The Ability to Problem-Solve Led Matt McCarlie from a Robotics Lab to Canada Post

Author: Engineering Alumni Office

Posted on Feb 15, 2018

Category: Alumni Spotlight

Matt McCarlie (BScME’08) affirms that applying a problem-solving technique is the same no matter what challenge you face. From UNB’s Robotics and Mechanics Lab as a co-op student to his current position as Manager, National Parcel Process Engineering at Canada Post, the ability to identify and solve problems has been a transferable skill that has served him well.

After graduating from UNB (where he was a varsity wrestler as well as a mechanical engineering and co-op student) Matt was recruited to Curtiss Wright Defense Solutions in Ottawa to do thermal-mechanical design work. The self-proclaimed “east coast boy” from Digby, Nova Scotia, decided to make the leap to Ottawa and get his first taste of engagement in the workforce.  He gained valuable experience that he says complemented his classroom learning of core design principles. “I designed cooling systems for circuit boards we manufactured. We built them, assembled them and tested them in our own production facility, and I learned how to effectively communicate with supply shops for fabrication and even managed to reduce manufacturing costs.”

When he became a licensed professional engineer in 2012, Matt began looking for the next move that would challenge him to learn even more. He took the job of Process Engineer with Canada Post in 2013, where he was responsible for designing, managing and implementing national processes and improvements within Mail Operations. With hundreds of thousands of pieces needing to work efficiently in the network each and every day, it was a challenge, to be sure. “We had to meet service standard targets each shift and define processes so that every employee across the country understood and could implement them effectively.”

Matt also stretched his wings in people management and leadership when he led a team of twelve engineers in the planning, implementation and execution of the Census 2016 processing strategy that generated $44M revenue for Canada Post. “It was a huge project to manage, and I came to appreciate how easy it can be for things to go wrong, and how solid problem-solving can overcome these challenges.”

The rise of eCommerce (such as Amazon, Best Buy and Alibaba) forced Canada Post to become a parcel company, and Matt adapted to the change. He moved to his current position managing a team of parcel process engineers to find gaps and identify improvement opportunities within the operations network for an enhanced customer experience - while also achieving fiscal stability. He communicates potential risks and impacts to senior executives so that they can make informed business decisions. But the responsibility he loves the most is supporting the development of his team members and working to understand individuals better so he can coach them to success. “It’s essential to the success of the team and the business to always be learning and developing.”

Matt says he didn’t realize back when he was a student that an organization like Canada Post hired so many engineers. His team is made up of mechanical, electrical and software engineers, and he works with engineers not only in Headquarters in Ottawa but in many major urban centres across the country. “It’s very fulfilling work. I get to develop, build and get results, from concept to solution.” Now 10 years out from UNB, with experience and a growing family, Matt feel’s it’s time to give back to UNB through mentoring, coaching and potentially hiring students (including for co-op placements). “It’s important to pay it forward and promote the many paths an engineer can take, and give fellow UNB engineers support however I can.”  

If you'd like to become more involved in paying it forward to UNB engineering students and young alumni, contact Kelly Anderson about helping to make industry connections and mentoring.