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The University Magazine

On the job with Jessie Gmeinder

Less than a week after commencement, Jessie Gmeinder ’07 (mechanical engineering) had packed, left Rochester and entered the “real world” at what probably seemed like, well, the speed of light. In early June, Gmeinder began a position in upstream technology with the Corporate Engineering Technologies Lab of Procter & Gamble Co. (“P&G”) in Cincinnati. We talked to her about her new job.

What’s your title?
Engineer. P&G doesn’t believe in fancy titles. They believe in working together to get the job done.

People know P&G as the world’s largest manufacturer of everyday household products like shampoo, toothpaste and laundry detergent. What types of products do you work on?
I work in FemCare on Tampax.

What do you do?
I’m responsible for the equipment that makes the product the consumer buys. I’m looking at gears, belts and servo motors that make the process work. I understand that people get a funny expression when they find out I’m a tampon engineer, but I’m doing real engineering work—finite-element analysis, systems modeling, cost analysis, risk analysis, statics and dynamics. The end product is just that: a “product.” It still has to obey the laws of physics. It’s no different than making jet engines or running a refinery – jobs I turned down to work for P&G. P&G’s products touch lives around the world every day.

What’s “upstream technology”?
It’s a link between new product initiatives that come out of R&D (based on consumer research) and manufacturing. Before making a major change in a manufacturing plant, we run tests and get the process right and up to speed. It’s my job to figure out what equipment is needed.

How’s it going so far?
The job is great! I hit the ground running and am happy with the heavy responsibilities handed to me. I was put on a big cost-saving initiative and within weeks made my first trip to the plant to learn about the business and our manufacturing process. I’m the type of person who likes to roll up her sleeves and jump right in, and P&G is letting me do that.

You skipped summer vacation, and it was a long season for the hometown Cincinnati Reds. Even so, how do you like the “Queen City”?
Cincinnati is a wonderful Midwestern city. I moved into Hyde Park, the neighborhood for young professionals with lots of people out and about enjoying the weather and ambiance in our l little square. I’ve been exploring the neighborhood, and I joined an Ultimate Frisbee team. I have a few friends here who have been helping keep me entertained, so I’m not sorry about missing summer vacation – and I’m a bigger fan of the arts than the Reds (plus, P&G is a big supporter of the arts). It’s been beautiful – I chose a good place!