How an Engineer’s Life is Made

Danielle KilloranDanielle (Boyd) Killoran, B.S.’12, is living in a real-life episode of “How It’s Made.” At least that is how she describes her career since graduating from WMU’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences paper engineering program.

In May 2021, Killoran was promoted to Learning and Development Manager, Global Industrial at Ecolab/Nalco Water, where she has worked since 2012, beginning in their career training program, then joining the Michigan engineering sales team before a series of promotions landed her in her current role.

“I work with customers who manufacture all types of things! I get to work with bottling soda (and seeing how it is created in all steps). I’ve seen particle board—which was probably the coolest process I have seen thus far! And, I’ve watched cars being made that are still not released for sneak peeks to almost anyone yet!” says Killoran. “It’s a fun process.”

But it isn't only the processes that Killoran enjoys about her career. “Some of the most interesting people I meet each day are those who share stories of building airplanes or working to design new motors for old paper conversion technology or those who design new plants from the ground up (what a task!). The fun of my role is meeting so many people with such diverse backgrounds and experience and getting to learn so much from all of them!”

Meeting the challenges in her industry also drives Killoran’s professional efforts.

“The biggest challenge in our field is the ever-pressing need for more clean water—mostly for drinking—which adds to cost increases across many industries,” she says. “These increases in the cost of water drive us to reduce, reuse and recycle. Recycling all water within a plant and reusing it can be a difficult process, but we are committed to finding ways to clean and repurpose water.”

Killoran says her academic experience at WMU prepared her for her career in ways she didn’t expect. Since she has landed in sales, an environment that requires advanced technical knowledge as well as strong communication skills.

“Communication is key!” says Killoran. “The College of Engineering encouraged learning and group project work, as well presentations and public speaking skills. These activities have helped further my career as public speaking and group participation are very big skills needed in the corporate business and engineering world.”

And while Killoran is dedicated to her career and the work of Ecolab/Nalco Water, she embraces time with family (she married a Bronco!), hobbies, volunteering for a local charity and participating in activities outside of work, emphasizing that balance is a must.

“I think the secret is working hard when you’re at work and striving to complete your work on time to allow yourself appropriate time outside of work to live your life. I work very hard but hold sacred the time with family.”

And for this engineer, that is how a real life is made.

Follow Killoran's professional activities on Linked In.