A little bit about Bert Uschold...

I grew up in Tonawanda, NY, a suburb of Buffalo. (The background in my portrait is the mist of nearby Niagara Falls). When I started high school, I thought I was going to be an architect. During my junior year I changed my mind to mechanical engineering and haven't changed since. I attended the University of Detroit, now called Detroit-Mercy, and graduated in 1988.

It was at my second job at Ethicon in Cincinnati where I first got involved developing medical devices and learned about injection molding. It was a great experience because of two things happening simultaneously. First, Ethicon decided they were not going to be second in the market to US Surgical in the stapler market. Just as important was at that time the field of laparoscopic surgery, or less invasive surgery in general, was really starting to take off. I was number four of what turned into about 120 engineers that were added to the company.

After about three years, the company decided to have layoffs and I was one of many victims. With a decent severance package in hand, I decided to take time off from the professional world and work as a volunteer teacher in rural Kentucky. That one-year commitment turned into more than two years where I helped about a dozen adults get their GED and started the leadership program for teenagers. Most importantly, there I met the woman who is now my wife and many other great friends.

My first job after volunteering was at Becton Dickinson in New Jersey. It was actually a situation similar to that at Ethicon where BD decided they did not want to be second fiddle to Novo-Nordisk in insulin pens. Unfortunately, BD was not as successful in their efforts as Ethicon was and after a few years there were layoffs, although I was not one of them. However, I felt I would be happier in my career at a small product development firm and so I moved to Massachusetts to work for Radius Product Development, then a part of Nypro, which is now Jabil.

After eight mostly happy but sometimes stressful years, I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and left to develop a product that would help cyclists not drive into their garage with a bike on the roof of their car. (No, I never did it, but I saw my father do it to my bike). Did I mention my wife was eight months pregnant with our 3rd child? After a few months, I sadly discovered that in my patent search, I somehow missed a patent that was essentially the same as my concept. So, I went to Plan B of doing contract work. I was blessed in that I was usually managing overlaps of work and not gaps. It was during that time that I created Powerstaxx tolerance analysis software. The results of that effort can be described as having not many feathers in my cap but a few very nice ones, in that Eli Lilly and Battelle Memorial Institute were among my customers.

Having almost eight years under my belt, I had had enough of the uncertainties of the contractor life and went back to work at my previous employer Radius. About two years after that, they moved the office and I decided to change jobs instead of signing up for a one hour commute. I spent a little over four years at Avery Dennison building my manufacturing chops while maintaining my product development skills. Unfortunately, that position evolved into one that was mostly project management and not very much engineering.

So, I have again hung my shingle as a contract engineer, seeking interesting short term opportunities but also keeping an eye out for potential permanent positions, ideally at a small startup. What do I do for fun? Mostly road cycling, a little camping, and doing home improvements (insert Tim Taylor grunt here). Finally, in the fall of 2022, I started the five year process of becoming a deacon in the Catholic Church. God willing, I will be ordained in 2027, the same year my youngest son graduates from high school.