January Employee Spotlight
Joined Natech: January 25, 2021
Dan is an absolute asset to the Project Engineering team. He’s a very skilled designer, quick learner, and incredible problem solver. While Dan’s skillset in DFIM and CAD modeling is impressive, I am always more impressed by his ability to communicate and transfer his knowledge to others, which strengthens the entire team. It’s always a great pleasure both learning from and working with Dan.Lori Jockers
Q: What do you do at Natech?
I tackle design-based projects and evaluate existing part designs for moldability.
It’s all about understanding what the client needs and what their end goal is. The project team combines client’s functional requirements and manufacturing constraints with the realities of manufacturing. I make sure designs are created to be fit for manufacturing and maintain the client’s original intent for the product’s end use.
I’ve learned that it’s just as important to consider what is not needed as what is needed. It’s easy to overspec, which could increase costs and introduce risk.
Q: How did you start your career in manufacturing?
After going to school for product design, I worked with a medical device development consultancy, doing design and prototype work. I later worked at a point-of-purchase manufacturing facility, where I was able to see hiccups at different stages and how making a clever tweak would make manufacturing easier.
I came from a background of designing products, but I wasn’t able to see many of them be mass manufactured. So it’s a dream to see products that I worked on out in the wild.
Q: What is something that most people might not know about you?
I was a hockey goalie and I played hockey for the majority of my life until a couple years ago.
Q: If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?
- To be able to travel more/teleportation
- I wish I had infinite energy
- I wish I was still playing hockey
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
What do I like to do in my free time or what I actually do in my free time?
My wife and I are new homeowners, so I do a lot of projects around the house. I would love to do woodworking and make some custom furniture and shelving for the house. I’d love to make a funky coffee table for the basement.
Q: Favorite dessert?
Q: What’s one thing that you can’t live without?
Music. I listen to a ton of music. If I had more free time, I would love to make electronic music. I also listen to comedy podcasts.
Q: What is the most useful thing you’ve learned at Natech?
There’s not always a definite answer. I’ve learned that many things can be negotiable, depending on different variables. It’s important to be informed and then have confidence in the decisions I make.
I learn a ton from the people at Natech. Mike (Engineering Manager) has mentioned that he’s had to figure out unique problems and there was a lot of learning to do. Because of that, he has so much experience and is so confident now. It’s great to have an example.
Q: What’s your favorite part about working at Natech?
Dan’s eagerness and willing to learn, not just to understand the how but to understand the why behind his projects is inspiring. He’s a great addition to team, funny, warm, and great at Halo. The team is stronger with him on it.Mike Botta
Q: What’s a moment that defines your experience at Natech?
There was a design session we had with the engineers. We were trying to make a new part from an existing mold. With more constraints than normal, we were trying to figure out how to work with this. We opened the mold CAD, pulled it apart, and saw where the inserts were. While we were drawing out what we wanted it to look like, Mike came up with an idea that enabled us to use as a springboard to hit all the requirements we needed. I was also able to add value in contributing to the mold design for one of the first times, adding to how memorable this was for me. We implemented those ideas and the parts look great. It’s always sick to see it in reality.
Q: What is your proudest achievement while working here?
Working on a cornea transplant container.
Q: What personal goals do you want to achieve in the next few years?
I would like to get more “in-house Natech” patents. It’s tough to spend money on things if there’s not an immediate return. But I think it’s healthy to do that. Those have the potential to be more lucrative.
Anybody can make something novel. Anyone can make something that’s needed in the industry. But it’s another thing to do both; to identify a novel part that is needed, realize the value in that, and have the confidence to commit to that.
Q: What are your goals for the company in the next few years?
It would be cool to expand our Cleanroom and White Room space because based on what I’ve seen out at the tradeshows, there’s a definite need for that. A lot of people are surprised that we can do it all under one roof, which saves a lot of steps and increases efficiency of a project.
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
Being able to hold the thing in your hand that you first saw on a computer screen. Fully understanding a project and making the CAD from the ground up makes me feel really proud.
Q: What are 5 words that define Natech?