Talent Spotlight On David Desmarais, Mechanical Engineer

Talent Spotlight is a regular feature profiling the employees of Product Creation Studio. See the Talent Spotlight archive for more interviews. 

What led you to a career in product development?

Shortly after school, I worked for a medical device company doing characterization and optimization of their new core product.  It was here that I learned what product development was and that creating new designs was the type of work I wanted to do. After a couple years building new experiences, I moved over to the product development side.

What excites you most about your job?

I love learning about new technologies and acquiring different skills.  Every new project requires becoming an expert on that particular device. I am frequently learning about a new product field, technology, manufacturing method, or engineering tool.

Describe your most rewarding work experience to date.

One project I was a part of took an existing consumer electronic product and redesigned it in a very short time frame - about half the time it normally takes for a redesign.

The existing design was barely functional and the client was at risk of going out of business if their product didn’t radically improve.

At the outset, I thought the schedule was hopelessly optimistic. However, I relied on the lessons from the projects I’d previously worked on and the team was able to hit the target timeframe and deliver a functional product.

What is the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

My first full time job after school was at an industrial wood processing machine manufacturer that fabricated most of its product on-site.   Because it manufactured everything on-site, the engineers were expected to walk out on the shop floor to address any issues with the machinists and fabricators directly.  That level of hands-on detail is rare these days with overseas and otherwise distributed manufacturing.  It was very rewarding watching steel stock roll in on one end of the building, and finished products roll out on the other.

It was also unusual, because the company was very conservative in their work style.  Technical drawings were created and edited on computers of course, but still printed out for the shop team.  A fireproof vault protected older hand drawn specs, many of which were still in use. 

Being exposed to older methods of engineering was a great learning experience too.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?

Besides staying physically active so I don’t go stir crazy sitting at a desk all day, most of my hobbies involve creating or modifying things.  I build and maintain several bikes at any given time, changing them to suit how I’m using them.  I’ve gradually picked up woodworking and more and more of my furniture includes pieces I’ve built.