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Q&A with Nick Edwards: MCE’s newest Principal & Operations Committee Member

10 min read


Jason Petermann,Nick Edwards


A graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison and a ten year veteran of mechanical engineering, Nick provides engineering consulting services to many of Minnesota’s largest companies. Jason Petermann, Principal of Operations at Michaud Cooley Erickson (MCE), supported Nick at the start of his career and witnessed Nick become a powerhouse engineer. Through this article we will get to see both of their perspectives to gather a deeper understanding of Nick.

Jason: How would you describe Nick?

Nick is incredibility fun and engaging to work with, and you realize that very quickly when you are lucky enough to work with him. He has a great balance of exceptional technical skills, creativity, and fun energy, which is uncommon to find in an engineer. As we know, things don’t always go as planned in the construction business, and Nick has an uncanny ability to bring calmness to difficult situations. With this level-headedness, he’s able to bring clarity to resolve issues in a way that brings all the interested parties together. Nick is very client centric and when you meet him you can tell he is invested in the long-term success of his clients by figuring out creative ways to help them meet their challenges.

Jason: How has Nick achieved success in the healthcare and science & technology markets?

Nick has found success by not only using his mechanical engineering background to solve challenges, but also draws on his even keeled and grounded presence.  This allows him to be open minded and gather different options and multiple solutions for a problem. Then, he has the wisdom to make an accurate assessment of what solution meets the needs of a client best.

Jason: What are you most excited about for Nick to join the Operations Committee?

As with any addition to a team, a new individual will bring another perspective and fresh insights based on their own individual background and experiences. Nick will add to our vision and evolution for the company. He will be a great asset to the Operations Committee because of his ability to take a large complex issue and distill it down to its essence, which makes solving problems much more feasible.

Additionally, because healthcare and science & technology are a part of MCE’s core market sectors, it’s important to have someone with knowledge and expertise of the unique needs of those sectors. Nick will provide the time, attention, and insights these valuable sectors deserve.

Jason: Stepping past MCE’s 75th Anniversary, how do you envision the future for MCE in relation to Nick?

Nick will have an impact on the future of the company. Nick already has a solid foundation of project and team management experience, and he will continue to grow in those areas. I’m confident Nick will continue to solve challenging problems for our clients, build a collaborative team culture, and develop an environment where everyone shares and takes pride in our success.

Nick: Who inspires you?

It may sound cliché but of course my parents. They are two very different people who have affected me in two very different ways. My dad is very left brained; an analytical chemist who takes a straightforward approach. My mom works at a church in program management and counseling for underserved communities. Their minds are independent of one another, with contrasting approaches to everything. Even though they are so different, they are an incredible pair. What this shows me is that different perspectives and different approaches can make an awesome team. I feel I’m a good mix of both as I too am analytical, but I also have a lot of my mom in that I love to listen and connecting with people in my job. Mom is such a grounding influence for me to appreciate different perspectives, to understand everyone is human, and everyone is their own person with their own lived experience. In essence they have always taught me “to do the right thing because it’s the right thing”.

The other person who inspires me every day is my wife, Emily. She approaches everything with such vigor and is all in, all the time. By trade she is an accomplished math teacher, but it’s the relationships she built with our kids that really affected her in such strong ways because she was so good at connecting with people and really truly cared. When we started having kids, she decided being at home with the children was what she needed to throw her everything at. That was a big change, but she just dives into everything. Every family is different and for us, this is the right way and has been awesome for our family. She made such life changes on a dime and to dive in both feet to very different things, continue to evolve as a person, and start to pursue new things; it’s inspiring to see that drive and motivation. It takes a special person to be a math education major, a teacher, and to go into dealing with two toddlers all day.  Emily is 100% of that.

Nick: What do you love most about your job?

I get to make a difference. I love working at MCE because I always knew I could, would, and will have the ability to make my voice heard, influence how we do business, and have the aptitude to make change and embrace our values. Alongside this, I love my job because I can make a difference in the world too. Our medical device clients are a good example. I’m not putting a device into someone’s body to save a life, but I get to be part of the process and understand what that device means to someone.  I get to be a part of the team that ensures the safety and reliability of the environment the device is built in.

Nick: Tell me about your background and what got you into science & technology and healthcare?

I went to University of Wisconsin-Madison for engineering and knew I wanted to be in a technical realm and to work on projects within a big picture. Call it luck or fate, but I was able to join MCE in the science and technology market which I grew to love and appreciate. It challenges me because its such a high tech sector much like healthcare.

What I love about this industry is that not one thing is rocket science, but together the whole gets to be quite complicated. I learned I’m able to break things down and attack individual pieces.

I chose to stay within healthcare and science & technology market because I love the dynamic and ever-changing projects for clients with many different functions. What 3M does is completely different than what Medtronic does and is so different from what Mayo Clinic does and then General Mills makes Cheerios. I have this opportunity to see all these different project scopes with incredible clients and it’s something new every day. It is all challenging in its own way. It’s a perfect mix for me as I get to tackle technical problems while thriving on variety.

Nick: What are you most excited about in taking on more of a leadership role?

Through different roles at MCE you manage different tasks during different levels as you grow. Now as a Principal I have the opportunity to manage not only projects and a team but the entire economics of entire sectors. There is the flexibility to add my own approach to strategy, strengthen the team to be autonomous and build projects through creativity to drive forward.

To connect with Nick, reach out to him on LinkedIn!

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