Entering the workforce, changing jobs, or are simply curious, Profiles series is the place to learn more about the career opportunities in the pump industry and the skills needed to be successful.
Hi, I’m an Engineering Manager. What do I do?
About me: As an engineering manager, my primary responsibility is to foster collaboration within my team of engineers, and to enable the development of innovative pumping solutions for our company. Alongside hiring and training engineers, I dedicate time to successfully bring products from the R&D phase to market launch. Additionally, I collaborate extensively with other managers in the company, making sure everyone is informed about my team’s progress while upholding a strong creative and technical vision. I’m also responsible for ensuring that our engineering team, as well as our projects, remain within budget. I provide teambuilding and mentorship—which is something that all good managers must remain vigilant about. With my engineering background, I also take on the responsibility of reviewing the work of my team and providing guidance and suggestions during the product development process.
What I’m good at: While leadership skills are essential for any manager, what truly distinguishes me from other managers in my company is my creativity and, of course, my engineering expertise. I possess valuable firsthand experience in product development and a comprehensive understanding of the manufacturing pipeline. During meetings, I consistently contribute critical knowledge that enables the organization to make well-informed decisions. I’m the one my colleagues turn to when they have questions about the feasibility of an idea, or when they require a rough estimate of the time and resources needed for engineering projects. Given my team’s responsibility to constantly drive innovation, it’s important for me to leverage my technical knowledge, and creative thinking, to execute tasks. Last, my effective communication skills play a pivotal role in engaging with suppliers, customers, and potential clients.
What I like: I thoroughly enjoyed my previous position as a product engineer, so one of my favorite aspects of being an engineering manager is that I still get to use my problem-solving skills and engineering expertise to amplify my team’s collective voice within the company. I understand my team’s needs because I’ve walked in their shoes, which allows me to advocate for them effectively and encourage smooth communication across multiple departments. I like the everyday puzzle that comes from balancing product innovation with the needs of my colleagues in other departments, and I take pride in sharing news about my team’s progress. With my extensive engineering career, I value the opportunity to develop my mentorship skills and find great personal fulfillment in helping grow the next generation of pump engineers.
What I’m looking for: If I were considering a different career path, my preference would be to continue leveraging the product development and engineering skills I’ve cultivated over the past decade. This could involve pursuing another role as an engineering manager or utilizing my experience and expertise as a consulting engineer, allowing me to engage in problem-solving projects.
If I were looking to hire for this position, I would seek an individual with a passion for engineering along with the required experience. A successful engineering manager excels not only as an engineer but also as a manager. It’s important to have the necessary skills to effectively communicate with both the engineers and other managers in the company, ensuring alignment among all stakeholders. I would look for someone who demonstrates a commitment not only to projects but also to guiding and supporting a team, encouraging an environment where ideas are shared with a focus on quality and efficiency.
My education: My credentials as an engineering manager were primarily earned through several years of experience in engineering and mechanical design. My company wanted 10 years of overall experience in product design, with at least three of those years focused on engineering disciplines. However, it’s worth noting that different companies may have varying requirements in terms of years of experience for considering a candidate for a management position. My master’s degree in system engineering played a significant role in making me a top candidate. In my experience, I have encountered cases where engineering managers were successfully hired with only a bachelor’s degree, particularly when their degree pertained to a related field such as mechanical engineering. The most important factor that landed me the job was the on-the-job training I received and the experiences I gained while working with other teams similar to the one I currently manage.
Where I work: Like many other managers, my leadership skills translate to a variety of different companies. I would thrive in most technically minded roles, and my experience enables me to perform effectively in a diverse range of pump engineering and manufacturing positions. Depending on how large the company is, I might be asked to do more in terms of negotiating prices, searching for new clients, or creating master plans for the future of the company. But no matter what, I often find myself back with my engineers, solving new problems and creating new solutions.How much I make: Salaries for jobs like mine can vary depending on the level of responsibility and the size of the company. At a smaller company, I may be required to undertake tasks that would typically fall under the purview of a product manager, but I might enjoy the relative autonomy that a smaller organization can offer. Transitioning to a larger company the responsibilities can get more specific and more intense, but it also comes with an increase in pay rate. A company selling pumps for pools would likely have a very different sort of engineering manager from one that works with aerospace machinery. Because of my experience, my salary is in the high $100,000 range, but the earning potential can exceed $300,000.