Humans of robotics: Ryan Moloney

4.25.19

At Vecna Robotics, we have plenty of impressive people working to bring automation to new heights in the material handling industry. We’re excited to share the stories and passion projects of the people who make Vecna Robotics a great place to work.

First up: Ryan Moloney, a robotics engineer who has been with Vecna Robotics since 2013.

Humans of robotics: Ryan Moloney

Ryan Moloney and his electric bike

The backstory

Ryan’s story on his journey to working at Vecna Robotics is a little unusual. Ryan was a former game technician at Dave & Busters and had a growing curiosity for the robotics industry. However, without an engineering degree, he thought his options in the industry were limited.  Vecna Robotics hosted its holiday party on a night Ryan was working and he was intrigued by the group.

“I could tell they were a group from a tech company, they seemed like the right amount of nerdy and fun — one guy had a circuit board tattoo,” Ryan said. “I pulled aside the Director of Hardware Engineering and asked him to tell me more about the company. He mentioned robotics and I was more than interested.  I was fortunate in that he saw potential in me.”

Within a month, Ryan was hired as an electromechanical technician. Since that single conversation in 2013, Ryan has gained enough experience with the various engineering applications within the company to be promoted to an engineer. One of his first big projects on the team was building the second-generation Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR), a project funded by the Department of Defense.

The passion project

Two years ago, Ryan was helping a teammate at Vecna Robotics work on an electric bus and felt that he had gained enough knowledge to start his own project. With a little encouragement from others on his team, Ryan got to work building an electric bike.

The first year was dedicated to simply answering the question, “will this actually work?”

There’s been several iterations of his bike since he began.

“I’ve gone through a few motors, power train systems and batteries since I started. It used to look like a frame with parts bolted to it, but now it actually looks like a motorcycle. There were many different parts of the puzzle that needed to be figured out in order for it to all work together and fit into such a constrained space,” Ryan said.

Ryan credits the knowledge he’s gained at Vecna for helping him build the electric bike. He also recognizes the important role his coworkers have played in helping.

“The people here have been great,” he said, “they push me to learn the right things and they are willing to help when I need it.”

Working at Vecna Robotics

We know that employees do their best work when they have the freedom and time to explore and create on their own.

“The culture at Vecna Robotics is one of the greatest things about this place. It doesn’t feel like a normal workplace here,” Ryan said. “It really helps to blur the line in the work/life balance. We hire people that are passionate about what they do and enjoy what they do. It’s not uncommon to come in over the weekend to work on something and find others doing the same. You’re in charge of your own development.”

It also doesn’t hurt that no two days feel the same when you work at a company that knows the many capabilities of its employees.

“There’s so much to do in my role I don’t ever feel like I’m stuck in one thing,” Ryan said. “One day I could be sitting at my desk designing electrical systems for the next platform, or I could be getting my hands dirty helping out with the builds of the trucks, or I could be at one of our deployment sites taking care of issues in the field.”

To learn more about working at Vecna Robotics, visit vecnarobotics.com/careers.

 

Want more robotic insight? Sign up for our blog: