Alan S. Reynolds
2011 More professional, but I have aged a bit since.
My Path to Space:
Every time I saw some one wearing a NASA shirt, I'd say to myself, "I want that". No not the t-shirt, I could get that at Target or the Science Center (or online at a million places). The career/life. The: "I work to grow our knowledge, learning and access to Space". But...
I'm Not Quite a "Rocket Scientist"...
Ok, so I have an Aerospace Engineering degree, but I would never get in any plane I'd design. The feedback was "that's... interesting..." aka "don't ever build that in real life" for my last design. But we are getting ahead of ourselves in the story.
Growing up I wasn't the #1 academically or athletically, but I did get an academic scholarship to USC (for Leadership) likely due to my experience as the Captain (2 times) of my High School Track Team and (1 time) for the Cross Country team. But I really loved planes and rockets, JPL and Mars. Hence getting my AE, and wanting to get back to Flight/Space. (getting ahead of myself again)
My first taste of research came between my graduating from High School and starting Freshman year of college (2002). As a field research assistant I took ocean water samples (rhodamine dye had been dumped where it would disperse in the ocean outfall plume) and collected (labeled) grapefruit (yes real grapefruit) that were also dumped, sometimes bartering with beach goers who had picked them up when they washed ashore. Essentially, data recording, though really it was mostly waking up really early and getting a sunburn.
Port of Los Angeles:
I worked with the same group (at USC) in 2004 & 2005 on a research project to map and analyze the outfall of the water/waste in the Chavez Channel into the Port of LA. My first project was to devise a security/containment device to house 3 (separate) automatic water sampling devices. Though they cost $30,000+ each, they needed to remain in place (in public) while awaiting a "wet weather event". Utilizing repurposed 50 gal. steel drums we were able to cut access holes in the bottom to feed the sampling tube out, a shelf to hold the sampler off the ground, and access locations for additional instruments. The whole (weather resistant) system could be locked and locked down to remain in place for deployment when rain occurred as well as operate while locked and unattended.
In the summer of 2005 I assisted with the deployment of the units, acting as Assistant Project Manager, point of contact to the Prime, and deploying and troubleshooting the water samplers (some calculations were off and changes needed to be made "on the fly"). Water samples were successfully taken to determine the concentration of (rhodamine dye) that was inserted upstream. Additionally I participated in GIS data gathering and automated photo stitching of aerial photographs to provide a visual reference of the dye flowing into the harbor.
After graduating from the University of Southern California, with a B.S. Aerospace Engineering (2006), I took a job as a Sales Engineer for a Manufacturer's Representative company in the RF/MW industry. Having no experience in Electrical Engineering (much less RF voodoo) I learned on the job and improved my interpersonal skills (sales makes you talk to people).
Reynolds Sales & Consulting (founded):
I started RSC in 2010 due to a loss of employment during the recession. This enabled me to learn many additional business skills, contracting with employees, vendors, and customers. Ultimately the "Sales" portion of the business was too impacted by the sequestration in 2014.
International Cooling Enterprises (start-up):
I acted as lead Engineer & Program Manager and RSC was contracted with International Cooling Enterprises to take a (hand made) lab validated, self-cooling panel and make it manufacturable in volume. One problem, the data on how it was originally made had been lost. We successfully reverse engineered the cooling panel (utilizing liquid water vaporization in a sealed vacuum and a desiccant material to remove moisture and continue the vaporization and cooling) and designed it for mass production. At this point funding ran out before a factory could be built.
I briefly tried to go more into sales (Real Estate), which didn't work for me and did some business research & consulting (optical lenses for indoor plant growth).
At Daico, one advantage was that while I was Technical "Sales" Manager, I was also the Application Engineer, de-facto Engineering Manager, & Program Manager and was able to guide multiple programs, such as the IFFA Phase Shifter for Patriot (FFF redesign) to production and a higher power, smaller, lower cost, Phase Shifter, for LTAMDS, from initial concept, though 3 design iterations, into Production Representative status, delivering over 225 units. This and other Program Management opportunities (SPY3/Zumwalt switch, Sentinel X-Band Switch, an Air Force Transmitter SBIR, and other undisclosed) showed me that Engineering/Technical Program Management was something I have a skill set for. I managed contracts and go in between customers, engineers, materials/procurement, production, & test, (both internally & externally) throughout a contract and delivery.
I still wanted to get back to Aerospace in a role that goes all the way to space. The passion I had all the way back at the beginning.