The Michigan Engineer News Center

ChE skills help entrepreneurs

When Molly (Macdonald) Ging (BSEChE '96) was taking Material and Energy Balances she probably never figured one day she would become “The Diaper Lady” or that she would own a retail shop focusing on baby products.| Medium Read

When Molly (Macdonald) Ging (BSEChE ’96) was taking Material and Energy Balances she probably never figured one day she would become “The Diaper Lady” or that she would own a retail shop focusing on baby products. Her frustrating search for cloth diapers as a new mother made her realize a market existed for such products. From selling only cloth diapers out of her basement, to her current 4,000 ft2storefront “The Little Seedling” store in Ann Arbor, Molly has put many of the lessons from ChE courses to use to become a successful entrepreneur in an area she is passionate about. “Changing careers is never easy but when you find something you are passionate about it makes the transition easier,” she says. “Owning your own business takes dedication and long hours, something every ChemE knows well.”

Rishi Narayan’s (BSECHE ’03, MSEChE ’05) realized he had an entrepreneurial streak during his sophomore year, in 2001, when he and a childhood friend and fellow Engineering student Ryan Gregg decided to start a business and sell custom t-shirts out of their West Quad dorm room. “Balancing ChE classes and running a business over a five year period was definitely a challenge. However, I got better at time management with practice – having patient classmates and professors throughout college definitely helped too!” Over a decade later their little shirt company has grown intoUnderground Printing (UGP) a national custom apparel provider and collegiate merchandise retailer with 19 locations in 11 states. “The funny thing is, all those problem sets and design projects really change how you think, build, and problem-solve. I think that really has a lot to do with the success of UGP.” Read more about Rishi’s and Ryan’s story

From the water skiing and wakeboarding schools he started while in college to his years hanging out on a beach in the Dominican Republic, a passion for board sports has been the driving force behind Scott Taylor’s career. Scott (BSE NAME ’05, MSE ChE ’06) worked at a start-up company for two years after graduation, then moved to the Caribbean, where surfing and kite boarding ruled his life. His chemical engineering analytical skills came in handy when he and another like-minded engineer decided to team up to develop a revolutionary, first of its kind product that enables anyone to easily and automatically film action, from a distance, with NO camera operator. (See “Even though I’m not directly in the chemical engineering field, I use the fundamental concepts and problem solving skill every day,” reports Scott. He highlights the importance of networking to his success. “ The university is a huge networking hub, I encourage students to take advantage of it. When you graduate, everyone has been trained with the same skills as everyone else, but the people you know can really make a difference,” he reports. (Setting up SOLOSHOT on the beach photo; Scott is on the right)

Have you taken a different path than you expected to follow after graduation? We’d love to hear from you, and share your stories with alumni and students. We especially like to know if you still use the skills your learned in your chemical engineering training in the career you have chosen. Look for a full article to come in the Fall Newsletter.

Please contact Sandy Swisher at (, 734-764-7413) if you have a story to tell!

Portrait of Sandy Swisher


Sandy Swisher
Communications & Alumni Relations Coordinator

Chemical Engineering

(734) 764-7413

3118 Dow

The outside of the Ford Robotics building

U-Michigan, Ford open world-class robotics complex

The facility will accelerate the future of advanced and more equitable robotics and mobility | Medium Read