Brittany Hilbrecht

Can you tell us a little bit about the kind of work that you do?

I am the Manufacturing Engineering Manager for a medical device company that designs, manufacturers and markets products in the cardiovascular marketplace. Our primary product is called the Tiara, a Transcatheter mitral heart valve to treat mitral regurgitation. My main responsibility is to lead a team of ~12 Engineers to transfer designs from R&D into manufacturing and then continue to make process improvements.

What have been the turning points and milestones in your career?

The first turning point was becoming a P.Eng, and then the second was when I made the decision to leave my past company of 6 years and join Neovasc as a Manufacturing Engineer. It was the most difficult decision I have had to make, but a decision that has propelled my career. Each year I have gained more responsibilities and more experience.

What is a fact about your work that people might find surprising?

Designing and taking a medical device is not a quick process, it takes years, lots or prototypes, a big team working on a common goal and cooperation with regulatory agencies, and clinical staff.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in life so far (personal, professional, or both)?

My position as an Engineering Manager.

What was your favourite class at UBC, and why?

Injury Biomechanics because it was my only biomedical elective and it introduced me into the biomedical engineering field.

What do you feel are three habits necessary for highly successful engineers?

• Continuously seek out new opportunities
• Play to your strengths
• Understand your weaknesses and work on making them a strength

What was your favourite thing to do on campus as a UBC student?

Hang out on the knoll, although it has now been flatted and replaced with the new Sub.

What are the top three things that you would recommend current engineering students do before they graduate?

• Sign up for the Co-op program or at least work in the engineering field to gain experience prior to graduating.
• Travel! If you can combine it with a work term and go international that is even better.
• Research all the different engineering fields and understand your options.