Sr. Innovation and Design Engineer – Worldwide Engineering
By: Deena Pierott, Founder, iUrban Teen
I recently met Michael at a networking event in Seattle and my eyes gleaned over because I knew he was a perfect role model for our youth in iUrban Teen. Michael’s current role at Amazon is impressive and his background working for companies in Europe are equally impressive. We honored to feature Michael this month and hope that this is the beginning of a long relationship with iUrban Teen.
Q: What is your current job title and what does that entail?
Currently I am a Senior Innovation and Design Engineer at Amazon.com. My job responsibilities are to Invent, design, and implement engineering solutions to complex material flow and human-machine efficiency problems throughout the global Amazon supply chain.
Q: Thinking back when you were a teenager, what was it that sparking your interest in technology?
As a teenager I was fascinated with remote control devices and toys. This fascination led to an interest in building remote control airplanes. This is where I first begin thinking about doing something in technology as a career.
Q: With your vast experience, which one of your career roles truly sparked your innovative spirit and why?
My current role at Amazon has challenged my innovative spirit the most. At Amazon I am constantly challenged to develop invent and simplify. We strive to be the most customer-centric company in the world and to do so complex problems must be solved in unique ways. We must develop technology solutions that provides superior service to our customers.
Q: Who was the person, or persons, that influenced you the most about pursuing the path you’ve selected?
I was influenced most by my father who is also an engineer. As a child when I approached him with problems, he guided me to search for solution on my own first rather than relying on him for the quick answer.
Q: How important are grades/GPA for obtaining a job in this field?
Grades are very important to get accepted into engineering programs at universities. Engineering programs are very competitive and they only take the best students who will be most likely to successfully complete the program. After being accepted into a program those who finish will more than likely be offered positions regardless of the college GPA. However, the students with the higher grades and GPA will be offered more positions with higher pay. Your GPA is the only way employers can gauge your knowledge within a given field. Work experience such as internships and co-ops can add significant value to the process and relieve some of the pressure for a high GPA. The top companies (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, etc.) Will only interview candidates with minimum GPAs of 3.0 and sometimes even higher.
Q: Do you have any advice for teens that would like to pursue the same career field as you?
Start now in developing habits that will make you a successful learner. Reading comprehension, math fundamentals, and problem solving will form a strong base to enter into engineering. At some point every math class you take will come into play in future courses and even on your job daily.
Q: If you weren’t in this career path what else would be doing?
The heart of engineering is logic and problem solving. I think if I weren’t an engineer I would use these skills to pursue a career as a lawyer.
Q: Can you tell us one interesting fact that most people don’t know about you?
Most people do not know that I was an All-American track and field athlete. I competed in the Triple Jump and High jump and went on to earn a scholarship to a NCAA Division I school (North Carolina State University).
Impressive Michael! Thank you for sharing your time with us at iUrban Teen. Keep shining and sharing your knowledge with youth across the country!