dalton hamburgOur Leadership Academy Alumni Spotlight Series continues this summer with Dalton Hamburg '18, who currently works as a 777X Equipment Engineer at Boeing in Everett, Washington. Dalton was a mechanical engineering major, and a member of the Leadership Academy beginning in his freshman year at OSU. He was also involved with the ASME student chapter at OSU, as well as a College of Engineering student ambassador. Read on to learn more about Dalton, his experiences in industry, and what he gleaned from his time in the Leadership Academy!

How did you first get involved with the Leadership Academy? 

I had spent a good portion of my freshman year with little luck finding an engineering group that provided students with opportunities for growth that worked for me. I found the Leadership Academy late into my freshman year and remember having a meeting with Scott Paja in his old Dearborn office after I initially applied. After speaking with him I knew it would be a great fit.

What advice would you give to students who are in the Leadership Academy, or who are new to it?

Stay committed to the endeavor of constantly challenging yourself, even when your situation is difficult. School, work, and life is not easy if you do it right, and that is also what makes it so gratifying to succeed. The Leadership Academy is a great step towards becoming a better engineer and leader.

What were some of your favorite parts of the program? What did you enjoy?

I enjoyed and learned many lessons from the various events I attended, but the Seattle trip where we toured Boeing, McKinstry, Microsoft, and Amazon was both memorable and helped guide me towards my job after college. That trip helped 'drop the curtain,' clearing some of the mysticism that surrounds the larger companies and made them seem more achievable and realistic. Without having toured Boeing campus and spoken to some of the alumni working there, I am not sure if I would have had the 'right' to apply thinking that there were many other of my OSU peers that were part of groups like AIAA. They used to seem more deserving of jobs in the aerospace industry where I had before shown no interest, but I quickly learned it is the history of a good engineering mind-set and work ethic that companies look for in new graduates.

Can you describe your title and the work you do at Boeing?

I was initially hired as an Equipment and Tool Engineer at Boeing for the 777X airplane program in the Composite Wing Center. In that role I supported new and existing production system areas by acquiring/designing and supporting complex assets. My primary duties had been focused on equipment reliability, readying assets for production, and troubleshooting equipment issues. After a time in the Composite Wing Center I was accepted into the Boeing Additive Manufacturing Production Engineering Rotation Program where I learned design and production fundamentals of metallic and polymer 3D printing. Recently having finished the program, I am now back in the CWC working on more complex assets that have a greater impact on the production system. In the CWC, I have one of the few engineering jobs where I get to be on the factory floor making an immediate impact while also doing advanced technical work.

In what ways have you been able to incorporate some lessons from the Leadership Academy into your current work at Boeing?

The work that I do requires excellence in all the pillars of the Leadership Academy to be effective and drive positive change for the production system. If you cannot work effectively with peers, value each other's perspectives, be willing to take the initiative, and lead with honor and good candor in any engineering role, then re-think what being an engineer stands for, and rise to the challenge.

As you’ve been working professionally, what have been some opportunities and challenges for you in your role?

Patience is a virtue I struggle with constantly. Always being challenged and challenging myself during college paid dividends, but for some people life has slowed down a bit more. Age differences pose many challenges but also present some of the best opportunities for learning.

How do you think the Leadership Academy most impacted you?

Everything can be built upon; leadership skills are not inherent to any individual. Some aspects of leadership may come natural to particular individuals, but it is those who make conscious efforts that achieve greater strides in becoming the best kind of leaders.

Any last thoughts about anything (Leadership Academy; post-grad life; etc.) you would like to share?

Think about graduate school early if that is something you are considering. Although I do not have much free time, I am lucky to say in a few years I will have earned my Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington, courtesy of Boeing.


Dalton Hamburg works at The Boeing Company in Everett, Washington. While working full-time, he is also working toward a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington