I got my start working with technical things very early in life. Hand and power tools were available to me as soon as I could pick them up. I was soldering, hammering, drilling and jigsawing when I was 5.
I carried on this path throughout my life- Building and programming computers, I learned low level programming in Binary, machine code and assembly and higher level languages like FORTH, BASIC, Pascal and C. I concentrated mainly on generating images, bought a 2 pen plotter and started doing anaglyphic images. I started selling anaglyphic motion templates for traditional animators to use as scale and motion references.
Before my first big job, I bounced around jobs, doing effects and model making, computer programming, machining and electronics.
In 1991 I started woking at Clairmont Camera, first as a lens builder and technician, and finishing off with inventing several cool projects. Most notorious are the Image Shaker and Squishy Lens. I received an Emmy for my contributions in 2002 and an Academy Award in 2016 for the Image Shaker, and an Academy Award nomination for the Squishy Lens.
I loved the work at Clairmont because it was innovative and I was entirely responsible for every design aspect of the Squishy Lens and Image shaker. I learned a lot there.
I moved on to Panavision in 1998, where I continued on the motion control path. There I laid the underpinnings for all the meta-data capture that Panavision puts in their lenses, in addition to developing a motion control Frazier lens, a velocity based motion control system and building the architecture for a cartridge based, motorized optical effect called the SmArt Lens. I also built a lot of cool test equipment like motion capture and collating systems for their lens manufacturing that took a week long process and trimmed it to down to an hour or two.
Concurrent to my work at Panavision, I wrote a personal robotics themed column for Nuts N Volts magazine, where I ground out a project a month.
For the last 11 years I have worked at a place called Applied Minds, first as an engineer, then manager and now director of Electro Optics. I have vastly broadened my horizons there, and have a much better understanding of everything from user interfaces, test equipment, writing and photography to multi aperture imaging and other high end imaging applications.
What I have learned how to do best at Applied Minds is rapid prototyping and deployment. There is a crucial difference here. A Rapid Deployment is like taking a prototype to the next level. A deployable item is one that you can expect not to fall apart. A prototype tests the concept, a deployment is implementable in the field.