Kyle McLellan, DISHER
Kyle McClellan, partner at DISHER, has been with the company for 17 years.
When Kyle McLellan’s wife was accepted into the residency program at Central Maine Medical Center last year, he’d been working for DISHER, a product development, talent attraction and business consulting firm, in Michigan for 16 years. He’d joined right out of college, and was the company’s first electronics engineer, helping to set up the electronics lab, establish a growth strategy and build the team.
He wanted to stay with DISHER, so he became the company’s first remote employee.
So far, it’s worked out well. “My job has morphed some from a very technical role back in Michigan, to a combination of technical work and business development out here.”
McLellan likes the variety. “One day I’m out visiting a prospective client and learning about their new idea for a product that won’t hit the shelves for another year or two, and then the next day I’m on the computer turning their design into reality,” he says. “The day after that I might be in the lab debugging a circuit board that’s malfunctioning, or writing code for a phone app.”
He’s also learned engineers must be social to succeed. “There’s an old stereotype that engineers like to hide away in a dark corner of the office and only come out to get more coffee,”he says. “That’s simply not true. A good design depends on getting the right people in a room and sharing ideas.” The company’s process includes brainstorming “to help ideate new ideas for internal projects, clients or anyone with an idea.”
“Make sure that nobody pigeonholes you into a specific job too early.”
— Kyle McLellan: Partner, DISHER
“I really enjoy participating in these sessions, because you get to see the creative side of engineering at its finest.” Networks like the Manufacturers Association of Maine “are integral to getting connected with the right people to help you bring the best possible design to the market.” Those who don’t network “end up late to market with a product that nobody wants to buy, because they failed to get input from industrial designers, marketing, manufacturing, or other engineers.”
McLellen has only been in Maine for a year, but he’s active in the community, particularly with robotics, serving on the Robotics Institute of Maine board of directors and chairing the Team Support Committee. He’s the FIRST Robotics Mentor for St Dominic’s Academy in Auburn, and he’s also a member of the Auburn Community Concert Band and was a Top Gun L/A Mentor for the 2017 season.
That flexibility extends to his advice to young people starting out in the job market. “Make sure that nobody pigeonholes you into a specific job too early,” he says.
That outlook doesn’t stop with the job search. “There are so many interesting directions to go in engineering these days that it’s hard to say where I’ll end up. One thing I’ve learned by working at DISHER is that I can’t see myself pinned down to working in a single industry…I personally thrive on variety, and I’d love to stay at the leading edge of product development.” ■