Employee or Entrepreneur? A 3Mer's Brother Talks Cool Projects at 3M
Aug 19, 2019

If you walk around any 3M workplace, you hear people talking about the cool projects they are working on. They are excited that their work is improving lives, so it’s only fitting they would go home and share their excitement with their loved ones, too. That’s why we decided to bring in one of our employee’s loved ones to get their perspective on the projects 3Mers are tackling.

Mike Swenson, an Advanced Engineer for 3M Corporate Engineering, and his brother, Eric, have a lot in common. Eric and Mike grew up building things together, and now they are both mechanical engineers, making Eric the perfect person to explain the projects Mike works on. Check out what Eric said when we talked to him, then read on for Mike’s rundown of the top three coolest projects he’s worked on since becoming a 3Mer:

While studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Mike started working at 3M part-time in Product Development for the Personal Safety Division. When he was only 19, he experienced what he calls one of the most important projects of his career: his manager asked him to develop a new product for a key market. “I had the opportunity to rapidly iterate the design and testing of the product using additive manufacturing, while working with some of the best engineers in the company during the design process,” he recalls. Many were skeptical of the idea, but a strong focus on the customer and a creative combination of ideas and materials led to the successful launch of the product. “Seeing the confidence 3M has in its employees and having the opportunity to apply my passion to a creative challenge had a profound impact on me early in my career.”

Once he graduated, Mike joined the Corporate Engineering group full-time in a manufacturing technology role, where he tried to work in as many production sites as possible. After working in more than 20 sites over his first two years, he identified a particularly promising opportunity, and applied for internal venture funding to develop a new technology. After delivering the value proposition and a proof of concept to 3M leadership, Mike’s projects received more funding than they requested. Less than a year later, the concept became a reality and was implemented with great results (and really impressed his brother). “It’s energizing to work with a company where employees can be entrepreneurs in their day jobs, and to see the business impact of supporting new ideas,” Mike says. 

Mike’s latest exciting project took him outside of headquarters, outside of the plant, and even outside the U.S.: he took a trip to Istanbul as a part of 3M Impact. There, he worked with 12 colleagues from eight different countries to design a line of products and deliver a marketing plan to their host organization so that they could advance science and engineering education for youth in Turkey, particularly young women. “The project was an incredible cross-functional and cross-cultural experience. It was inspiring to see the team’s diverse backgrounds produce an amazing result, and to experience the personal impact of 3M products improving lives around the world,” he says.

We can’t wait to see what employees like Mike do next to impress their loved ones.

Check out more videos like Mike and Eric’s at 3M.com/careers.

Other Topics

Contact Media Relations

Contact Media Email

These contacts are intended only for the media. If you are not a member of the media, please call 1-888-3M HELPS (1-888-364-3577).

We will get back to you within one business day.

Email Alerts

Subscribe to receive automatic updates via email for 3M news & stories.