An alum of the 2021 SMDP Medtech Scholar cohort, Dan Bully, is the Product Development Engineer at Smith & Nephew. As the Product Development Engineer, Dan works with patient-matched implants and cutting blocks for Total Knee Replacements and covers a region of the US that includes 8 states. In his role, Dan utilizes x-rays, MRIs, and 3D modeling programs while collaborating with surgeons to provide them with the desired results for their patients’ surgeries.
I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. I initially joined the program with hopes of returning to my hometown in Detroit, MI to work in the automotive industry. However, through an academic research position and senior design capstone project that were both based in biomedical engineering, I realized I wanted to work in medical technology.
I currently work for Smith & Nephew in a section of the Orthopedics department called Visionaire. We are a global medical device company that develops technology for advanced wound management, orthopedics, trauma, sports medicine, and ear, nose & throat.
I first learned about Smith & Nephew when I attended the 2020 Annual Convention for the National Society of Black Engineers. I had the opportunity to speak with an engineer who works in our Sports Medicine franchise. She was very helpful in describing her role, the company and industry.
I enjoy our company’s culture. We believe that Care, Collaboration, and Courage are the pillars that drive the business with our customers, patients, and each other. I have felt this purpose-driven culture not just with my own coworkers, but also with other Smith & Nephew employees in different departments at different locations. The people at this company have truly made my transition from college to industry much easier.
I believe good time management, organization, and communication skills make me successful in my role. I work with a multitude of surgeons and sales representatives in my region, in addition to those in other regions that I may temporarily cover from time to time. Keeping track of all their individual problems and being able to effectively communicate solutions is crucial to my performance. This is partly why I chose this role. This position is an opportunity unlike most entry-level engineering positions, as it allows me to work directly with people in the field. I am able to further develop my communication skills while also undertaking sole responsibility for the work I do in my region.
Achieving your goals is success, especially if you exceed your expectations. Additionally, I believe success can occur even if you fall short of a goal. Sometimes an outcome may not be what you desired, but realizing that you have grown wiser, obtained more experience, and become more knowledgeable should always be seen as success.
Knowing and being able to see that my work is directly impacting someone’s life in a positive way is the most fulfilling aspect of my job. Improving people's lifestyle is the main reason why i joined the medical technology industry. I have had the opportunity to meet with surgeons and patients that use our products and hear their stories. Moreover, I have had opportunities to stand in on surgeries in the operating room and see surgeons directly apply products I worked on. Apart from this role, having such unique experience as an engineer makes me feel good about what I do and how it affects the end-users.
Never give up on your goals and understand that life is a rollercoaster. You will have many high points in your life directly followed by low points, and vice versa. But no matter how tough things get, how many people doubt you, or how unsure you may feel, don’t ever give up.
I began When Breath Becomes Air, recommended by a friend. Honestly though, I am more of a podcast person. My favorite one recently has been The Pivot Podcast. It is a group of former NFL players who welcome a wide range of athlete guests on the show to discuss their career experiences but also life experiences as well.