#EngineeringAtNUVA is a series that highlights talented engineers who make up NuVasive Engineering. Every feature will have a unique set of questions to give you the most diverse knowledge into Engineering at NUVA including roles within Manufacturing, Development, Software, and Electrical Engineering. The series is for students interested in the field, for prospective engineers who want to understand our culture, and for those intrigued to meet some of our incredibly intelligent Shareowners!
Our next feature for #EngineeringAtNUVA is Matthew, Sr. Development Engineer in Global Implant Development.
Matthew, why did you choose to work as an Engineer in the Medical Device industry versus other industries?
I think that everyone desires to work on something or to create something that has meaning and value. Having said that, the medical device industry and the innovation that come out of it have such a clear and concrete value to our customers (our patients).
We are able to invest our time into relieving people from pain, into holding their grandkids, playing another round of golf, and more. It’s pretty cool.
As another benefit, our project cycles are fairly short, which means that you get to see your work making a difference reasonably quickly.
How long have you been at NUVA?
I started at NuVasive as a Development Engineering Intern in November of 2015. I was moved into a full-time role four months later in March of 2016 and promoted from Development Engineer to Senior Development Engineer in June of 2017. During that time, I have worked exclusively in the fixation group (screws and rods), and primarily on projects related to the neck.
Is there a specific class or skill that you wish you took or learned prior to graduating college that would positively impact your work today?
It would have been helpful to know both the possibilities and limitations that exist in manufacturing, as most of what I learned in school was theoretical.
In reality, a clever mechanism, instrument, or implant is useless if there is no machine in the world that can make it.
Knowing this from the beginning is key in enabling an engineer to hit the ground running.
What was your path from realizing you wanted to be an Engineer to working at NuVasive today?
Early in life, I knew that my future would involve engineering in some capacity. I had a great Physics teacher in high school that prepared me for engineering in college. I had wonderful professors at Baylor University that equipped me for the workforce. One of the best decisions that I made in college was to take multiple elective classes that had a computational focus (e.g., FEA, CFD). That has proved to be a useful skill for me almost daily here at NuVasive. Lastly, never underestimate the power of a professional network, whether that is through your university or some other means. The right person handing over your resume to a hiring manager can make all of the difference.
Can you share what inspired you to pursue Engineering?
Both of my parents were engineers who worked (and still work) on fighter jets. I think the world of them—they’re an inspiration. Growing up with them, I always excelled in STEM related classes and took an interest in anything related to math and science. Shout out to my sister who did something entirely different!
For those deciding on which type of engineering path to pursue, what would be your advice?
Excluding the time when we sleep, we live in a world where somewhere around 40% of our time is spent at work or doing something related to work. Spend that 40% doing something you love and find a field that is enjoyable for you and do that.
Finally, what makes Engineering at NuVasive unique in your opinion?
NuVasive engineering has a great “work hard, play hard” culture. This is a group of incredibly knowledgeable and experienced engineers who create some of the best products on the market.
We work hard and push each other when necessary, but we also know how to stop, have fun, and enjoy our time together. Both of those are incredibly important.
Interested in the engineering field at NuVasive? Learn about open roles and what it takes to be an engineer with NUVA by clicking here.