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HomeRoboticsBlack in Robotics ‘Meet The Members’ collection: Andrew Dupree

Black in Robotics ‘Meet The Members’ collection: Andrew Dupree

Within the event studios of San Francisco-based Dexterity, Inc. there’s a robotic arm that stands as tall as a human. It’s positioned between a conveyor belt and several other picket pallets, all of that are typical of most warehouse packing amenities. However that is no typical warehouse facility.

That is the placement the place most warehouse packing amenities would have groups of individuals manually selecting up packing containers from the conveyor belt and punctiliously inserting them onto the pallets for wrapping and transport, however there are not any such individuals right here. As a substitute, because the packages come down the belt, this robotic acknowledges them, picks them up, after which deposits them onto the goal pallet with a delicate contact. It may do all of this by itself, and when a human does enter its neighborhood, the robotic is aware of to keep away from the human’s space because of a “gentle curtain” sensor.

Andrew Dupree is likely one of the product managers creating know-how like this at Dexterity (p.s. they’re hiring!) and, on this ‘Meet the Members’ put up, we’ll take a look at his journey from pure engineering and dealing with nonprofits in Haiti to doing product growth within the bay space for a number of budding {hardware} startups.

Andrew’s trajectory

Andrew described his early childhood as that of a typical “blerd” (aka a black nerd). His father was an early adopter of issues like private computer systems and Andrew vividly remembers his first pc, a Gateway machine, being delivered to the home.

He spent tons of time poring over the gadget and creating web sites along with his brother utilizing Angelfire and HTML. This ardour for know-how later be mixed with a drive to have a social impression on the College of Maryland – School Park. The plan was to do “a Pc Engineering diploma specializing in low-cost computer systems”, however whereas Andrew labored by means of programs like Sign Idea, he famous that one thing appeared to be lacking from his expertise.

His first try to seek out that “lacking piece” was to hitch a laboratory at UC Berkeley for an internship at their TIER Lab. When the internship was completed and he returned to the East Coast, he remained related to the native Info and Communications Expertise for Growing International locations (ICT4D) neighborhood. It was at one of many neighborhood’s meetups that he was launched to a nonprofit working in Haiti and “they really knew the professor that I’d labored with in Berkeley as a result of it’s a small scene.”

Andrew leveraged this connection to succeed in out to them with a proposal:

I reached out to them and stated “Look, I’ve achieved this internship and I’ve achieved this work. Are you hiring?”

They usually have been like “No.”

Then I stated, “Are you positive?”

They usually stated “We’re positive.”

Then I requested “What if I volunteer?”

They usually responded “Let’s speak.”

And thus, he had locked in an eight month expertise with the nonprofit Inveneo specializing in establishing pc labs and implementing pc literacy packages in Haiti. There was just one element that he wanted to work out: Determining what to do with the graduate college admissions provides that had begun to return in. He started to ask round about deferring his admission for a yr with shocking outcomes.

“The entire different grad faculties that I requested about deferring [said “No”, but] Stanford truly actually bent over backwards to assist me defer. They don’t have a correct deferral, however they [found a way] and actually hooked me up.”

— Andrew

Whereas Stanford’s graduate college supply was being labored out, he dove into the world of Haiti’s Inveneo which was full of ups and downs. Andrew humbly summarizes his feelings with “Fixing the world is actually arduous. I had good days the place I felt like ‘I’m actually making an impression’ and I had unhealthy days the place I felt like ‘My work is doing nothing right here. It is a robust problem.’” When he finally returned to the USA for his Grasp’s at Stanford, he determined to focus extra on the engineering expertise that he had not had the time to concentrate on whereas working on the nonprofit. In his engineering courses once more, he felt like he was lacking one thing, not accessing part of himself that he actually needed to.

“… I ended up doing a bunch of design courses. And [specifically the] enterprise administration for engineers class, that final one was an enormous eye opener for me. As a result of I noticed we have been doing case research, and analyzing enterprise methods [and more]. I actually loved that materials.”

— Andrew

Andrew did so effectively within the class that the professor strong-armed him into TA’ing it the next yr. Interested in how he might mix his love for enterprise administration along with his engineering experience, Andrew requested this professor what careers would greatest combine these two worlds. “That’s simple,” the professor defined. “You turn out to be a product supervisor.”

So, as Andrew started his profession, he sought out experiences to work with or turn out to be a product supervisor. After engaged on a number of vital {hardware} engineering groups, he was in a position to efficiently make the soar and has held the title of product supervisor (in some type) at a number of Silicon Valley hardware-focused tech corporations.

He’s at the moment thrilled to be a product supervisor on the excessive development start-up Dexterity, Inc. which develops “full-stack, end-to-end methods for kitting, selecting, packing, counting, sorting, palletizing, and order success.”

“… Working at a small, high-growth startup is a whole lot of enjoyable … and I feel that robotics in Provide Chain/Logistics is large. It’s going to be even larger. … I’ve labored in a bunch of various industries at this level and that is my first expertise working in an business the place clients really have an enormous downside they usually want you to assist them clear up it.”

— Andrew

Along with his work at Dexterity, Andrew is happy to return to his ardour for social impression. After studying and reflecting on his a number of experiences (each in business and with ICT4D), he desires “to proceed to consider tangibly [making] steps in direction of social impression and making the world a greater place. I’m unsure what that appears like but, however I’m excited to determine that out.”

Andrew’s challenges

Discovering Andrew’s interior “product supervisor” may need been accelerated if he had been extra receptive to the thought earlier on. He recollects colleagues teasing him whereas on the College of Maryland with “Oh, you’re simply gonna be a enterprise supervisor in some unspecified time in the future.” The tradition of valuing technical experience above all else inspired individuals like him to reject the thought of changing into a enterprise supervisor or chief. It’s an issue that also exists as we speak and that Andrew want to counter:

“I feel what I might’ve internalized earlier is that there are a whole lot of methods to contribute in technical areas/technical disciplines [like robotics]. For instance, it’s vital to know the issue that you just’re making an attempt to unravel, to outline that clearly, to speak that clearly and in addition to maintain engineering efforts targeted on an impactful consequence.”

— Andrew

One other problem that Andrew encountered was making an attempt to get a Product Supervisor place with solely engineering expertise on his resumé. Realizing that he wanted to persuade potential recruiters of his capabilities, he:

  1. Showcased his understanding of {hardware} and enterprise through weblog posts on his web site,
  2. Mentioned related product administration occasions and concepts with others on Twitter, and
  3. Moonlit as a product supervisor whereas additionally performing his present position (as a venture supervisor)

Be at liberty to take a look at his web site, the place he has authored dozens of weblog posts on subjects starting from round buffers to conducting consumer analysis to understanding the choices for {hardware} housings. Utilizing this method, Andrew efficiently showcased an understanding of product administration that received him the eye of a number of attention-grabbing {hardware} groups.

Andrew’s phrases of knowledge

We requested Andrew to share a few of the intangible classes he has realized by means of the challenges talked about above and he had many. A number of the vital ones are described under.

One of many classes that has served Andrew effectively is the significance of self-help books. As he places it: “Lots of people have been doing this `human` factor for some time. There’s most likely no must reinvent the wheel.” He particularly picks up books which might be pervasive or problem his present concepts in regards to the world. Some examples of books which have beforehand landed on his studying checklist are:

“You’ve received to separate out a few of the nonsense, however being proactive about your private development … is one thing that I’ve been intentional about.”

— Andrew

His plan for changing into a Product Supervisor was one of many issues that he had been intentional about and he established a technique that was in a position to get him into the profession of his selection!

Andrew additionally advises towards pressuring your self to at all times be in a rush, whether or not or not it’s in robotics or in life.

“One of many issues that’s shocked me in hindsight is that there’s a whole lot of time. There’s no enormous rush. It appears like when you have turned twenty-six and haven’t made a sure impression, then [there’s a problem.] However trying again, I see that I’ve labored throughout a bunch of various industries from Tutorial Analysis to Shopper Tech. A few completely different flavors of commercial stuff. And I’ve had no less than three or 4 completely different job capabilities completely. There actually doesn’t must be a rush.”

— Andrew

Extra from Andrew

To see extra from Andrew, please be happy to go to his web site.

Additionally, Dexterity is rising and may want a Black roboticist such as you! Attain out to Andrew on our Slack (or by means of his contact data above) should you’re concerned with a job there!


Drafts of this text have been corrected and improved by Andrew Dupree, Nosa Edoimioya, and Nailah Seale. All present errors are the fault of Kwesi Rutledge. Please attain out to him should you spot any!

Black In Robotics
addresses the systemic inequities present in our robotics neighborhood by specializing in three main pillars – neighborhood, advocacy, and accountability.

Black In Robotics
addresses the systemic inequities present in our robotics neighborhood by specializing in three main pillars – neighborhood, advocacy, and accountability.




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