Originally from Bourne, MA, Dennis graduated with his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University this past May. In school he was heavily involved in the rocket club as a project lead and head lab technician. Throughout his academic career, he gained an abundance of real-world engineering experience by completing three co-op internships at Instron, Fikst Product Development, and Essential Design. Following graduation, Dennis rejoined the engineering team at Essential Design to continue pursuing his interest in engineering consulting and product development.
1. What should people know about you?
“I’m a tinkerer. Like most engineers, I love knowing how things work, and it’s really gratifying when I successfully create or fix something to solve a problem. If I couldn’t be an engineer, I think I would enjoy being a machinist or a woodworker because in addition to solving problems, I love to work with my hands. In addition to product development, I have a strong interest in the aerospace and electric vehicle industries. Some fun facts about me would be that I’ve never broken a bone, my favorite meal is chicken parmigiana, I think fire trucks are really cool, and I like to sort my M&M’s by color before I eat them.”
Dennis at the top of Machu Picchu this past May. He travelled to celebrate his college graduation!
2. You were an intern at Essential last year as part of your University’s co-op program. Why did you choose to join Essential full time??
“There were plenty of reasons for me to return to Essential. During my internship, I saw a lot of opportunity for personal and professional growth at Essential. Everyone here is really good at what they do, and they’re always interested in helping each other learn. Almost every project requires some form of multidisciplinary work. I’ve really come to enjoy working alongside researchers, industrial designers, and digital experience experts. In the world of consulting, you never really know what you’ll be working on next, and I find that to be an exciting part of my job because it means I’m always learning new things.”
3. Last year you lead your own project focused on developing a mechanical system for deploying rocket parachutes. Tell us more.
“So basically, at the hobbyist tier of rocketry, it’s most common to deploy the rocket’s recovery parachutes by timing the detonation of small black powder charges which force the rocket apart. Though this method of separation is well practiced and reliable, it consumes an expensive, messy, and highly explosive resource. I began to question whether or not we could develop an alternative system that could deploy a rocket’s parachute with mechanical means. From the start of summer in 2017 to the end of spring in 2018, myself and a small team of my peers worked to develop a system that utilized compressed springs and a permanent electromagnet to deploy a rocket’s parachute. Our system didn’t require any consumable resources, and could be reused many times by simply recompressing the springs and relaunching the rocket. We were so excited to see our creation work as intended. It’s one of my proudest achievements!”
Dennis’ Mechanical Separation crew standing next to their rocket, prior to what would be a successful launch and recovery. Pictured left to right: Anson Grover, William Brown, Jeffrey Allen, David Siegel, Dennis Rogers, Jay Tatz, Jennifer Morin.
4. What do you like to do when you’re not working or building rockets?
“Most of my free time goes towards keeping small personal projects that involve things like 3D printing, CNC machining, woodworking, and occasionally some software coding. In the past I’ve worked on a small 3D printed robot arm, a maple wood desk top surface, a wood and metal signature plaque, and a portable 3D printed phone stand. Right now I’m working on getting a remote control airplane up in the air! If I’m in the mood to be active, I love going outside to play soccer, throw a frisbee, or ride my longboard. But sometimes at the end of a long day, I just like to hang out and play video games with my friends.”
Dennis holding his mechanical assembly for the rocket separation project on the day of the launch.
5. You recently got certified in CPR. Congratulations! What inspired you to do that?
“The police department at my university organized a safety awareness day, and one of the things they offered was a class where you could get your CPR certification. I decided it would be nice to be able to provide even the smallest amount of assistance in an emergency situation, so I decided to take the class. I’m no EMT or paramedic, but it feels good knowing I have this tool in my back pocket if someone ever needed it.”
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