Andrew Poterala

Andrew Poterala, BSE-ME/MSE-IOE ‘17
Engineering Global Leadership Industry Chair
Student Advisory Board Member

Growing up in Northville, Mich., Andrew Poterala was a Michigan State University Spartan fan though and through. Wisely, he chose to attend the University of Michigan and the Tauber Institute to become the man he is today. He’s still working on the loyalty issue.

Q: What drew you to U-M and the Tauber Institute?

A: The most amazing part of the University of Michigan to me is the across-the-board excellence.

Looking through various colleges within U-M you will consistently find nationally ranked top-10 programs working on amazing things.  As an incoming freshman this gives you peace of mind knowing that regardless of what degree you end up pursuing, it will be coming from a university that is one of the very best in that field.  More importantly, this wide ranging high level of performance allows world class cross-disciplinary relationships, such as the Tauber Institute, that consistently produce students uniquely talented and extremely desirable.  

The Tauber Institute caught my eye during my sophomore year at U-M.  I was in the middle of a ton of Mechanical Engineering classes and while they were interesting, I felt that I was ignoring development of a huge part of myself.  I always wanted to be able to be the bridge between the business and engineering environments. After reading about Tauber, I realized it would also expose me to some of the brightest minds, most impactful ideas, and strongest alumni groups U-M has to offer.  Now that I am in the program, every class still seems almost surreal to me but I am very excited for what is ahead in my Tauber team project!

Q: What is it about the field of Engineering/Operations that is exciting to you?

A: The crossover between Engineering/Operations provides a huge opportunity to change how companies are run for the better.  In an increasingly globalized economy it is vital that corporations not only implement smart engineering practices, but also that their supply chain and corporate structure are set up efficiently. Having a background where you can tie together engineering concepts and operations allows you to tackle some of the biggest issues currently facing Corporate America. In the process, you have the ability to interact and learn from a wide variety of people; CEO’s all the way to factory line workers. Additionally, in the ever-evolving global workplace no one work day will be the same. I am excited to be continually challenged by new practices, views, and regulations throughout my career.

Q: What are you expecting/looking forward to regarding your Tauber team project?

A: I am expecting one of the biggest challenges/opportunities of my life out of my Tauber team project.  Regardless of which project I get matched up with, I will have an opportunity to make a massive impact at that company. I will be jumping into a project that I have very little-to-no knowledge of and will be expected to excel tremendously.  That is extremely motivating to me.  It will take a lot of hard work but the experience and lessons learned will be unmatched by any of my previous experiences and will prepare me extremely well for the road ahead.  Most importantly, hopefully my team and I can make a lasting impression on our project company that leads to continued Tauber support in the future! 

Q: Why is the SAB an important group to be part of?

A: The Tauber Institute is an amazing organization that can provide unparalleled opportunities to students.  One of the biggest benefits in my mind is the amazing network around you. Therefore, upon being elected to SAB I really wanted to use the opportunity to give students as many chances as possible to make themselves known within the “Tauber Family”.  Whether it is social events with peers, or information sessions with alumni I hope, along with the rest of the SAB, that we can provide an opportunity for all students to feel comfortable and welcomed within the Tauber community. Additionally, the visibility to the upper tiers of Tauber Institute management exposes me to some of the brightest minds at U-M. This exposure allows a greater understanding of how the program is run and lets me learn from people with vastly more experience than me.

Q: What would your classmates be surprised to learn about you?

A: I am actually a huge Michigan State athletics fan. Growing up my mom and dad both worked at MSU and one of the perks of my dad’s job was that he would get tickets to a lot of sporting events. Consequently, throughout my childhood I would tag along with him and I really got to know the various coaches and players.  As an example, for my 8th birthday I went to a Michigan State basketball game with some buddies and got to go hangout with the team in the locker room after the game. I was brainwashed from an early age and have never been able to snap out of it!

Andrew Poterala plans how to help his team improve in the next round of the 2016 Tauber Pit Crew Challenge.
Andrew proudly wears Michigan blue at the 2016 Pit Crew Challenge.  His team placed first in their round!  L to R: Osbert Fu (MSE-IOE '17), Vikram Raghavan (MEng Auto/MSCM '17), Lauren Bilbo (BSE/MSE-EE '17), and Andrew Poterala (BSE-ME/MSE-IOE '17).