Alumni Profile – David Peckarsky (Q11)
David is in the manufacturing and engineering group at Lutron (www.lutron.com) in Bethlehem, PA. Additionally, he is pursuing his MBA at Lehigh University.
Would you please describe in more detail what you do for Lutron?
I am working in the operations and manufacturing engineering group at Lutron. I work with new product development teams from early design phase to a new product launch. This includes tooling the manufacturing process for production. While Lutron has a pilot facility in Pennsylvania, our larger-scale production is outside the U.S.. When I travel to these facilities—such as our facilities in Mexico or China—it is very helpful to have staff from the local plant walk folks through the production facility because you learn so much about the design for manufacturing when you speak to those who do run the production facility. It is very rewarding to see the production runs of products that were just on the drawing board just a few months ago for a derivative product or around a year ago for a significant new product.
How has your QUEST experience helped you in your position?
Perceived quality is something we talk about in QUEST. One of the most interesting products I helped design is an electronic dimmer for a Bang & Olufsen remote control. When I was working on that product, I was reminded about the “perceived quality” concept I learned in QUEST because it was very important for Bang & Olufsen to create a product that had a high perceived quality from its customers. To increase the perceived quality of their remote, they increased the weight of the remote to 2 pounds so it would feel more substantial in the hands of the user. Additionally, the statistical concepts that are taught in QUEST are very helpful. For example, we learned about how to test products to meet your six-sigma targets, which is very important in my position. Finally, the whole process of working across disciplines in teams that is so important to QUEST is important to me even for a simple product development. While it would be great if there was a well-defined path to make the product development process easier, this is not the case. In reality, there is a lot of feedback and back-and-forth among the different elements of design and among the different members of a team that make teamwork an important part of the design process.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at Lehigh?
I’m very happy to be pursuing my MBA. I learned in my career that as I understood more about the details of mechanical design, it became increasingly important to know how design interacted with operations and supply chain management. Fortunately, my colleague told me about the MBA program at Lehigh, which has a focus on supply chain management. I’m learning about the different business functions and supply chain management, in particular. For example, I now have a better appreciation for the tension between safety stock and the cost of holding the safety stock.
What advice would you give current QUEST students?
First, I would recommend they get an internship. By doing this, they can get a better appreciation for what they are learning in the classroom and how it is applied within a company. Concepts make more sense when you see them put into action. Second, I would recommend that students learn teamwork and project management skills. These skills are very important to me and our company on a daily basis.