Karly Nettleton is a mechanical designer, artist, mother, and our Women in Engineering recipient for the month of August!
Karly’s passion for design started at a young age; “As a kid, I was very interested in how things worked, a naturally curious child. I enjoyed putting together model cars as well as dinosaurs, but also had a passion for architecture.”
She knew what she was interested in, but when it came time to pick a major for college, she couldn’t decide which aspect of design she should to study. Karly made an excellent decision, and pursued an interdisciplinary route in engineering design! “When I was a kid I used to sit there, and design little houses and things to go in it, so architecture seemed like something that I really wanted to pursue. But as I got older, it didn’t hold my attention. I became more interested in the mechanical side of things because I liked to put things together and objects that captured movement were more appealing to me. I’d always liked to draw and assemble things, so it went hand in hand.”
Currently, Karly is a Mechanical Designer for Dynamic Manufacturing Solutions. She is half of a team responsible for assuring the accuracy of the releases of engineering data to the DMS factory for fully half of the total revenue stream of the company. She also redesigned the ECO process for DMS, allowing full understanding of the impact and cost of changes from an organization wide perspective. She is excited and always willing to jump in and assist in any way possible on new projects the company takes on.
“I’m a very detailed person so naturally processes and checklists play into daily routines. Engineering is the first step in the manufacturing process and it has to be accurate so the company can be profitable and create that great experience for the customer. I enjoy creating and helping to further define processes within the company.”
She has also worn many different hats for the company; “I’ve been very blessed with my DMS family for allowing me to tackle multiple roles. When my daughter Genevieve was first diagnosed with Leukemia, it was a really rough time. They helped to fit me into roles that allowed me the flexibility to be there for her. I’m pretty well rounded now in sales, finance, planning, and engineering. Engineering is my home though, it’s where I excel the most and utilize my skillset.”
Karly has had many different roles in her professional career including: project engineer, ECO planner, forecaster, and even materials coordinator! Her past experiences and roles have only added to her extensive skillset which, she says, has “helped me understand the full functionality of manufacturing from customer print to produced product.”
She noticed early on that the ratio of men to women in the engineering industry was imbalanced. In fact, her first CAD experience was in a high school drafting class where she was the only girl! “We were using the old school digitizers in class for the first few weeks and quickly got the hang of typing commands after that. I was the only girl in my class if I remember right, but I had a girlfriend taking the class at a different time. We really enjoyed what we were learning and thought the software was a lot of fun.”
When asked if she had any advice for girls wanting to get into engineering, she responded; “Go for it! Let your inventive creativity guide you. Don’t define yourself with any gender roles. Look at all the engineering marvels around you in daily life and think about how they were designed and built. Lastly, don’t ever be afraid to ask questions. You want to go into engineering, which means that you already have the capability to expand into that and really pick apart what information you need. I know there were many times where I was confused about certain way something may have gone together. I wanted to know more about it, but I didn’t ask, and I regret that because it could have been an interesting thing for me to learn. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you need more information. You will feel very accomplished when you can design what you envision.”
When Karly has spare time, she enjoys giving back to a cause that is very close to her heart; “I am involved with the kid’s cancer community as my daughter had leukemia. She is currently in remission, and now that she is done with treatments, we are beginning to volunteer our time to help other kids going through these rough times.”
Another passion of Karly’s is art, mostly painting! When asked if she had any goals for the next 5 years, she told us she wants to combine her 2 passions and create a non-profit; “I have a strong desire to utilize my passion for art to do some good in the community. I want to help give back to all the love and support my daughter received when she was going through her treatments. I hope to start a non-profit for cancer kids locally to help them develop their creativity as a means of expressing themselves. I would love to do art gallery nights, bring musicians to the hospital to play for the kids that can’t get out, have an engineer come in show some of the latest concept designs”. I would love to be able to inspire them and encourage them to be creative, and express themselves through all these difficult times.” Of course, her idea also has some engineering aspects as well; “I would love to help think up new ideas and inventions; future artists, engineers, authors, and musicians. I would love for them to use the SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids!”