Mikhail Khoury

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A brief intro.

My name is Mikhail. I’m a mechanical engineer, a bit of an industrial designer, but mostly just a natural tinkerer. I have a burning passion for honest product design, mostly for tactile physical products.

Disclaimer: the next part can drag on, as I tend to be long-winded.

If you want the short version, here is my resume.

Or if you just want to chat, send me a note: mikhail.khoury@gmail.com

Some of the hats I’ve worn.

Mechanical Engineer @ Impact Automation 2019 – 2021

Conveyors! The automated ones. They’re damn impressive to watch. At Impact Automation, I worked on the mechanical design of large automated conveyor sortation systems for parcels (i.e. mail). Big boxes, little boxes, heavy boxes, tiny envelopes – you name it. I worked on the integration of mechanical and controls systems for high-volume automated parcel sortation. The name of the game: throughput. In order to increase the bulk flow of product, I helped design & develop novel parcel accumulation systems. At a basic level, I played around with piling, dumping, merging and tumbling mail in order to efficiently and safely increase throughput. On top of mechanical design, I flexed my knack in visual communications and created a wide variety of technical & support documentation for use in material handling facilities across the U.S. In product design, it can generally be said that a great product should need no instruction manual at all. A great product is discoverable, as Don Norman elegantly puts it. But when it comes to industrial systems, the inherent complexity often warrants clear operations and troubleshooting guides. I worked on creating these guides, with an emphasis on making them friendly, unlike most technical documentation. This involved rethinking entire layouts, creating clear and beautiful graphics, and often asking my friends or my wife to read certain sections to get a muggle’s feedback of wizard documentation.

Mechanical Engineer @ Murzan 2016 – 2019

Murzan is a leader in sanitary pumps for the transfer of products in the food & pharmaceutical industries. Murzan’s air-operated sanitary diaphragm pumps transfer the products no other type or brand of pump can handle. We’re talking industrial quantities of ketchup, toothpaste, lotion, pancake batter, and even the creamiest, tastiest peanut butter. Oh yes, huge barrels full of peanut butter. Know how food plants used to get the peanut butter out of the barrels back in the day? Shovels. No kidding. Wouldn’t want to be that guy. Well, back in the 80s, Murzan developed a fancy automated unloading system, equipped with a Murzan diaphragm pump, that would empty those barrels at the flip of a switch. You would just hook up a 100psi air line and the Murzan system took care of the rest. During my time at Murzan, I worked on the mechanical design of precision stainless steel parts for those very unloading systems. I even got to visit food plants across the U.S. to install and troubleshoot those systems. Another neat project I worked on was an automated processing and dilution system for ketchup! I managed the assembly, testing & on-site installation of the entire system for a food plant in Guatemala. At the time my Spanish was lousy but I got to practice it during my 6 weeks on-site while working with an assembly crew to get this system installed and operational. It was pretty damn cool by the time it was complete. At Murzan, I took on a few side projects which grew to become major assets for the company. I developed custom in-house software, which automated all sorts of processes and saved thousands of hours of manual data entry and analysis. I also created a variety of marketing material, a spare parts kit, and even developed a new company website from scratch.

Makerspace Manager @ Georgia Tech Invention Studio 2013 – 2016

The Georgia Tech Invention Studio is a 100% student-run makerspace, equipped with just about every machine imaginable for the most daring design & engineering projects. During my time as an engineering undergrad, this space was my sanctuary. If I wasn’t in class, I was probably building something funky in the Invention Studio. I became heavily involved with the studio and worked as a manager of the makerspace, specifically overseeing the woodworking shop. (Eventually, I would own my own woodshop.) Beyond managing the woodshop, I supervised & taught students to use all the makerspace machinery, including laser cutters, a 5-axis waterjet cutter, all shapes & sizes of 3D printers, as well as traditional and CNC metalworking & woodworking machines.

Math Teacher 2015 – 2017

It all began with me helping out my little sister with her 6th grade math homework. Next thing I knew, my tutoring skills were in high demand and I was giving private lessons to a curious bunch of secondary school students. This impromptu professorship remains one of my most formative experiences as a designer and engineer. Teaching mathematics was such an exciting and creative challenge: each lesson pushed me to search for simple, novel and clever ways to deliver a fascinating subject made (sadly) so dull by the average classroom.