Women in MINT are “important,” says co-founder of mechatronics company Ann Arbor
ANN ARBOR, MI – Mickey Swortzel’s Ann Arbor-based mechatronic control company knows how to get things moving.
Now the New Eagle co-founder wants to move the needle enough to get more women into engineering.
The company’s engineers take electronics and software and apply them to mechanical systems. These could be vehicle brakes that rely on a system to detect dry or wet road surfaces, or stop the vehicle in a certain way, or a control system that works with electric door locks, electric windows, wiper sensors, trunk release, power steering and autonomous functions .
“If you get in a car today and drive down the street, the sidewalk is dry and your brakes have a mechatronic system, there is a mechanical system that stops the car,” Swortzel said. “The electronics will feel the dry road surface. The software says, “When dry, stop this way.”
The New Eagle team does not design cars, but systems for autonomous machines, military vehicles, and electric and hybrid vehicles. Engineers can even swap out parts to convert a vehicle to hybrid or electric vehicles, Swortzel added.
The industry lacks key figures, however: women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), said Swortzel, who has a degree in economics and an MBA.
“We believe adding women to STEM is important,” said Swortzel.
The company aims to support robotics and other student-led high school and university teams to encourage and populate women in STEM, she added.
“I think there is an intimidating factor as a non-engineer considering that for non-STEM graduates, the person doesn’t matter in technology. … We work with clients all over the world and they have financial, operational and marketing needs. The company has to be solid as a whole, ”said Swortzel.
Her job at New Eagle was to grow the company with her husband and co-founder, Rich Swortzel, whom she calls a visionary. The couple co-founded the company in 2008.
“Often the visionary has great ideas, but they cannot implement them. I think i’m making it real. I’ll make it possible, ”said Swortzel. “I am heavily involved in recruiting where we can find the right people.”
More than half of the team is made up of engineers, but Swortzel emphasized that there are not enough women in the industry.
“But that shows what the senior year has been over the past few decades. I think the greatest value for women in STEM is that there is no industry that does not have a human resource component. I think we have a unique perspective on customer management, organizational skills and communication that is sometimes more natural with women and has definitely been a lack of STEM training in the past few decades, ”said Swortzel.
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