through their ASME student chapter. Co-op experiences with a beverage company and small manufacturing firms enabled Matt to adapt more quickly to his initial responsibilities as a project engineer at P&G.
"Schoolwork is a foundation and a fundamental you have to have. But if you don't physically get the hands-on, and understand how components go together and understand how processes go together, I think it's all for naught. You've got to have both parts of the equation."


McGoff: "While I was going to Georgia Tech, I did co-op with several companies. I cooped with Coca-Cola for a couple of quarters. And I cooped at a few small manufacturing shops, where I got some real hands-on experience. It helped me understand what I could expect in the real world. It also supplemented a lot of the course work that learned from Georgia Tech. In getting my hands on and actually experiencing real equipment and real processes, it was real valuable."

McGoff: "One of the best stories I ever heard was: one of my peers was talking about his interview process, and asked the question, "How much will I be traveling." And the manager replied, "Well, gee, only about twenty percent of the time." A year later, this individual had been on the road ninety-eight percent of the time. He went back to that manager that recruited him and said, "You said twenty percent." And the manager responded, "Well, how long were you in the air?""

McGoff: "Network as much as you can. I had a unique opportunity, at Georgia Tech, to be president of the ASME chapter. And I got to know a lot of folks. Not only on campus, but at different campuses, as well as at the ASME headquarters. So, develop a good, strong network, and interface as much as you can."

McGoff: "I think what Georgia Tech gave me that I probably couldn't have gotten anywhere else was just a basic understanding of engineering philosophies and process thoughts. And it's hard to believe, but the basics that you learn in physics, in your first thermos and fluids, are really what you use, predominantly, in industry. Understanding just simple things, like mass balance. Energy balances. Those are the basics that I think I learned at school that I don't think I would have necessarily picked up."

Q: Let's go quickly back to your undergrad experience. What made you decide to become a mechanical engineer?
McGoff:
I think I was probably heavily influenced by my father, who's an engineer as well. And I enjoy that kind of work. I think I have an aptitude for it.

Q: How did you like going to Georgia Tech?
McGoff:
Georgia Tech is an interesting school. It's a great school. It's more of an experience than an education. And you'll hear folks refer to Georgia Tech as "Ma Tech." People don't ask when you graduate; they ask when you got out. It's a tough school to go to, but real enjoyable. And when you leave -- when you do graduate, you know you've graduated and you've accomplished something.

Q: When you were an undergraduate, did you get any real hands-on engineering experience?
McGoff:
While I was going to Georgia Tech, I did co-op with several companies. I co-oped with Coca-Cola for a couple of quarters. And I co-oped at a few, small manufacturing shops, where I got some real hands-on experience.

Q: So, now, when you graduated and you had this experience, as well as your formal education, what do you think that added to your value as an employee?
McGoff:
The co-op experience? It helped me understand what I could expect in the real world. It also supplemented a lot of the course work that I learned from Georgia Tech. In getting my hands on and actually experiencing real equipment and real processes. It was real valuable.

Q: What did you come here with, that, really, you can only probably get from a formal education, and what did you kind of learn as you moved through the ranks?
McGoff:
I think what Georgia Tech gave me that I probably couldn't have gotten anywhere else was just a basic understanding of engineering philosophies and process thoughts. And it's hard to believe, but the basics that you learn in physics, in your first thermos and fluids, are really what you use, predominantly, in industry. Understanding just simple things, like mass balance. Energy balances. Those are the basics that I think I learned at school that I don't think I would have necessarily picked up. That's what I see that tends to be missing from some of our non-engineered resources.

Q: And what about the skills that you have now that really a formal education couldn't teach you? Or an engineering curriculum couldn't teach you. What have you acquired?
McGoff:
I think what I've learned outside of Georgia Tech, here at Procter & Gamble, is that the hands-on is critical. The schoolwork is a foundation and a fundamental you have to have. But if you don't physically get the hands-on, and understand how components go together and understand how processes go together, I think it's all for naught. You've got to have both parts of the equation.

Q: What do you think that the best aspects of your job, here, are? What makes your job exciting or, at least, satisfying, to you? Or if you're not satisfied with it, tell me why.
McGoff:
The part when I'm most satisfied is typically, right now, the completion of a major initiative. When I can look back over the last six, nine, twelve months, and look back at what we accomplished. I love going into a project that we don't have an answer for. That we're not sure it's going to be successful. And I love pushing the organization to figure out how we can make it successful.

Q: So, there's got to be a down side to that. There's got to be a side that's frustrating to get all that done.
McGoff:
Getting the work done can be frustrating, at times. Probably the biggest frustration that I've experienced at Procter & Gamble, and I know it's industry-wide, is organizational communication and alignment. My experience is that when development, manufacturing, finance, and logistics are all aligned, delivery of the objectives is easy. When they're not aligned, when they're not communicating, delivery of the objectives is almost impossible.

Q: How much time do you spend here? What's your typical workweek?
McGoff:
I probably average forty-five to fifty hours a week, now. It depends really on the assignment and what the status of the work is.

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