Product Development Engineer, Smith & Nephew

Product Development Engineer, Smith & Nephew

Feb 16, 2023

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.

What is the highest degree you have earned and what can you tell us about your academic path?

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.

Where do you work now and what is your company about?

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.

How did you first learn about the company?

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.

What do you like most about the company?

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.

What skills make you successful in your role and why did you choose this role?

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.

How do you define success?

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.

What's the most fulfilling aspect of your job?

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.

What advice do you have for students and job seekers?

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.

What book did you read last?

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.