Instron, a Division of Illinois Tool Works, Inc.


Engineering Manager, ESG In-lined Custom Products


Founded in 1946, Instron is the recognized worldwide market leader in the materials testing industry.

As an Engineering Manager at Instron (Illinois Tool Works, Inc.), Peter Wardwell understands the importance of preparing young engineers for leadership positions.

“Instron/ITW aggressively cultivates leaders to fill corporate needs in an ever expanding environment,” says Wardwell.  “The company relies on leaders to create new markets, bring innovative products to market, and optimize production processes.”

Wardwell first learned about the Gordon Engineering Leadership Program (GEL) from Morgan Galaznik, a current Instron employee.  Galaznik initially joined Instron as a Northeastern co-op and accepted a full-time position upon completing her undergraduate degree.

Instron sponsored Galaznik to pursue her MS in Mechanical Engineering and a Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership as part of the 2011/2012 GEL cohort.  “GEL provides new engineers real life corporate experience concurrent with a relevant education,” Wardwell says.

Wardwell with Gordon Fellow Morgan Galaznik and Director Adrian Riddick

For her Challenge Project, Galaznik designed and developed a linear electric actuator, which helped expand the company’s testing capabilities. As Galaznik’s Industry Sponsor/Advocate, Wardwell recognized the impact that this type of real-world project experience can have on emerging leaders.

“Participating employees gain a unique perspective on developing market needs and creating technical requirements,” says Wardwell.  “They then work through product design, manufacture, assembly, and performance verification. Leadership skills are practiced during the process of assuming roles as Product Champion and Project Leader.”

As with any project, Galaznik faced challenges along the way.  With support from Wardwell, she persevered by turning those challenges into opportunities for leadership growth.

“Project leaders encounter numerous technical decision points that involve a complex balancing act between creating adequate, low cost designs, with minimal engineering resources, in the shortest time possible,” Wardwell says. “Project Managers must prepare for all development activities and successfully negotiate for company resources such as engineering talent and manufacturing capability.”

Galaznik completed GEL in August 2012, becoming Instron’s first Gordon Fellow.  To Wardwell, it was clear that Instron had benefited from the program.

“Instron gained an experienced engineering leader. In addition, Morgan worked on a new product that will expand our reach in a highly competitive marketplace.”

By the time Galaznik made her final Challenge Project presentation, three other Instron employees were preparing to enter GEL.

“Qualified Engineering Leadership is always in demand at Instron/ITW,” says Wardwell.  “GEL greatly accelerates the learning process for new engineers and prepares them for increased responsibility at a very early stage in their engineering career.”

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The National Academy of Engineering awarded the Gordon Institute of Engineering Leadership the prestigious 2015 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education.

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