“I'm impressed by the ability of a simple product to shape society.”
The Seattle area is where I call home, but I have bounced around. My wife and I have lived in four states: Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and California. When I was a kid, I was always building things. Sure I had Lego, but I also had six other varieties of building stuff that I liked to play with. Engineering is what I have always wanted to do. I look at people who say, “I don’t know what I want to do with my life!” and think ‘I have never had that.’ I’ve always known that I want to build cool things and be a part of something that is bigger than punching my card in and out.
Why I Design
In my first design class, I learned about data driven design. We, as engineers, are creative, but we need to better understand customers who are in the developing world. One thing I am constantly thinking about is my experience as a missionary in Brazil. When I am thinking about people in the developing world, I am not just looking at the data that is collected; I am reflecting on the time that I spent with specific people that I was able to interact with in that country. I’ve been inspired by what I saw in Brazil, and that has helped me to create tools for engineers to better design for the developing world.
What I Do
Currently, I am creating a measure for how effective products are in the developing world. What I have found is that people like to exaggerate, especially engineers. So many people say that they are having a positive impact economically, socially, or environmentally, but they never talk about the potential negatives in their product. The measure that we are creating is going to hold engineers more accountable for what they are producing.
Pursuing an MS in Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
BS in Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University – Idaho, Rexburg, Idaho
*These are excerpts from an interview with Phillip Stevenson, compiled by Justin Beard