5 Questions with Damon Butler

ISE alumnus Damon Butler (Class of 02) shares his wisdom and experience from working at Lenovo and IBM before branching out to start his own company, Triangle Blvd.

What is the single most important experience or understanding you gained in the ISE department?
Through ISE, I’ve had the opportunity to meet classmates from all over the world and we’d work together to solve problems and focus on a common goal. Problems can often time be solved in various ways and, as in life, there is often there is more than one correct answer. ISE gave me the foundation to listen to others and understand various perspectives.

What is the most pressing issue facing human society that engineers should be working harder to solve?
Engineers are problem solvers and the human society is facing difficult issues including climate change, over-population in some areas and various healthcare issues. We need the processes along with the technology in place to solve these issues at an exponential rate. I believe machine learning and AI might just be the ‘answer’ for these complex issues.

What are you most proud of so far in your career?
Thus far, I’m most proud of working on tools and systems to better the lives of others – at Lenovo, we spent 6 years automating business processes which saved the operations team 100’s of hours/week and allowed the supply chain to be seen not as a nice-to-have functional group, but as a group necessary for a competitive advantage versus our competitors.

What is the best book you ever read?
The best book I’ve ever read is Blue Ocean Strategy, I was mesmerized by anyone can look at a market and create a unique niche by using their processes demonstrated in this book.

What advice do you have for current ISE students?
After graduation, I encourage everyone to keep learning. The market changes every 5 years and it’s important to always stay relevant. Secondly, never stop networking, relationships become currency in the real world and it’s imperative to continuously make an effort to stay connected to all colleagues and peers post-graduation.