Knowing why and how to leverage today’s most advanced additive manufacturing (AM) technology, and knowing how to do it successfully, can be a challenge for any organization, let alone one person.
Enter Matt Karesh. As Technical Business Development Manager, it’s Matt’s job to help new and prospective Velo3D customers understand the capabilities and benefits of Velo3D’s end-to-end 3D metal manufacturing solution.
We recently chatted with Matt to talk about his impressive background as a mechanical engineer, some of the challenges he’s faced during his career, and what helps differentiate Velo3D from other AM technologies.
Let’s jump right in! Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
My name is Matt Karesh, and I’m the Technical Business Development Manager here at Velo3D.
How did you wind up in this role?
I went to school for mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech. From there, I worked at Caterpillar doing design engineering work on diesel power generators and backup power applications. Things like hospitals, remote sites, those types of places. After a couple of years there, I went to GE Aviation and got into high pressure turbine blade design for commercial aircraft jet engines, specifically, the CFM 56 engine, which is used on many single aisle aircraft.
I did that for several years, which was an awesome experience in terms of engineering challenge. From there, I helped form and start GE Additive. There, I did a lot of application engineering work, both for the internal GE businesses and external consulting work. That was doing work on laser powder bed fusion, electron beam melting, and binder jet processes. And then I joined Velo3D.
You mentioned having an awesome experience in terms of engineering challenge. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Well, it’s either an engineer’s dream or engineer’s nightmare, depending on the engineer. If you think back on mechanical engineering education degrees, you take all these courses, like heat transfer, fluids, mechanical design, stress analysis—all that stuff.
The jet engines and specifically turbine blades I worked on hit every one of those major topics. It had aspects of aerodynamics, heat transfer, mechanical stresses, and vibratory stresses. I got to do all that kind work rolled up into one single component. It was a unique and rewarding experience to tackle those engineering challenges.
And then on the manufacturing side, you’re pushing the technology of typical casting processes. You’re using single crystal castings, which is a very high-end casting process that very few people in the world understand. You’re also using very expensive exotic materials to have these components survive in what is a hellacious environment for mechanical components. And oh, by the way, on the CFM engine, it’s a relatively high volume for aircraft engine production. So, pushing out a large volume of components, and trying to do all these different things at the same time was quite the manufacturing challenge.
Very cool! So, how long have you been at Velo3D and what caused you to make the move?
This month [June] will be my one-year anniversary, and it was mostly random. I was approached and wanted to learn more about the company, and I just hit it off with everyone. With each subsequent interview, I got more and more excited to learn about the people at Velo3D and how we’re approaching additive that’s different to other companies, more customer focused. I took a week to think about it, jumped in, and I haven’t looked back since.
What does the role of Technical Business Development Manager involve?
My role is to work with customers and make their journey into additive as easy as humanly possible. When I talked about our approach to additive and how it’s different from other companies, I wasn’t just saying that. It’s the truth.
We’re not just trying to sell people machines; we want to sell them on the technology. But more than that, we want them to be successful with it. I don’t focus on selling machines, I focus on making customers successful. And because I don’t have to focus on selling machines, I get to focus on making customers successful. I essentially try to make myself a member of [our customers’ teams] and understand where they’re at today. What challenges do they have today, and what are they trying to overcome? Is it technical or logistics supply chain challenges? Is it management buy in? Whatever it may be, I try to help figure out ways to help address those challenges.
For example, if it’s a design challenge, I help prospective customers understand our technology and how it can unlock new, more optimized designs. If it’s related to scaling up and repeatability, again, I educate them on our system architecture and how our solution can help them to rapidly scale and grow.
And, again, that doesn’t necessarily mean buying a machine. Perhaps it makes more sense for them to leverage our contract manufacturing network, where the barrier to entry is significantly lower. These certified manufacturers are all running the same equipment, the same process parameters, the same calibrations, and customers can trust this network to get parts made without making a capital investment in a Velo3D Sapphire.
What differentiates Velo3D from other additive manufacturing technology?
The more technical answer is the geometry, the scalability, and all the things we built into our technology. But what truly differentiates Velo3D is the people and the vision. None of this stuff exists without having the right set of people to create these things, design these things, and develop these things. And we don’t do these things without a clear vision of where we want to be.
Having that vision, not only with [Velo3D Founder and CEO Benny Buller] but shared across the company, with everyone moving lockstep in the same direction, is very powerful. And even more so, having that vision resonate with the industry—I think that’s the true differentiator.
Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on since joining Velo3D?
Aside from all of the awesome customer applications I can’t talk about, bringing GRCop-42 to life. To be fair, I wasn’t the one who started the project nor was I the impetus for developing it, that was happening before I started, but jumping in to work with customers and educating them on what we’re doing with GRCop-42 and to develop that pipeline has been amazing.
When it comes to your role and professional career, what motivates you the most?
Seeing the light go on when you’re working with customers as they start to understand the power of our technology. When I’m working with customers, there is often this wow moment where they understand that our technology is a real production technology. It’s not just flashy, build-me-some-fancy one-off geometry. They realize they can use our tech for what it is—a real production solution. And so, you see the snowball effect of people getting excited and diving in more and more as those lights start to turn on.
So, yeah, that’s extremely motivating. And it’s satisfying to witness that progression, working with a customer from day one, and then seeing them work through their applications and eventually move into production.
How would you describe the culture at Velo3D?
I would describe it as evolving and receptive to new ideas. We’re a growing company, so there’s lots of opportunity to go create, do, and develop. And it’s really kind of up to you. If you want to go pursue those things, and there’s value in those things to the business, there’s really nothing holding you back. Velo3D is very much an environment for people who are motivated to make a positive impact and dialed in to driving the business forward and helping our customers succeed.
I also think there is this underlying core of questioning everything, not in a condescending or derogatory manner, but constantly checking ourselves to ensure that we’re still on the right path.
Last question, what do you like to do for fun outside of work?
Mostly just playing with my kids. My wife and I have two boys, one of whom is three and the other who is 16 months. I really enjoy working around the house and working in the yard. I think I enjoy the instant gratification of seeing the progress of my labor. I also enjoy fishing, hiking, you name it; I won’t complain about it if it’s outside. I used to do a little whitewater kayaking. It was a long time ago, but that was awesome. It would be fun to get back into that.
Thanks for chatting with us today, Matt!
You’re very welcome.