We are the engineers of possible: Product Engineer Thriving in Early Talent Program
Rob Swanda knows a lot about biological science.
But what he did not know for sure was what company might be a great match for him after graduating from Cornell University with a Ph.D. in biochemistry. He also has a BS in biology from Syracuse University.
His love for learning and interest in all things math and science fueled his desire to want to connect with and join an organization that was truly making a difference in the healthcare space. A company that has a strong purpose. One that offers learning and professional development, as well as one that emphasizes a growth mindset. Rob found all of this and more at BD.
“I continue to be amazed at how we keep innovating in the Med Tech space. We constantly evaluate how to bring even more solutions to healthcare professionals, how to increase the efficiency of our technologies, all while keeping the patient impact in mind. Not only have I found meaningful work at BD, but a place where I feel I can thrive,” Rob said.
BD = People, Possibilities, and Purpose Fuel the Organization
In November 2021, Rob started with BD in one of the company’s early talent programs called the Technology Leadership Development Program (TLDP). This multi-year rotational program centers on Ph.D. grads within the STEM fields to help strengthen their technical depth and leadership skills – essentially developing the future R&D leaders across BD.
Working in Product Engineering within the BD Pharmaceutical Systems business, Rob appreciates the fact that he gets to work on an array of projects and says the additional knowledge and inner workings of how devices and solutions are developed and go to market have been eye-opening for him.
“Through the TLDP program, I’ve worked closely with sales, marketing, finance, and so many more colleagues, which has helped give me a great perspective on what it takes to operate a large MedTech business like BD. Our reach and depth across the globe are pretty incredible,” said Rob. “The other part that has been valuable is when members of the TLDP cohort gather twice a year. I love hearing about what my peers are working on and learning across the other business segments and units.”
Collaborative and Future-Thinking
When Rob describes the culture, he notes that it’s collaborative and forward-thinking. “The people at BD are always willing to collaborate and support you. I love that I am working alongside new hires to the company, as well as senior leaders who have been here for 20 years. And there is this mutual learning that happens organically. I find myself teaching some of the more tenured associates and leaders’ things and they are providing me knowledge and insight they have from being in their roles for some time. I think this is why innovation really flourishes here. We are always thinking through the next three steps that need to take place for a project to succeed,” said Rob.
Rob was promoted to Staff Engineer in under two years at the company, a testament to his exceptional performance and dedication.
Strong Sense of Belonging
In addition to meaningful work, continuous learning and development, and feeling fulfilled and positive about his rotation at BD, Rob also feels like he belongs at the company. He cites the Associate Resource Groups (ARGs) in helping foster connections to his peers and others throughout the company.
“The ARGs are super helpful for getting outside of your normal workspace. You can connect with a ton of others who share similar interests and passions, and even those who work remotely. I’ve gotten a lot out of participating,” said Rob. “I’d highly recommend participating in an ARG to broaden your network at BD.”
When not working on product engineering projects, Rob enjoys science communications – helping break down complex topics through explainer videos that he shares on YouTube and Twitter. In the past three years, Rob has released more than 150 short scientific explainer videos, which has accumulated more than 30 million views across social media platforms. This work was recently recognized by BD when Rob was awarded the 2023 Jeffrey Sherman Life-Changers Award.
Additionally, he enjoys photography and is the owner of a cat named “Cycloheximide”, which is a common chemical that Rob used during his Ph.D. thesis and studies.
2023 Jeffrey Sherman Life Changer Award
Rob's outstanding achievements were further recognized when he was honored with the 2023 Jeffrey Sherman Life Changer Award* for his commitment to making science accessible and understandable.
His science communication platform reached more than 35 million viewers across social media platforms to educate on critical public health topics. These topics have ranged from infectious diseases, chronic conditions, emerging & innovative therapeutics, and more! In just 2.5 years Rob has interviewed top physicians, guest lectured at several universities, and spent countless amounts of time to dispute scientific misinformation. "This award is a testament to the impact we have made in the lives of people around the world." said Rob.
About the Jeffrey Sherman Life-Changers Award Program
Every year, BD asks its 75,000+ associates to consider nominating an exceptional colleague who is making a lasting impact on those around them, both at work and outside of work. The Jeffrey Sherman Life-Changers Award program launched in 2016 and is named in honor of former BD EVP and General Counsel, Jeffrey Sherman, who passed away following a brave 10-month battle with pancreatic cancer. The annual Life-Changers awards are one of the favorite traditions at BD – because these prestigious awards honor “the best of the best” within the organization.