Since graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill with a biomedical engineering degree in 2022, Brian Delany has continued to apply his entrepreneurial mindset and making skills in his new role as manufacturing and innovation engineer at Procter & Gamble (P&G). During his time at UNC-Chapel Hill, Delany took full advantage of the BeAM makerspaces; as an employee and student within the space, he learned technical, entrepreneurial and professional skills that positioned him well for success in the workforce.
Q: How did you learn about this role at P&G?
A: I grew up in Cincinnati and always knew that P&G was an amazing company. I originally found this job online, but networking helped greatly in the recruiting process. Always use your professional network to your advantage!
Q: What are the main responsibilities of your position?
A: Primarily, I focus on driving innovation into the manufacturing world. I determine what new manufacturing technologies can be applied to increase efficiency and lower costs. Also, I have responsibilities as a product supply engineer in the entrepreneurial arm of P&G where I help launch new brands from the ground up while managing technical relationships with manufacturers.
Q: How did your experiences in BeAM help you thrive in your role as an engineer at Proctor & Gamble?
A: BeAM taught me so many important skills that I didn’t realize until I was working at P&G! During my time at UNC-Chapel Hill, I worked at BeAM as an employee (first as a program assistant, then as a specialist) and was also a frequent user of the space! When I wasn’t working, you could always find me at BeAM prototyping and designing. As a BeAM employee, you see people come in with many different projects. As you’re helping them, you think through how to use the resources you have and the different ways in which you can solve the problem at hand. This mindset of figuring out how to use your resources to achieve solutions really helps me in my career now. The constant exposure to that level of problem-solving at BeAM drives so much creative thinking and professional development.
In college, I started a small company and I prototyped the entire device for the company in BeAM. Having this resource on campus was extremely empowering. Such accessibility to Making for all students on campus is unique on a college campus and is something that had a huge impact on me personally and professionally. Additionally, BeAM ensures that you not only feel respected, but can comfortably communicate with people with varying levels of technical backgrounds.
Q: What unique lessons and skills does BeAM teach students?
A: BeAM encourages students to take accountability for their design, prototyping and fabrication while putting together the right team to properly execute projects. BeAM is really unique in that the Maker drives the work that needs to be done; people are always there to help you, but no one is holding your hand. School doesn’t teach you the value of that kind of experience, so BeAM is an opportunity to teach college students how to take initiative and be accountable. The skills that BeAM teaches you are incredibly valuable – communicating, getting your work done, and holding yourself accountable – and contribute to success in my current role.
Q: What did BeAM teach you about making mistakes and learning from failure?
A: There is no better way to learn than failing. Mistakes are going to happen no matter what field you’re in, but the important lesson is to learn from it and improve for next time rather than let it bring you down. Even if you are making mistakes, there is tremendous value in doing hands-on work to learn and identify what lessons can be applied to the real world. Overall, if you don’t get out of your comfort zone, you’re never going to learn anything. Always consider: what can I learn from this and how can I apply these lessons learned to grow?
Q: Can you describe your biggest project or proudest achievement at P&G thus far?
A: I’m able to work hands-on frequently, and I love any project that allows me to do so! I think it’s neat that most of the projects I work on are brands that are being developed, and it’s been very exciting to start seeing the products on shelves. Specifically, I was able to use my passion for prototyping to create a small device for the insecticide brand Zevo. It was quite rewarding to apply experiences I gained from BeAM and my engineering classes and see it used in the real world. I’ve only been at P&G for a few months now but having that sort of impact is an amazing feeling.
Q: What sparked your initial interest in biomedical engineering?
A: I have always loved physics and had an interest in the medical field. Biomedical engineering provided me the opportunity to combine these two passions and have a direct impact on patients’ lives.
Q: Do you have any words of wisdom for students who might wish to follow in your footsteps?
A: Be relentless! There is so much to learn, so soak up everything you can. Take advantage of any opportunity to talk to someone with more experience, or someone who has been in the field for a long time – these are all opportunities to learn! Also, I’d encourage you to always be confident in what you know, and don’t be afraid to accept things that you don’t know.
By Sara Auerbach, Applied Physical Sciences