As a Principal Systems Engineer, Bret helps teams navigate the early-stage ambiguity of product development by building the connective tissue between the business problem or need our clients are presenting us, the value proposition our concepts must provide for critical stakeholders, and creative, technically sound product architectures. He works with his teams through concept development to coordinate learning work by prioritizing risks, helping develop effective technical and usability mitigation experiments, evaluating designs, and characterizing tradeoffs to identify key insights and inform major product definition decisions. In more advanced detailed design and NPI phases, he helps ensure the product delivered to the market will represent the target value proposition by coordinating integration builds, coordinating verification of product performance and certification readiness, and planning design validation activities collaboratively with design partners and client teams.
Bret joined the Synapse family in 2010. Prior to his current role, he was the Director of Mechanical Engineering for 6 years. Before that, he worked as a mechanical engineer, a project manager, and a mechanical engineering lead on projects like the Philips AirFloss, the Viableware RAIL, and several small, highly integrated consumer electronics devices.
Immediately prior to joining Synapse, Bret served as a Crew Leader at Washington Trails Association, leading volunteer trail maintenance crews on week-long "volunteer vacations" in some of the most beautiful parts of the Washington backcountry.
Before his hiatus with WTA, Bret worked at Slipstream Design in Seattle with a small team of outstanding industrial designers and mechanical engineers. He worked on a diverse set of products, including ski pole adjustment mechanisms, snowboard binding components, medical treatment devices, and lab equipment for cleaning rodent cages in research institutions.
While earning his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Olin College, Bret joined the engineering team at Seahorse Power Company (now BigBelly Solar) to design prototypes of the first solar-powered garbage compactors, which are now seen on street corners in cities around the country. He also worked in Olin’s fabrication shop, building valuable skills in machine operations, teaching, and design.