LGO recently welcomed Symbotic as an industry partner company. Mechanical Engineering LGO ’15 alum, Adam Traina, reflected on his experience at LGO and his current role as the director of Operations Research at Symbotic.
What are you responsible for in your current role at Symbotic?
I’m the Director of Operations Research at Symbotic. I use optimization algorithms to design robotic systems to meet a client’s cost, throughput, and warehouse inventory needs. My work for Fortune 100 clients includes understanding the value chain for existing systems and the operational challenges of the business, then designing alternative solutions with a strong ROI. This often results in identifying gaps between existing technologies, which drives new designs, patents, and products.
Why did you decide to attend MIT LGO?
I joined the LGO program because I saw how effective teamwork was in navigating coursework at MIT. I watched a small team of six LGO students divide, conquer, and teach each other advanced skills with more enjoyment and less time than individual learners. Additionally, the diverse backgrounds and working experience of LGO teams enrich the opportunities to learn and grow. The program and students provide exposure to different industries and career paths, as well as the chance to practice multidisciplinary leadership skills, accelerating personal and professional development. My previous work experience helped me understand that technical, financial, and cultural literacy was essential for making good leadership decisions. The LGO curriculum brings all three of those competencies together.
What was the most valuable takeaway from MIT that has helped in your career post-LGO?
I use concepts and connections from LGO in my work every day — from data-driven business cases to behavioral leadership insights — to anticipate organizational gaps and compose effective teams. I use the powerful mathematical frameworks that I learned at MIT to design and optimize new systems. Perhaps most enduring, I’ve gained career-long connections with former classmates, and we have continued to learn from each other, collaborate on business partnerships and expand our networking groups.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
Symbotic is in a fast-paced growth phase and its rewarding to be part of a team developing a first-of-a-kind fully autonomous, end-to-end supply chain solution. I enjoy using data to make decisions, managing projects with large impacts, and working in a culture that values operational excellence. I also value collaborating directly with senior leaders at Symbotic and know that the work I produce is making a profitable impact for our customers. The culture of Symbotic is focused on empowering all team members, encouraging creative thinking and developing people with diverse backgrounds who share a passion for excellence and problem-solving.
Do you have any advice for prospective LGOs?
The best part about LGO was that everyone had different interests from different industries and cultural geographies. LGO gave us a common set of skills to achieve our goals by building a collaborative foundation with the ability for each of us to branch out to meet our own unique career objectives. The best way to get the most out of LGO is to engage deeply with your peers, match your individuality to your course electives and help each other achieve your aspirations.