Headshot of Eoin O'Donoghue, a senior CAD engineer at Viatris.
Eoin O'Donoghue. Image: Viatris

‘Engineering, particularly the medical device space itself, is a diverse field’

10 Mar 2023

Eoin O’Donoghue, a senior CAD engineer at Viatris, discusses his role and what it’s like to work in the medical device sector.

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Eoin O’Donoghue is a senior computer aided design (CAD) engineer working in the device design and industrialisation (DDI) team with the global device development group at global healthcare company Viatris.

Prior to joining Viatris, O’Donoghue worked as an R&D engineer within the medical device sector. In his current role, he primarily works on CAD activities to support the development of various combination product projects.

‘Working as part of a team to produce a finished product that can have a positive impact on a patient’s quality of life is the most satisfying part of working as an engineer’

If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?

My day typically begins with an email or MS Teams review to catch up on any new communications. This is usually followed by what we call a ‘daily project huddle’. This is where the team plans tasks for the day ahead and I find them particularly useful as it’s an opportunity for anyone in the team to request or offer support where necessary. Ultimately it helps to ensure a balanced workload.

The remainder of my day usually involves working through CAD-specific project tasks and attending team meetings to discuss technical topics in more detail where necessary.

What types of engineering projects do you work on?

The DDI team works cross-functionally on various combination product projects, with a key role in concept development, device design feasibility and injection moulding tool design. This is particularly enjoyable, as I can contribute to the design of a product from concept through to manufacture.

What engineering skills do you use on a daily basis?

3D modelling and 2D drawing are the core skills that I use daily. Effective communication skills are an important complement to these core skills. Considering input from stakeholders from different functional lines within the group is key to translating patient needs and requirements to CAD models and eventually finished products.

What are the hardest parts of engineering, and how do you navigate them?

Changing deadlines and priorities at a group level and within individual projects can be challenging. These can be navigated using available tools, such as team huddles and planner boards, to communicate the need for reprioritisation and ensure adequate resources are in place to meet critical milestones.

Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the day?

As much as possible, I try and assign set amounts of time to each task I am working on and periodically cross-check progress with expectations. I find this helps me to stay focused and complements how project work is organised in MS Planner and through daily meetings. It can also help build confidence in estimating the time required for similar activities in the future.

What skills and tools are you using to communicate daily with your colleagues?

We use Microsoft Teams and Planner to communicate at Viatris. MS Teams facilitates engagement and interaction particularly for meetings where teams are split across multiple sites. MS Planner is used to assign individual tasks for each project. This is useful as it provides a forum for task collaboration and tracking in a concise manner outside of weekly project or functional group meetings.

How has this role changed as the engineering sector has grown and evolved?

This role has evolved with a focus on developing robust CAD data and CAD management systems. Maintaining CAD data that can be quickly and easily modified by design engineers is essential, particularly when working around rapidly changing design considerations during early phase device development and implementing changes to existing products. Robust CAD management is critical with respect to maintaining traceability of products from concept development to commercial devices.

What do you enjoy most about working as an engineer?

Working as part of a team to produce a finished product that can have a positive impact on a patient’s quality of life is the most satisfying part of working as an engineer. At Viatris there is the opportunity to work with a team of engineers and scientists with a diverse skillset. This has helped me gain an appreciation of what is required to empower people worldwide to live healthily at every stage of life and meet patient needs when designing combination products.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in engineering?

I would encourage someone who wants to work in engineering to always be willing to learn new skills and adapt to changing circumstances. Engineering, particularly the medical device space itself, is a diverse field and there are always opportunities to advance or specialise in a given area.

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