From music to mechanical engineer: Ole Miss drummer and entrepreneur lands job at BMW

Austin Ivy
The Oxford Eagle

A University of Mississippi drummer with The Pride of the South Marching Band has proven he’s both musically and mechanically-inclined by starting his own business and landing his first job as a student engineer.

Oxford native Joseph Reed, 21, is a senior studying mechanical engineering with a minor in music. Reed developed a love for music in high school as a member of the band’s percussion section for four years. For two, he was percussion leader and in charge of teaching drum music pieces to other drummers.

FullSizeRenderReed said the strict order of rules within the band taught him honor, integrity and responsibility, and he became a perfectionist. That trait also helped Reed during his senior year of high school when he took a wood and mechanics class and became interested in manufacturing and engineering.

“Through band, I learned how to discipline myself as a percussionist and as a person,” Reed said. “People I know today still say I show those characteristics.”


When building anything, Reed said there has to be a base or solid foundation to support the item as a whole. There is also a specific order one must follow to completion. Reed chose mechanical engineering with a minor in music as his foundation, and he became a member of UM’s The Pride of The South Marching Band.

While playing with the band, Reed also decided to start his own business buying, manufacturing and selling new drums. Although business started slow, he managed to build a large clientele in Oxford for his small company, Reed’s Drum Products.

FullSizeRender-1Thaddeus Moss, Reed’s friend and fraternity brother, helped to establish Reed’s Drum Products by finding a company in Memphis that would give them drum parts for a small price. Reed soon became well-known on the Ole Miss campus for his work.

“Reed is one of the hardest workers I know,” Moss said. “It was only right for me to lend him a helping hand. There was no doubt that his business would grow as fast as it did. I am actually one of his customers.”

Reed has also marched with Nashville’s Music City Drum & Bugle Corps and Ohio’s prestigious Bluecoats Drums and Bugle Corps. As the front ensemble section leader, he led the Bluecoats to a 3rd place victory this summer out of 24 competing drum corps in the show “Kinetic Noise.” The Bluecoats competed in 34 shows this summer. Three were performed in NFL stadiums, and two were broadcast live in hundreds of movie theaters.

Reed’s other love is mechanical engineering. He worked hard to maintain a 3.5 GPA and was offered a student job at the BMW Manufacturing Plant in Greenville, South Carolina.

“I thank God for all of my accomplishments,” Reed said. “There is no way but up from here on.”

FullSizeRender-3Though he would have to return to college between the plant’s fall, spring and summer rotations, Reed took the job as a co-op student engineer. He now works in the New Model department of the BMW Paint Shop where he prepares paint for new BMW models that will be produced at the South Carolina plant for 2016 and 2017.

If Reed learns to speak German before he graduates college, he will be offered a fourth rotation at BMW’s head plant set in Germany.

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