3D Printing Spotlight On: Dana McCallum, Head of Production Partnerships, Carbon


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To be a smart company requires a smart approach to business, and a major part of Carbon‘s approach to maintaining its place as a noted smart company is in paying close attention to the people behind its business operations. While partnerships are a critical way to advance technology and see it put into best-use scenarios with key collaborative partners, these relationships don’t simply build themselves; enter Dana McCallum, Carbon’s Head of Production Partnerships.

McCallum, a Cleveland native, has created quite a name for herself through her tireless efforts in building on collaborative opportunities set to advance the overall 3D printing industry. Through work with Carbon, industry associations, and in direct relationships, she is a great example of a motivated, driven professional — and it was great to finally meet her in person last week at TCT Show and connect to talk about her experiences and drive for the future as we continue to highlight the individuals behind the business of additive manufacturing.

Carbon showcased SpeedCell at TCT Show 2017 [Photo: Sarah Goehrke]

Can you tell us briefly about your educational/professional background, and how you came to work in the 3D printing industry?

“I graduated from Miami University in Ohio with a Strategic Communications degree in 2011. During the summer going into my senior year of college, I sought out an internship opportunity and was fortunate enough to have landed [due to mutual connections] a marketing internship at an injection molding company, Thogus. Around the same time I started my internship, Thogus’ CEO, Matt Hlavin, started rp+m, a 3D printing service bureau located in the same building as Thogus. After completing my internship, I was hired on to create the marketing departments for both Thogus, rp+m and their sister company, JALEX Medical.

Not having any background or knowledge on injection molding and 3D printing, I was able to create my own training, which included spending time in program management as a liaison between our customers and operations as well as worked as an operator for a few shifts. I surrounded myself with great mentors, completed daily research on manufacturing and also got heavily involved in the industry.”

Dana at TCT Show 2017 [Photo: Sarah Goehrke]

What was it about Carbon that drew you to work with this company; what keeps it a good fit?

“When first meeting Phil DeSimone at Euromold in 2014, he was showing me videos of the Carbon process. I really questioned whether the videos he was showing were real and at the time there were not many parts to see. The following year at AMUG, I was able to see parts and they were the first parts I had seen in the additive industry that looked like injection molded parts and they didn’t break. The combination of seeing the potential of what Carbon’s technology and materials had, as well as the people and talent in Redwood City drew me to leave Ohio and move across the country with my husband, Tom, one week after we returned from our honeymoon.

What excites me the most about Carbon is we are creating a new category in manufacturing. We are a simplified injection molding machine without the need of a tool, which allows us to produce complex geometries as production parts. We are able to educate the world on a process that can address the production story that people have been trying to accomplish on polymer technologies. My team’s goal is to educate and inspire a new way to manufacture products. It is rewarding to speak with executives and engineers at companies about our process, see their eyes light up and discuss production projects they have been wanting to try, however never had the materials and platform to do so.”

We’ve heard the development of the SpeedCell system was in response to customer requests for more features; what has the response been since the introduction?

“We have had a very positive response on the SpeedCell launch. When creating the M2 and Smart Part Washer, we made sure to keep our focus on production. Having a larger build volume and a faster way to clean parts will increase throughput and reduce labor costs. In addition, we have cell layouts where they can be automated with robots. We want our customers to be focused on designing production parts, and we [Carbon] will provide the technology, software and materials to make everything a reality.”

SpeedCell [Image: Carbon]

There’s a lot to unpack in the announcement of Carbon’s work with adidas; can you share some of your thoughts on that partnership?

“The partnership with adidas has been fantastic. Talk about a talented team. Within one year and dozens of iterations, adidas was able to bring a new shoe to market using additive. To give some insight, typically they can only complete few iterations of a particular shoe design before going into production due to limitations of the traditional process. Before the end of this year there will be thousands of Futurecraft 4D’s available for purchase. Next year, product featuring 4D midsoles will reach 100,000, and that scaling will continue in the years to come. Together, we figured out a way to make the process faster and less expensive than their current manufacturing methods.”

Futurecraft 4D shoes shown at RAPID + TCT 2017 [Photo: Sarah Goehrke]

2017 has already been a year of big announcements from Carbon, what can we expect in the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018? Can you share any thoughts on what else is to come in the future?

“There are a lot of exciting things happening at Carbon with new materials on the horizon as well as software updates to help with our printing process and also from the design perspective. Being the Head of Production Partners, I work daily with our Production Partners [service bureaus and contract manufacturers] on go-to-market strategies and finding new applications within their customers for our technology. Our current production partners have been increasing production programs and we will be able to tell a few of those stories in the near future. In addition, my role is to strategically identify additional production partners to bring on as an extension of us. As we continue to expand here in the United States as well internationally [U.K., Germany, Ireland, etc.] we will be announcing our new partners before the end of 2017 and into 2018.”

What led you to join the Board of Directors with AMUG as Vice President and now Deputy Vice President?

“Over three years ago, I was sitting in a room full of AMUG members and was nominated by Terry Hoppe [formerly worked at Stratasys] for the Vice President’s position. I was elected as one of the Vice Presidents along with Steve Deak from GE Aviation. After being in the Vice President role for 3 years, we have brought on 2 new Vice Presidents. My new role will focus on advising our new Vice Presidents and help AMUG strategically grow. The Vice President’s role allowed me to learn about the additive supply chain [companies + people], create an extensive network and work with a great board to help provide education and training on the latest technology, software and materials for the entire industry.”

This 3D printing workshop, held last year at Carbon, was led by a group called Miss CEO (with CEO Nita Kaushal) and several companies participated including Sculpteo + Women in 3D printing (Nora Toure) and Barbara Hanna from Cyant who also puts on the #3DTalk events with Wi3DP. Dana feels this picture represents her “passion on how we should be spending our time educating young kids on AM and manufacturing. In this particular case it was really special because it was focused on young girls, which will help decrease diversity issues in the future.”

What are your general observations regarding diversity in the 3D printing industry? How do you feel women are represented?

“Diversity in manufacturing as a whole, additive included, has a lot of room to improve. There are simply not enough women involved. I can say since joining the industry in 2010, the number of women at conferences, tradeshows and meetings have increased. My belief is if we put an emphasis on educating children on manufacturing and viable career options starting at a young age in elementary school, we can make a movement in increasing diversity within our industry.”

Selfie! (L-R) Me, Dana, and Nora Touré at TCT Show 2017

What do you see as being key to growth in the 3D printing industry as it matures?

“The number and variety of materials available are absolutely key for all additive platforms, especially as we are focusing on using additive for production platforms. In addition, we need to continue to address economics issue to grow. Both have been areas many companies have been trying to do. It has taken awhile for us to get there, and I think we will start seeing these changes happening very soon.”

Women are appearing more frequently on panels at 3D printing-focused events; how do you see this upward trend affecting industry participation?

“Since I began in the industry, one area I look at when seeking to attend various conferences and tradeshows is the ratio of women to men for speakers or panel participants. As you can imagine, more often than not I would rarely find women listed. While some people might find this discouraging, I look at it as an opportunity to change. Nore Touré, General Manager at Sculpteo and Founder at Women in 3D Printing, has been a leader in these efforts. When planning AMUG 2017, I suggested having a women panel. There were several board members who helped make this happen and a great group of women who participated. While there has been an increase in women on panels there is still a lot of work to do. We need everyone’s commitment and effort to get more women up on stage at industry events. It will help bring diversity to conversations and encourage other women in the field to get involved more.”

Dana (far right) was one of four women on the #3DTalk Birmingham panel discussing materials in 3D printing, hosted at TCT Show and co-hosted by Women in 3D Printing and Cyant [Photo: Sarah Goehrke]

What advice would you have for a young woman looking to start a career in tech today?

“Try it! It’s incredible to be a part of an industry that is constantly evolving, growing and creating the future of the way things are made. We need women [and men] from all disciplines and backgrounds to help flourish our industry.”

“Try it” is probably the advice we’re seeing most frequently as the industry grows and potential participants consider their career options. 3D printing is growing from a business perspective, and with educational efforts increasing, a more diverse, more formally educated workforce is gearing up to be the next massive wave of impact. Current industry participants like Dana McCallum act as beacons to highlight the possibilities in this field for a growing array of individuals from a vast variety of backgrounds.

If you are interested in sharing your story, or know a woman we should get in touch with for this series, please reach out any time. Send us an email or connect on Twitter. We’re looking forward to sharing more stories about women in 3D printing. Find all the features in this series here.
We are also featuring educators focusing on training and teaching 3D printing skills; see all these features here.

Share your thoughts on this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or in the Facebook comments below.


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