Brandon Beck, Senior Engineer for Merit Malvern, Pennsylvania, USA
My story here began 20 years ago: I started working here in the now “Merit Malvern” office twenty years ago, right after graduating from Penn State University. When I started it was Thomas Medical and I was a supervisor who worked on the team that built the Classic Sheath, a device for implanting leads for pacemakers and defibrillators. Years later we were acquired by GE Healthcare and then in December 2012, by Merit Medical. Now I’m a Senior Manufacturing Engineer, which means I look after our manufacturing processes to ensure efficiencies and quality, including ECN’s and validations. I review work that others produce and mentor other engineers so they can grow in their professions.
Thomas, then GE, then Merit: The transitions from company to company has been a positive experience. There’s a group of us who have been together for 15-20 years and have gone through these transitions together, making it all feel familiar. However, looking back over the past 20 years, I have been presented with so many varying opportunities and challenges. My goals from day-to-day and year-to-year are never the same. This has made working here feel new, exciting and challenging all the time.
What do you enjoy most about being a Manufacturing Engineer: I love solving problems all day long. Sometimes I feel like a CSI investigator. I love to fix and improve things so I spent many months training to receive my Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma Black Belt certifications. Several years ago, we found that we were carrying six months of inventory for one of our most popular products. Utilizing lean and six sigma techniques and working with a team to determine how to reduce waste – we reduced the number of people working on that line by half and now only carry a two week inventory. These efficiencies benefit Merit and our customers.
Tell us about a project you feel most proud of: I’m proud of many of the projects I’ve worked on but the first one that comes to mind is the Steerable Sheath. I was the lead manufacturing engineer working with R&D and it was the first new project coming out of R&D Malvern incorporating lean manufacturing techniques. The steerable sheath is the most complex product we’ve built in Malvern because it has the most parts and several new unique processes. We’re already at 98% yield and labor is the smallest portion of the cost of the product.
After work: I married my wife Meredith the same week I was hired by Thomas Medical, 20 years ago, and my marriage and my career here are still going strong! Meredith and I have three teenagers – two sons and a daughter. Matthew is in college and Christopher and Sarah are in high school. I love hockey and played ice hockey at Penn State. But my real hobby passion is disc golf. Disc golf allows me to see beautiful places while playing a competitive and fun sport. I look forward to playing disc golf at the Solitude Mountain Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon next time I am in Utah to visit HQ.