Amy boomeranged back to the University of Michigan after years in industry in environmental engineering. Her familiarity with the inner workings of the corporate world, including running her own business with her fiance, combined with her deep knowledge of the engineering world at U-M, make her perfectly poised to help industry partners and faculty members navigate partnerships.

We sat down with our newest staff member to get to know her a little better. She – and her dog Putter – enjoyed the conversation!


Q: Before working at the BEC, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

A: As an environmental engineer I spent the early part of my career working at Superfund Sites. There’s nothing like cleaning up landfills and managing unknown waste…


Amy Bellas and Putter

Amy and Putter take a boat ride.

Q: Tell us three things most people don’t know about you…

A: Tough one – Anyone who knows me knows that I am generally an open book, but here goes… 

1) I almost didn’t adopt my dog, Putter, because the research deemed his breed “too cute” and “they get away with everything” – it is true, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

2) My dad is my hero and raised me to be a crazy Pittsburgh Steeler fan.  

3) I broke my leg when I was 10 by jumping over a bush and right before jumping I said, “Look what I can do!”.      


Q: What are three career lessons you’ve learned thus far?

A: I try to keep these in mind these every day: 

1) Stay positive:

I have worked in negative environments before – going through bankruptcies, dealing with the outcome of recessions and job losses, and working in a challenging culture with corporate-wide negative morale. What I found from all of this is that you need to learn to not let it get to you. Don’t get caught-up in the “drama”, stay focused on yourself and on the opportunity you have for making a positive impact on others (they will remember you for that!).  

2) You will never please everyone:

We will all experience multiple “bosses”, both professionally and personally, who have different objectives, and it will be impossible to meet all expectations. Do what you believe is right, stay true to yourself and do what you can to alleviate any lingering negativity – there are positive ways to say “no”. 

1) Strive to learn something new every day:

You are responsible for your happiness and being bored should not be an option. Every day, job and personal encounter has the possibility to be what you make of it, and learning new things will keep you energized.  Early in my career I was offered the opportunity to move from Operations to Sales and while that may have sounded more “glamorous” than working in Carhartt gear on landfills, I knew I would not learn as much, so I turned the offer down. Instead, I preferred to get invaluable hands-on experience, which included operating backhoes and dump trucks, and it helped shape who I am proud to be today.


Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: The supportive culture that abounds while I have the chance to continuously learn new things – the exposure to amazing research initiatives at U-M is astounding!


Q: What are three words to describe the BEC?

A: I’m fairly new here still, but I’ve been deeply immersed in the strong culture of the team and love representing the BEC across campus and with our partners. 

My words are: Team, Responsive, Dedicated


Amy crop headshotQ: What is on your wish list for the next 10 years with the BEC?

A: To be a valued resource for my colleagues and corporate contacts while supporting/driving exponential growth of corporate research at U-M and fulfing my career aspirations.


Q: What does true leadership mean to you?

A: When a person can inspire others, while motivating through genuine interactions demonstrating positivity, empathy, trust, inclusion, and innovation. 


Q: What is your motto or personal mantra?

A: Don’t let them bring you down and always try to take the high road.