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From TECS Graduate to Project Engineer at UL Solutions: How A2i Helped Shape My Career

Cody Zane

As a 2020 graduate of the Textile Engineering, Chemistry, and Science (TECS) program, Cody Zane’s journey from academia to industry has been both challenging and rewarding. Today, he works as a project engineer at UL Solutions, where he plays a crucial role in helping companies certify their garments to NFPA standards within the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) industry.

When asked about his current role he said, “I serve as a mix between a project manager and customer service representative. I work closely with companies to ensure that their garments meet the stringent requirements of NFPA standards for various applications, including Structural/Proximity Firefighting, Wildland and Urban Interface Firefighting, Station Wear, EMS Gear, and Technical Rescue. Knowing that the gear produced by my clients meets these standards gives me immense satisfaction, as I am directly contributing to the safety of our first responders.”

One of the things he values most about his role is the same reason he enjoyed conducting research for his PhD at the Textile Protection and Comfort Center within the Wilson College of Textiles (WCOT): “I get to help our first responders on a daily basis. Seeing a first responder wearing gear that I helped certify reinforces the importance of my work and motivates me to continue making a difference.”

Reflecting on his journey, he attributes much of his success to the Accelerate to Industry (A2i) program. “A2i taught me how to sell myself in a competitive industry. As someone trying to establish a name for themselves outside of a lab or research setting, I learned the importance of networking and building my personal brand. A2i helped me understand that networking is not just about finding a job but about continuously showcasing my skills and expertise to potential employers.”

A2i also helped him navigate the challenge of being perceived as overqualified for many roles. By teaching him how to effectively communicate my value to employers, A2i enabled him to find opportunities where his skills and knowledge are valued and appreciated.

His experience with A2i was invaluable in shaping his career trajectory.

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