Friday, April 26, 2013

Q&A With Mechatronics Engineer Garrett Diulio

Garrett Diulio working on a large
custom actuated linear guide (belt driven).
Garrett Diulio joined the Bishop-Wisecarver Group earlier this year, and with him comes great enthusiasm for all things mechatronic related. As our Mechatronics Engineer, Garrett is focused on projects that require both mechanical and electronic expertise. Have a question for Garret? Leave a comment in the section below!

Question: Why did you want to be an engineer, and did you always know that this was something that you wanted to do, or was it a decision that emerged later?

GD: For me, it was a decision that came later in life, during my first semester of community college. I liked math and science, and fixing things. I’ve always had fun building things and taking things apart and putting them back together.

I started out as an electrical engineer, and I realized shortly thereafter that my true passion was in mechanical engineering. It is so broad, probably the broadest field of engineering. You are exposed to everything. There is no job a mechanical engineer couldn’t do.

Question: What are your earliest memories of putting things together?

GD: I remember trying to take apart a cell phone as a little kid.

Question: Where did you receive your education in engineering, and in what area did you specialize?

GD: I received a degree from UC Berkeley and my major was mechanical engineering. I had to do a senior project that was very similar to what I’m doing here at BWG; my senior project was on mechatronics. Mechatronics is just a fancy word for a combination of electrical, software, mechanical, and controls engineering.

Question: What kind of job experience did you have before joining the Bishop-Wisecarver team?

GD: I had a few internships. I had one internship where I did a lot of mechanical design, which I do a lot of here as well, although the industry was different (the medical field). It was a company that made heart pumps and I had to design the connectors in CAD.

I had another internship as an analyst reviewing bone strength data, and I would use finite element analysis in order to find the varied strengths from patients; usually older patients. The software was used to predict when patients could potentially fracture their hip or pelvis… they recently got FDA-approved.

I did have a third internship that are similar to my duties at Bishop-Wisecarver. My responsibility for that job was to figure out how to make the robot navigate autonomously through a maze. I focused on software and the electrical portions of the project. This was preliminary research for a firefighting robot.

Question: What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in an engineering focused career? Let’s say a middle school student or a high school student.

GD: Make sure you are very passionate about the aspect of engineering you select — it really makes a difference in engineering. You can really tell a difference between people who come to work just to earn a paycheck and those who truly love what they do at the office. In engineering, it’s the little details that matter the most.

Question: What's the most rewarding aspect of being an engineer?

GD: Finishing a project — the point at which all elements are functional and operating the way they’re supposed to... that's a really satisfying feeling.

Question: Technology plays a big role in the type of engineering that you do. Does it require much effort to stay abreast of recent technologies used in your area of expertise?

GD: Going back to how passionate you are — if it’s what you love, it’s pretty easy to stay on top of it all. You’ll be willing and have the desire to keep learning, and it will come naturally to you; second nature almost. I think the key is always trying new things.

Question: Which aspects of your role at Bishop-Wisecarver do you appreciate the most?

GD: The thing that I must focus on the most is planning and scheduling; ordering due dates and logistics. It is always critical to make sure that everything comes together in the allotted time frame. Without planning and preparation, you are doomed.

Question: What’s your favorite quote, or personal motto?

GD: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

Question: Do any of your hobbies outside of work relate to your job — any technical trades or anything having to do with engineering?

GD: I still work on my senior project sometimes. It’s kind of a hobby. I still work on it because I want to showcase it someday. You think you’re close to perfection, but really, there’s always more to refine.

Question: Where do you see yourself in five years?

GD: Within five years, I hope to have created and launched my own product line based on the concept of autonomous machinery.