Over the years, I’ve worked at a number of different places; from a doer of everything on a beer brewing machine, mechanical lead at an industrial robotics startup, reliability testing on Tesla’s Model S, destructive testing on 40-ton tractors, electric motorcycle design work, to municipal water supply design in El Salvador. Most of the info below can be found in my CV as well, but here are some of the brands I’ve worked with in the past:
I hope you like my black and white color scheme, laid back tone, and centered stock photos. My web development skills will blossom later in life.
Loon is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, delivering LTE connectivity to people in unserved and underserved communities around the world, as well as during times of emergency.
Currently, I lead the reliability test team at Loon. We are a team of four, and we perform all hardware related reliability tests, primarily on the component level. We use various environmental chambers to run long term tests on flight avionics hardware, LTE components, as well as electromechanical hardware. As the team lead, I’m tasked with ensuring we deliver quality test results in a timely manner.
Industrial Optic was a company I helped start, which was acquired by Mueller in 2018. I spent about a year and a half working on a non-invasive (ie, no dig) method for repairing leaks in municipal drinking water distribution pipes. We developed a leak detection and repair delivery drone that deployed into water networks through a fire hydrant. I was the first employee at Industrial Optic, and led the initial technical assessment of the product, and then was the mechanical engineering lead for the product. Utilizing rapid prototyping methods available here in the Bay Area, we quickly built three different functional prototypes in less than a year.
In addition to the robot that delivered the repair mechanism, we also developed a patented repair method for internally repairing leaking pressure pipes. Rather than digging up streets, our technology was able to stop a leak in-situ, without disrupting water service. In short, our repair method utilized the idea behind heart stents to stop the leak.
In 2015, I moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland, to work for Brewbot. I worked hard to get this smart-phone controlled beer brewing machine up and running. On the hardware side of things, we went from having just an idea to completing version 1.0 through production in under a year. With my time at Brewbot, I’ve experienced a lot of startup-ey things: seemingly impossible deadlines, the excitement of getting to the office everyday, investments falling through, personnel changes, completing our first production unit the highs and lows of remote offices, and the list goes on. We made a robot that has made a lot of delicious beer.
Before Brewbot, I worked at Modular Science on a biotech laboratory benchtop assistant. It was a low-cost, modular solution for a tool that’s generally too expensive for a startup to afford. We employed a different style of design life at Modular Science; we used 2D CAD and our design iterations were generally made on the physical model, rather than in software. Meaning, we’d make design changes to the parts, send them out for laser cutting, get them next day, assemble the new prototype, and review the physical model for design changes. This could all be done in less than a week.
With the Vehicle Test team at Tesla Motors, and ran a number of tests on the Model S Beta and Release Candidate units. I mainly ran full lifetime durability tests on the beta and RC machines. Alongside my drivers and technicians, we discovered and addressed many potential issues that could arise during ownership of a Model S during these eight month long tests. I spent many late nights doing laps around the racetrack until my stomach couldn’t handle it anymore, in order to meet company deadlines. My 480-page test report set the department (and possibly company) record for longest report; however, I like to think of it as the most thorough report.
We combined recorded vehicle data with observed flaws to paint an appropriate picture of a vehicle issue. These issues were then studied by our team, alongside the design and manufacturing teams, to determine the root cause and the best course of action to resolve the issue.
As a stress test engineer at CNH (Case New Holland), I traveled the globe performing structural stress tests on heavy construction equipment. I measured the stress caused by impacts and vibrations and estimated time until failure on many different parts and components within these machines. I worked closely with the Noise, Vibration, and Harshness team, and eventually was hired as an NVH engineer toward the end of my time at CNH.
The stress testing mostly revolved around measuring strain of structural members under various load cases, and performing structural analyses of the results. I also worked on vibrational tests on electronic components by measuring various components acceleration during different load cases and comparing these with their specification. Sometimes these load cases would be normal driving on dirt or pavement, and sometimes it would be as harsh as dropping a 32 ton tractor off of a four foot wall.
My first job out of grad school was working for Zero Motorcycles. I began working as a production technician, building sub-assemblies and full motorcycles, but quickly got picked up by the mechanical engineering team to work on design of the 2012 lineup. I helped the senior engineers at Zero design, order, and test prototype parts, which would eventually make it into the BOM for the bike.
Throughout my career, I’ve set time aside to volunteer with a few different organizations that provide technical and financial assistance to projects that improve the health and well-being of a community in need. I’ve traveled to El Salvador and Nicaragua on multiple occasions to donate my time and expertise to communities who have asked for direction on various drinking water projects. My two main projects in Central America both involved helping a small community reliably distribute clean water.
In El Salvador, My Engineers Without Borders - San Francisco Professionals team helped build a pump house, installed electricity, and installed an electric pump connected to a municipal water tank so that the residents of San Juan de Dios would have a reliable source of water. The photos below show the construction of the pump house and the installed pump.
The project in Nicaragua consisted partnering with El Porvenir and building a cistern (underground storage) for spring water. This sistern had plumbing feeding holding tanks, which then led to distribution between seven different faucets serving the comminuity of 125. This system was 100% gravity fed and no electronic parts.