Our employee spotlight shines a light on one employee at a time. We value diversity and inclusion and welcome diverse thinking. It takes a village — through collaboration, living safely and driving innovation we realize our goals and help our clients achieve mission success. Our mantra is people first, mission always. Today’s Q&A is with Michael Pereira, Senior Design Engineer, Delta Bridge (now part of Amentum).
How did you come to join Amentum?
I’ve been at Delta Bridge for six and a half years or so. I joined right after college. I went to George Mason and I got a degree in physics and after I applied, I made a connection with Tom Becherer who was formerly the CEO.
What is your professional and personal background?
I’m from Virginia but I moved around a bunch as a kid. My parents worked for the State Department, so we lived overseas for a while and bounced around. But most of my time was in Virginia. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I got to college, but I knew I wanted to do something that would give me a lot of options. I had a lot of questions about how things worked, and I figured, physics is pretty good at addressing the root of everything you could ask about in the physical world. So I went that route, and I did not expect it to be quite as hard as it was, but I love it. If I could go back, I would do it exactly the same way.
Describe the work you do and how you think it makes a positive impact
I’m a senior design engineer with Delta Bridge. I manage and run new technology that Delta Bridge is working on so I’m a creative technical problem solver. A small team of folks and I collaborate on customer requirements and come up with solutions for them. It requires programming, networking, and electronics, mechanical and logistical components. I do configuration work, software work, electronics work, and I also work in a mechanical shop. We build custom solutions for technical projects.
How does this work make a positive impact?
For us and for Delta Bridge and our customers, we have a niche set of clientele that have very specific demands just based around their line of work. It can be hard to find off-the-shelf commercial technology that supports their efforts, and so it helps to have a small shop like Delta Bridge that can help come up with solutions for these endeavors. These groups that we’re supporting are doing positive work so that’s the impact that Delta Bridge is providing.
What do you enjoy most about working for Amentum?
Delta Bridge is pretty newly acquired by Amentum. I like that it’s very fast-paced, it’s very dynamic, it’s different every day. I’m working on different projects all the time. There’s a lot of autonomy here. If there’s a customer that needs something, folks at Delta Bridge can be nimble and creative about what we think are the best ways to solve that problem, and then we can implement it. It’s a creative outlet as well as a fun problem-solving outlet.
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about a lot of things. I’m passionate about learning. I’m passionate about creativity. I would call myself a creative person. I’m passionate about people. I think if you want to do anything in this world, you have to do it with people. Anything meaningful at all, people have to be involved.
What would your best career advice be for someone who is trying to get into the same field you are in?
I would say be willing to put yourself out there. The one piece of advice I do have for younger folks coming into a field like this: make it a priority to get really good at the things that you like to do because people are going to ask you to do them more. People will ask you to do the things that you are good at, and you will actually want to do them because you like to do them. As far as career-building goes, it’s very practical to get good at things that you enjoy.
What does safety mean to you or do you have a favorite safety tip?
When I think of safety, I think of a space in which you feel free to be vulnerable whether that be creatively, whether that be interpersonally, whether that be professionally, whether it be physically.
What’s the best invention in the world and why?
Is it too cheesy to say the wheel? That’s a pretty good one. It’s kind of hard to top the wheel. I wouldn’t classify fire as an invention. I wouldn’t call math an invention, I would call math a discovery. I’m going to say that in terms of physical inventions by humans go, I think the wheel is a pretty darn good one.
Is there anything that you think I missed or anything else that you’d like to add?
I think a big part of building a healthy, whole-hearted lifestyle and having a good career that you’re passionate about (and has high impact and all that stuff) is important, but it’s not the only thing. There’s this work-life balance that’s also incredibly important. I believe participating in some sort of creative endeavor, whether you classify yourself as a creative person or not, is an important and powerful part of the human experience. Cultivating a strong work-life balance is maybe as important as cultivating a great career, so for folks looking to get into an industry like this, you really do have to find that balance. Striking that balance will be good for you and it will be good for everyone around you. Everyone wins when you’re living a happy life.
For example, I’m the drummer in a band called Sub-Radio and we’re selling out shows, touring nationally and releasing music. We met in high school and have been together for ten years. We just came back from touring up and down the east coast, including a stop at South by Southwest. It was fun and it’s a big part of my work-life balance. It’s nice because I get to be creative there and I get to be creative at work in a different way.