Baby in a Basket

The project looked like it would be way behind schedule!

IBM was buying a piece of new test equipment from Oregon, but the delivery of that first unit was months behind schedule. The problem was the vendor’s software needed to run the tool. I was working in a memory chip characterization department, and we needed that new tester to get our job done on the next generation of RAM chips.

Continue reading “Baby in a Basket”

Program Management


In each phase of my career when I took on a program management role, I reached out to the experts on the team to learn more in-depth about their fields. When leading a multi-national effort on multi-chip modules, I had hours-long sessions with a senior engineer to refresh my memory about signal integrity and packaging issues. When pushing new standards for high-speed interconnect chips, I had many, many lessons from analog engineering about PLL design, and with digital engineering about encoding techniques, encryption, pipelining, etc. Most recently, leading a project to produce test equipment, I dug into the software design with the help of the programming team to discuss partitioning the code, overlays, call-backs, compiled versus open source issues, etc.

In all of these cases, my involvement as an engineer with each team went above being the program manager, and generated a lot of trust and confidence both for them and for myself.

Continue reading “Program Management”


First Invention

Faced with a problem at a server company, I came up with a solution which lead to a patent – my first! Not only was it gratifying to be creative in that way, but also to do so while in Sales, not in Engineering!

The company had been trying to solve the customer’s requirements with our current chip offering. There had been many meetings. I took the problem home with me in my head, and wrestled with it. I made some drawings, wrote up a brief description, and then presented it to the team. They critiqued it from a technical, risk, and cost point of view. It passed muster, and we presented it to the customer. It used only chips which we already had in production, and actually reduced the system cost for the customer.

I built a demonstration of the solution, using a series of our own PCB’s interconnected with cables. Unfortunately this customer had other issues with the program, so the idea never went to production.

But the company gained in reputation by providing a timely, creative solution. And I gained, on recommendation from a senior engineer, by filing for and being granted a patent!

Continue reading “Patents”