Zachary Rinaldi, M.S., Chemical Engineering, December 2017
Zachary Rinaldi is currently employed with 3M as an Optimized Operations (O2) Engineer at their Northridge, California site. The majority of Zachary’s time is dedicated to identifying potential sources of process improvement on the manufacturing lines , which produce pharmaceutical products, and leading these improvement projects. It is a diverse role allowing Zachary to interact and work with operators, mechanics, and plant leadership in order to develop the best solutions at hand.
After finishing his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at Purdue University, Zachary was interested in exploring advanced topics in chemical engineering and business management. Seeing that the Professional Master’s Program (PMP) in the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering offered both, Zachary decided that it was the program for him and began pursuing his Masters in December 2016. Upon enrolling in the program Zachary states, “The Chemical Engineering Professional M.S. Program was a great fit allowing me to do both: explore additional topics in Chemical Engineering and take graduate level classes from Krannert Business School.”
Zachary found that the rigor of the PMP classes were beneficial and that it prepared him to deal with the fast pace of the manufacturing world. He explains that the projects he currently works on have a known goal, but the exact solution is unknown. He further highlights that “This requires confidence in my problem-solving approach and ability to learn new things to develop a solution, both of which were skills that were strengthened by the Chemical Engineering Professional M.S. Program’s coursework and projects.”
Additionally, Zachary found the summer Capstone project to be particularly rewarding. Reflecting upon his experience, he states, "Many of the skills that were required for the capstone project, I use daily in my current role.” Furthermore, he states, ”The ChE Professional M.S. Program capstone project allows students to take full ownership of a real-life problem and develop a solution while navigating timelines, priorities, and stakeholders. This project also requires students to work on diverse teams, which is an invaluable experience as they head into the workplace. Overall, the capstone project is a fantastic leadership experience.”
All of these different components of the program have provided Zachary with the tools to be impactful in his current role with 3M. Zachary says that the most rewarding aspect of his current role is, “Witnessing the positive impact that continuous improvement projects can have on both the teams operating the equipment and the business.” He further elaborates that, “The people running the manufacturing lines are a very important component, in the process improvement projects on which I work. Leading the improvements that positively impact their daily activities is extremely rewarding and quite exciting.”
As a graduate of the Chemical Engineering Professional Master’s Program, Zachary’s advice to current and future students, “I would encourage students to not underestimate the value of concise and effective communication skills. This is crucial when pitching projects, developing team buy-in, and communicating results.” Additionally, he advises, ”I would also encourage students to embrace their own perspective and be confident in sharing that perspective. Bringing a fresh perspective to the table and thinking outside the box helps open doors that may have not existed previously. Lastly, “Never stop asking questions and do not be content with the status quo or ‘the way it has always been done.’ Be a catalyst for change.”