When Daniel met with Design Outreach CEO Greg Bixler for the first time in February 2020, it was one of his first exposures to humanitarian engineering and a faith-based engineering organization. While he found it interesting, he thought his life was on a different track. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Daniel’s outlook for the future began to change. Graduating virtually from Georgia Tech and then looking remotely for a job was proving to be a challenge for Daniel.
When he returned home to Columbus, Ohio, his mother encouraged him to reach out to Design Outreach and potentially volunteer until he could find a position. When he met with Greg to discuss volunteering, it quickly turned into a discussion about Daniel joining the team full-time. Daniel wasn’t sure, as support raising seemed intimidating, but when Greg shared about his experience and passion for the work and the people DO serves, Daniel started to rethink the opportunity. He took a month to discuss it with friends and family and pray. After the month was over, he felt that this was where God wanted him to be. He took the next year to support raise and started as a Project Engineer on March 1.
Daniel is beginning his career at DO as a member of the AutoLifePump project team. Over the coming months he will be working closely with Hugo Van der Walt. He will also be working on a data management project and will be part of the LifePump team, developing the expertise to help the LifePump continue to evolve.
DO: How did you learn about DO?
Daniel: “The first time I heard about DO was through my mom, who works for CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service) and had attended the event where Greg Bixler gave the keynote speech. She followed up with Greg and connected us. My first conversation with him was in February 2020. At the time, it was interesting, but I put it on the back burner because I imagined a different future based on my education.”
DO: What changed your mind about DO being a place for you?
Daniel: “I graduated from Georgia Tech virtually due to a shortened semester because of the pandemic and had begun to search for a job virtually but was not having any success. I returned to Columbus, Ohio, and my mom encouraged me to volunteer for DO to get some experience while I was looking for full-time work. When I met with Greg to discuss volunteering, we had a candid conversation about the open full-time position, and I wasn’t certain about it. Greg shared about his experience, and it left such a strong impression on me that I decided to take a month to discuss, pray, and prepare. At the end of the month, it felt like this is where God wants me to be.”
DO: How do you believe DO aligns with your values?
Daniel: “During college, I really began making my faith my own. As I looked to graduation and beyond, I knew that representing Christ in my future vocation was a priority for me. Still, I had little idea of what that would look like. Design Outreach was an amazing answer to that desire: I would get to combine my interest and passion for mechanical engineering with tangible kingdom work. My decision-making process wasn’t as simple as that; the concept of support raising was initially very intimidating, and everything about Design Outreach was so different from what I had long envisioned my first full-time mechanical engineering position would be. Nevertheless, after lots of prayer and conversation with friends and family, I felt that this opportunity was something the Lord was leading me to pursue, and now I’m part of the DO team!”
DO: Why are you excited to work with DO?
Daniel: “I’m excited to leverage my interest and passion in mechanical engineering to serve others in concrete ways. The fact that DO’s approach to humanitarian engineering is rooted in the Christian faith and seeks to share the Gospel makes it even better! I’m also excited to join the team at a time of pretty rapid growth and expansion. It’s a privilege to learn from and work alongside coworkers with years of engineering experience while also having a hand in shaping the organization’s future”.
DO: Why did you choose mechanical engineering as your profession?
Daniel: “I pursued engineering because of being interested in creating solutions to problems and creating new things, and I gravitated toward mechanical engineering, which is concrete, tangible, and practical and has a great deal of opportunity for what you can do with your degree.”
DO: When did you first decide you wanted to become an engineer?
Daniel: “In elementary school, we had a fourth/fifth-grade career day, where we had to imagine ourselves in the future. I was chosen to share my story over the PA system. After I had done that, the school’s librarian approached me and told me that her son was an engineer and that what I described is what engineers do. She helped me identify that my interest in science, math, and making things was what engineers do.
DO: What responsibilities will your job include?
Daniel: “I will mainly focus on the mechanical aspects of new product design and support for DO’s existing technologies like autoLifePump and LifePump. I will also be involved in a data management project.”
DO: What do you like to do for fun?
Daniel: I enjoy running, listening to podcasts, reading books. If I have a lot of time on my hands, I also like cooking and am (slowly) learning guitar.