Megan Mears, Technical Program Coordinator, working at Motional's Pittsburgh office.
Each month, we're highlighting the people who are using their talents and passions to help make driverless vehicles a reality. Our team is driven by something more.
Megan Mears started as a Motional intern before transitioning to a full-time role as a Technical Program Coordinator. Below Megan discusses her work at Motional and passion for using AVs to increase independence and opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
Describe your role at Motional - what do you do?
I am on the Module Systems & Integration Team within Technical Programs where I serve as a Technical Program Coordinator for several hardware components. My role is supplier facing, meaning I work alongside them during the design, development, & manufacturing processes. Additionally, I am the bridge between the suppliers and internal teams that integrate the hardware and software into the robotaxi.
What was it like going from a Motional intern to a full time employee? What was the biggest challenge?
In many ways, the transition from intern to full-time was pretty seamless for me personally. This was largely because I remained on the same team, with the same manager, and continued working on the same projects. The biggest challenge was finding resources that were geared towards someone who knew some basic aspects about Motional, but not to the extent of a full-time employee.
What advice would you share with future Motional interns?
My advice for future interns is to take every opportunity provided by Motional to learn about roles that you would, and would not be interested in. Motional offers an intern the ability to contribute like a full-time employee, but as an intern. The benefit of being an intern is being able to make mistakes and grow from them while there are people available to mentor and provide constructive feedback.
How have you developed professionally since joining the Motional team? Where have you seen the strongest growth?
My knowledge of automotive and engineering related concepts has increased drastically since joining Motional. As a result, I am more confident in myself—which has made me a better program manager.
What is the greatest piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
The greatest piece of career advice I have ever received is to treat everything as an opportunity for growth, tease the lesson out of the criticism—apply it and keep moving forward.
Megan Mears, Technical Program Coordinator, alongside her parents at her graduation from Georgetown University with a Masters in Technology Management.
How do you define success?
Success is a difficult thing to define, because everyone’s definition is slightly different. For me, success is a combination of passion, perseverance, positive contributions, and mentorship.
What aspects of Motional’s mission do you most identify with?
Accessibility is the aspect I probably identify with most. The innovations that create the most significant impact are those that are available to everyone regardless of economic status, race, disability, etc. One of my favorite aspects of working at Motional is knowing that we are building a product that will break barriers by increasing independence and opportunity for individuals with disabilities. Motional has a strong commitment to accessibility which translates in many ways to total acceptance—that is very important to me. It is very satisfying to know that I am a small part of developing life-altering technology solutions.
Who are some of your greatest influences?
I have several, I have influences whom impacted me most over a long period of time (family/friends) and influences that impacted me most in a single moment. In terms of family or friends, my Dad is my greatest influence. My Dad faced much adversity throughout his life. But giving up or quitting has never been an option for him, his passion for his career has always driven him forward. One of the biggest influences in my life from a single moment is Elie Wiesel. He gave the commencement address at my sisters’ undergraduate graduation. It was without a doubt, the most moving and impactful speech I have ever heard. “Do not stand idly by, you must intervene, you must interfere...that is the motto of human rights.” I have tried to apply that in multiple areas of my life—which goes back to why the accessibility aspect of Motional’s mission statement is so important to me.
What’s a fun fact about yourself that people would be surprised to know?
I was stuck on a chairlift during a blizzard when I was a teenager.
Outside of work, what are some of your favorite hobbies and passions?
My favorite hobbies are skiing and kayaking, as well as my dog, Paddington Bear. I am also passionate about volunteering with organizations that support individuals and families impacted by substance abuse.
Megan poses for a picture in front of her new car; "a typical dad request," she jokes.
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