Written by Liv Freshley
On the surface, Tyler Danzy is a charismatic, fiery and confident young man, intent on using his emotional intelligence, education, and experience to become a transformative leader in the 21st century. His aspirations to excel in project management culminated this year when he graduated with his B.S. in Systems Engineering from UNC Charlotte’s interdisciplinary Systems Engineering & Engineering Management (SEEM) program.
Engineering is Danzy’s “B” plan. Growing up in Hickory, NC, his original life mission was to become the next NBA hotshot. Basketball tryouts in middle school were the life-changing experience that helped him recognize that the NBA would be a deferred dream.
“I wanted to build wealth for the future and my family,” says Danzy. “I knew to be self-sufficient and fruitful I would need multiple streams of income, and a lot of challenging work.”
Recognizing that professional basketball wasn't an option, Tyler began searching for another inspirational path for his future. His cousin Fred provided the necessary awakening as he searched for a new career plan.
As a NASA engineer, Fred’s life was brimming with lavish cars, profitable portfolios, luxurious homes and financial security. He encouraged Danzy to pursue engineering and to learn more about money management. Based on the opulence that engineering offered, it was an easy decision for him to follow in Fred’s footsteps.
Danzy explains that confidence is his secret weapon, joking that “if you believe in what you do and say, most everyone else will too!”
Relying on that boldness, applying to UNCC and matriculating were just some of his objectives as an early student. From the onset, he understood that he needed to build a powerful resume and gain real-life experience while earning his degree. Taking on three separate internships with several companies was a part of his game plan to for job placement right after graduation.
"Many of the kids who graduated with a 4.0 still don't have a job," he states with a gleam in his eye.
In April, Danzy received a lucrative job offer from Electric Power Research Institute of Charlotte, before he even crossed the stage for his college diploma. As an Engineer I/Scientist in their Flexible Operations Program, he’ll gather and analyze data on power plants, with the ultimate goal of helping the company save money on maintenance.
Securing the position was a result of strategically using magnetism, coupled with a winning proposition about his credentials, education, and experience and about what he would bring to EPRI’s bottom line.
Now that he’s made it into the field, Danzy hopes to enlighten those interested in entering the systems engineering discipline.
“A systems engineer is the ‘master of process,’” he says. “Kids looking to get into the field must prepare themselves to understand every step of a complex system over its life cycle Every detail matters, including what materials are used, operational costs, the length of the project, and how many people it takes to complete the project.”
Intending to continue to carry the message of "treating others the way you would like to be treated," Danzy wants to give back into every life he touches. He believes that having respect for others, regardless of their background, is relevant social commerce.
"We must all respect others as equals, with compassion," he says.
Danzy embraces diversity on all levels and refuses to allow his perspective to be tainted by closed-minded people who don't understand that equality is an essential factor for accomplishment in life.
People – specifically youth – are his passion. He intends to continue speaking to the young people in various communities, and is currently reaching out to kids in his hometown at Hickory Career and Arts Magnet High School, where his mother teaches. He wants to teach kids to explore other options outside of college. He is convinced that children should learn to pursue their dreams without feeling pressured to just excel in school.
“Finding yourself is important, in addition to your academic prowess,” he says.
His final advice for junior colleagues and future engineers:
Create a network and connect with individuals in the field. Your grades are important, but making your presence felt is the most crucial factor. And add as much experience as possible to whatever education you access. Build more than book knowledge and don’t worry about the GPA alone.
The My Brother’s Keeper Scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is an endowment fund targeted to Black males majoring in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields at UNCC. The "What They See Is What They'll Be" blog series, adopted from the motto of 100 Black Men of America, is a bi-weekly blog series featuring personal stories of Black men from the UNCC community who are actively engaged in those fields. The goal of the series is to serve as a source of information and inspiration to others aspiring to follow similar career paths. To learn more, or to contribute to the endowment fund, visit www.unccmybrotherskeeper.org.