Bret is the Director of Mechanical Engineering at Synapse, responsible for ensuring that the mechanical engineering team is delivering efficient, high-quality product development consulting services to meet clients’ needs. In this role, he orchestrates capability expansion and best practice development initiatives, contributes to project proposals, participates in design reviews, assigns team members to projects, manages interviewing and hiring activities to grow the team, and occasionally contributes technically to projects for our clients. Bret has also been developing a comprehensive and flexible systems engineering approach and toolkit to help our teams deliver more effectively within cost and time constraints while meeting challenging product quality and feature set targets.
Bret joined the Synapse family in 2010, and has worked as a mechanical engineer, a project manager, and a mechanical engineering lead on projects like the Philips AirFloss, the Viableware RAIL, and a number of 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. He honed his leadership and ‘geotechnical engineering’ skills in this role, but is most proud of his growth in the backcountry culinary arts.
Before his hiatus with WTA, Bret worked at Slipstream Design in Seattle with a small team of outstanding industrial designers and mechanical engineers. He was able to work 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.