New Design Program staff member aims to enhance the student experience and involve sponsors early.
The 2018-2019 academic year has heralded several advances for the Engineering Design Program at the University of Arizona, including 10 new interdisciplinary project sponsors and stronger campus partnerships.
In October, the program also introduced Dan Klingberg as its newest team member. As manager of corporate relations, Klingberg cultivates relationships with sponsor companies, whether they’re longtime supporters or brand-new.
“Dan Klingberg’s wealth of knowledge and depth of experience is of huge benefit to the Engineering Design Program team,” said program director Ara Arabyan. “He plays an important role in strengthening and expanding the relationship between the program and our corporate partners.”
A Proud Wildcat Engineer
Klingberg worked for Raytheon for 29 years, so he brings an abundance of industry experience and contacts – including his wife, Cindy, a Raytheon program operations manager, UA alumna and recent Engineering Design Day judge.
He also offers a commitment to optimizing the student experience.
“I’m passionate about helping the students get good projects, because that’s what they remember,” said Klingberg, a 1993 UA electrical engineering alumnus. “When you graduate and you look back, you remember senior design.”
A stalwart UA Engineering supporter himself, Klingberg added this position to his roles as alumnus, active donor and faculty member – he’s been teaching a supply chain management class since January 2018. He likes that teaching lets him hear regular feedback from students about the capstone design program, so he can improve it accordingly.
An Easy Sell and an Unfair Advantage
To Klingberg, selling the idea of sponsoring a project to companies is easy. “They’re getting a team of engineers for nine months at a relatively low cost,” he said.
His focus for improving the program is on helping companies get involved earlier, perhaps by connecting them with first-year students and maintaining a relationship through internships, co-ops and senior capstone projects all the way through to graduation.
“I envision a program that would create a pipeline for senior design projects,” he said. “Every year, there could be a set of guaranteed projects from companies.”
By working more closely with sponsors, he also hopes to gain information to help students prepare for positions at specific companies.
“It might help the students to know a company like Amazon wants them to take certain electives,” Klingberg said. “They can get some guidance from a company about what courses to take. I want our students to have an unfair advantage going into industry.”