We sat down with Pat Swelgin recently to discuss life after Georgia Tech and the impact of playing Lacrosse and studying engineering.
Where did you grow up and how did you come about to play Lacrosse?
I grew up moving a lot, but I spent all of my high school years in Phoenix, AZ. It was in high school that I became very interested in lacrosse. I was introduced to the sport by one of my teachers and head coach of the program. Having grown tired of soccer and baseball, my two primary sports up until that point, I liked the new challenge of lacrosse and took to it very quickly!
How did you select Georgia Tech and what was your major?
While a Junior in high school in Arizona, my dad's job took him to the Atlanta area. He and my mom spent a lot of time back and forth between Phoenix and Arizona so I could finish high school. I knew I wanted to study mechanical engineering and, since I got into Georgia Tech with in-state tuition, it was a no-brainier for me. Playing on the lacrosse team was a huge bonus!
What are doing now?
I currently live and work in Austin, Texas with my wife, Emily, and our dog, Blue. We got married a year and a half ago after 6 years together! For my career, I currently am in product management for consumer software at Dell Technologies. Basically, the business lead for a product. I have also been heavily involved in advising early stage companies through local technology incubators. Prior to that, I worked in various engineering and business roles in technology companies and completed my MBA at the University of Texas at Austin.
Your business goals going forward?
Ultimately, I want to lead a software company. In my experience, lots of the value in business today comes through software or software enabled solutions and less on hardware or physical goods. Helping companies and industries make that migration is something I'll likely do for the rest of my career.
How has your Georgia Tech experience help you succeed?
Georgia Tech helped me to develop grit and learn how to learn without fear. Like many of my classmates, I came to Tech having cruised through high school without a ton of effort. Tech broke me down and forced me to figure out how to solve hard problems efficiently -- regardless of the discipline. When I went into my MBA studies, it was clear that those essential lessons were not learned by others who attended other universities.
How was your Georgia Tech Lacrosse Experience?
I was very grateful to play for four years with such talented players that challenged me every game and practice! Similar to academics, the team forced me to play wildly different than I was used to. Especially as a skinny guy coming from small market Arizona getting my butt kicked regularly against players much bigger than me from locations that basically invented the game. Fortunately, I loved the feeling of a shot hitting the back of the net and the physicality of the game. That kept me wanting to come back and get better every day. Also, amazing stress relief after intense study sessions.
Favorite Memories about the team?
I enjoyed the teamwork. My favorite fun memory has to be the last game I played. We were playing Georgia and losing which was something we were not used to and not proud of. In the 1st quarter I suffered a lower leg injury which later proved to be a fracture, another senior partially separated his shoulder during the game and another senior was still recovering from an earlier season hip injury, but for those last five minutes or so of the game, the senior 'walking wounded" squad was inserted one last time and hobbled around not wanting it to end and trying and sneak one last goal in before time expired. Love of the game and team mates kept us going!
Impressions about the current team and your forecast for the future?
The team is really crushing it on multiple levels. National contenders, team gpa of 3.4 with 90% engineering majors and an 18-2 record! That's really amazing! I really expect to see that level of commitment to winning continue. It comes from some really amazing player leadership, teamwork and, of course, continued great coaching. I think any prospects out there that desire a strong Engineering education and Lacrosse and choose to play for the Jackets will have the same amazing experience that I had.