Featured Alumni: Matt Olander, General Dynamics Electric Boat

Matt Olander - EB

JANUARY 31, 2022 | Matt Olander, Vice President for Design and Engineering at General Dynamics Electric Boat, received a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Connecticut. Olander later attended Renessalaer Polytechnic Institute for his master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Advised by Dr. Jeffers while attending UConn, Olander found himself studying aspects of multiple engineering disciplines during his undergraduate career. “Whether it was some software programming, system modeling, structural analysis or learning about electrical systems and circuits, I was exposed to a broader world of engineering than what I considered at the time to be core mechanical engineering,” explained Olander. “And on reflection, it seems that mechanical engineering can be a bit of a ‘jack of all trades’. This realization came to fruition years later in my career at Electric Boat where I was a technical leader in an integration role. I quickly fell back on my education and was able to better understand the complex relationships and challenges the other engineering disciplines faced. Complex integrated systems require both technical depth and breadth to be optimized at the system level and I believe mechanical engineers have an ability to do either very well.”

Although Olander does less engineering analysis today than he did years ago, Olander still engages with the engineering teams to listen, learn, and when possible, teach. “As a leader in the design and engineering of submarines, I spend much of my time evaluating where we are today and where we need to be in the future,” said Olander. “This pertains to the undersea capabilities we need to understand, the technical expertise to deliver those, and the dynamics of our engineering teams working on them.”

“As the undersea domain continues to grow in prominence, it is growing in complexity as well,” continued Olander. “My goals are to help lead the organization into this generational shift in the undersea – identifying and growing the new skills and tools we will need to deliver on the next generation of capabilities. I pray I have enough humility and wisdom to do that!”