Tyler McDonald, BS Industrial Technology ’15 (Purdue University), is a government civilian electronics technician for the U.S. Navy at Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center in southern Indiana. The base is the third-largest naval installation in the world, based on geographical area, and employs approximately 5,500 employees, with 900 of them being contractor personnel. The naval installation’s areas of focus include ordnance production, research and development, and the testing and repair of the electronics that support the United States armed forces.
McDonald works with ship-based radar systems. He began his career with a defense contractor and then became a government civilian in 2018.
“Working for the Department of Defense has truly been a step forward in an ever-evolving career,” McDonald said. “It has been nice seeing all of the different aspects of the defense industry because you truly learn what you enjoy doing and are the most skilled at.”
Question: What inspired you to complete your bachelor's degree at Purdue Polytechnic Vincennes?
McDonald: The main inspiration for me to complete my bachelor degree at Purdue University was the amount of opportunities that would be available for me once I graduated. I knew that having a technology degree from a highly accredited university would make me stand out against other possible candidates for job openings. I had always dreamed of being able to attend a respected university when I graduated from high school. Purdue was the perfect opportunity.
Question: How has the value of a Purdue degree helped you out?
McDonald: Students can retain the course material much easier if it is applied to real-world scenarios. The coursework that I completed during my time at Purdue greatly helped to prepare me for the workforce. The wide range of skills that I acquired made me a flexible asset to my current employer. The employment backgrounds of my instructors allowed them to apply real-world experience to the coursework that they presented.
Question: What were some of your favorite classes as an undergrad?
McDonald: I enjoyed nearly all of my classes in the Purdue program but my favorite classes were those in lean manufacturing, automatic information and data capture, supply chain management, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and facilities design.
Question: What were some worthwhile experiences from your undergraduate classes?
McDonald: One of my best experiences was getting to know students from many different majors who had all come together to participate in the Purdue program. It was interesting to learn about the job fields my fellow students would pursue when they graduated.
Question: Where do you see yourself in five years?
McDonald: I would like to continue my career at the naval installation because it is located very close to my family and friends in southern Indiana. Also, I would like to continue to be seen by my upper management at the naval installation as an indispensable asset to the Department of Defense. Ultimately, I would like to become involved in supervisory or managerial positions and move up to those opportunities as they become available.
Question: What advice would you give to undergraduate students?
McDonald: First, I would advise them to always stay focused on their education and to keep a positive attitude. A person’s attitude can determine whether they are going to do well in each course or if they are going to perform poorly. Another good piece of advice is to always work hard in each class whether you believe you are going to use the material or not. Maintaining your grades has a profound impact on your future employment opportunities. An overall good performance in college will set you on the path to future success.
Also, I highly recommend that students look into the various internship programs offered at Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center on a yearly basis. The military facility offers amazing opportunities to those interested in pursuing them.
Question: What else would you like people to know?
McDonald: I greatly enjoyed my time at Purdue University and truly enjoyed having Dr. Tanoos as an instructor and mentor.