Small Yet Mighty: Tackling Design Projects in a Startup Environment

An aero-mechanical designer at DASH Systems describes how the company boosts effectiveness while preventing burnout.
Written by Olivia McClure
February 15, 2022Updated: February 15, 2022

Early-stage startups can be challenging spaces for designers. With limited resources and significant goals to meet, small design teams must ensure they drive efficiency while reducing the risk of burnout. 

As an aero-mechanical designer at DASH Systems, Jason Litzinger understands the importance of maintaining an effective design environment in an engineering-focused organization. That’s why he works alongside his teammates to ensure plans move forward as expected and provides assistance when needed. 



DASH Systems’ software enables the company to provide precision airdrop delivery services to rural areas worldwide. The organization uses commercial airplanes to autonomously release and land packages from nearly any altitude.


“I always stay in the trenches with my teammates to ensure processes work and make quick decisions in order to keep things running smoothly,” Litzinger said. 

Prioritizing teamwork isn’t the only way Litzinger boosts efficiency on his team. By establishing clear deliverables and assigning specific tasks to team members, he strives to cultivate a culture that reduces micromanagement and emphasizes collaboration.

Built In LA caught up with Litzinger to learn about his best practices for running a small yet mighty team. 

Jason Litzinger
Aero-Mechanical Designer


Members of smaller teams often wear multiple hats. Which hats work well together and which don’t mix?

Those with engineering experience work well together, as long as each team member has specific duties. The people who don’t mix well with others are micromanagers, as they often dirty the waters with engineers. They can create a challenging environment, in which some engineers feel obligated to prove their potential to upper management. I’m grateful to work at DASH Systems because every team member understands their role and works well with others. 

Every team member understands their role and works well with others.” 

How do you structure your team to drive business success while reducing the risk of burnout?

I ensure that each team member is working toward a common goal and has clearly defined deliverables, whether those are spreadsheets, presentations or drawings. I work with three mechanical engineers with various skill sets, ranging from modeling and design to calculations and finite element analysis. Each individual is given duties that fit both their experience and comfort level. Daily team stand-ups also help me identify teammates who might need help. 



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