I am a Reliability engineer with over 20 years of experience in mechanical and electrical systems in many industries. I founded Apex Ridge Reliability as a firm to assist technology companies with the critical reliability steps in their product development programs and organizational culture.
In industry I built two reliability-engineering organizations from scratch in large companies. I saw the challenges and victories of a technology based company having these methods and practices become a part of their every day process. I couldn’t resist the idea of striking out on my own to create a firm that would be able to assist other companies and technologies who are committed to improving their practices and products using Reliability techniques.
The Apex Ridge (www.apexridge.com) business and customer interface is structured in what I call the “Law Firm Model”. Instead of having a staff of engineers that are assigned to new projects we keep our core group very small. We then created a network of professionals that we include to create custom teams for projects. This greatly benefits the customer because when we take on a project we don’t put a staff engineer on the program. If a specialty is needed we will partner with the leading expert on the subject and create a custom team of experts for that specific project.
This is very different than a firm that is looking to bill hours for their existing staff. We got the idea by studying many types of consulting business practices and seeing that law firms offer tremendous flexibility and efficiency by staying small and partnering with other firms on cases that require expertise or additional resource. I would say that in 50% of our projects the people we recruit have literally “written the book” on the subject matter critical to the program.
Personally I am an engineer by hobby as much as by profession. Where could you put me on the scale of true blue engineers? My wife wrote in her wedding vows that she is ready to accept having every item in the household modified. I’m not kidding. She felt it necessary to acknowledge in front of all our friends and family that she knew what she was getting into. So Engineering is my passion, I have built and raced Formula race cars, designed and fabricated complex control systems.
One favorite was a Porsche race engine fuel injection system. This one was three years of passionate labor. It was so exciting because I got to include so may engineering disciplines, computational fluid dynamics (air flow), fiberglass modeling and fabrication, High pressure fuel system design, electronic control boards, assembly computer language programming, and lot and lots of sensors. It’s advised to not get me talking at a cocktail party about what’s going on in my garage or personal workshop unless you like tech and have some time to kill
In my professional career I have done my Bachelors and Masters in Mechanical Engineering, with a strong “systems” focus. The systems aspect is in addition to the mechanical core I included as many other disciplines as possible. This included software, electronics, control systems, CAD , and finite element analysis theory.
I started my working career in diesel engine development in Denmark. I focused on using Finite Element Analysis to optimize motors for thermal, structural, and vibration. Now when I say motors this is an understatement for anything you pictured in your head. These were 100,000 hp four story tall, pistons bigger than my arm span, exhaust valves taller than Scandinavian Vikings, MONSTER Motors. It was heaven for a gear head. These were the Turbo Two Stroke Diesel behemoths that powered ocean going super tankers.
After Diesel engines and returning to the U.S. I begun to work in Semiconductor Ion Implantation. I didn’t know anything about this field and had no idea what an amazing world was going to be opened up to me. Ion Implanters are about the size of a small house and they create an ion beam in vacuum and accelerate it with high voltage charges and then sort the beam by atomic mass using 5,000 lb magnets. The end goal is to shoot the correct atomic element Ion in exactly the right spot to exactly the right depth in a silicon crystal. This is the process that large fabs like Intel and Motorola use to fabricate micro chips.
So I found myself working with amazing Physicists who were looking to continuously update these machines to do physics they were inventing on their notepads (this stuff wasn’t in books). So I supported them with a lot of FEA analysis for magnetics, beam optics, structural, thermal, and electrical systems. I was having a field day. But then I got just as deep into developing testing methods for them. Ultimately this lead to me starting their first Reliability group. We hired a 30 year industry reliability expert and he and I built a large group that could support all the company testing and analysis with two large labs and a strong team.
After that I went to medical to work in Blood Analysis Instrumentation for the specific purpose of building another reliability engineering organization from scratch. Well after a five year journey and another group up and running I found that what I was missing was the excitement of creating something new. This lead me to found Apex Ridge Reliability where I can create new things with customers who are excited about using reliability tools and changing how they do engineering.
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