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Alum continues to apply skills learned at BYU to job at Ford

harry douglass

Harry Douglass' BYU education taught him a lot of valuable skills. Since receiving his degree in mechanical engineering in 2014, he continues to apply his BYU education to his work at Ford.

Douglass works as an automatic transmission new product engineer. In this position, he studies new technologies that may improve fuel efficiency, evaluates prototype transmission data, and develops programs for manufacturing and assembly systems. He said that his BYU education really prepared him for this position, and taught him skills such as collaboration, communication, and setting goals.

"It wasn't until I left BYU that I realized how incredible it is," he said. "Ford hires more at BYU than almost any other school, and that's because the BYU engineering programs prepare their students for industry."

At Ford, Douglass has learned that communication is key. He works in a team where they need to be able to pass knowledge on to one another. This ensures that they will create a great product, and that they will be able to apply the skills of every engineer on the team.

"Great products are developed from a team of engineers, not individuals," Douglass said. "Each sub-component in an automobile is far too complicated for one person, or even 100 people, to develop themselves...If you cannot communicate well, you will be a mediocre engineer."

Douglass gave some advice to current BYU students on how they can prepare for their careers. He said that while getting good grades is important, employers will be more focused on the experience you have. Some things he recommended to get involved in outside of normal classes would be research, internships, engineering competitions, and a challenging Capstone project.

Douglass loves his job at Ford, and says that the most enjoyable thing about his work is being able to help create cars that will help consumers in both the present and future. He said that they really need to focus on what the consumers want right now in a car. However, changes in population, climate, and other issues are causing Ford to change their vehicles to withstand what the future brings.

"Ford does a good job at walking the fine line between profitability in the present, and investing in technologies that will define the future of transportation, like autonomy and ride sharing," Douglass said. "It's fun to be a part of a company that is using its influence for good."