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VITA PERSONAS

As VITA grows in innovations and ideas, we look to those participants actively engaged in our organization to provide insights and feedback on how to best shape our standards into the future.  Our VITA Personas segment highlights those who are making contributions to our community and helping shape today’s VITA standards.

This critical aspect of our ecosystem is what keeps our organization vibrant and our standards relevant. If you know someone with embedded computing experience who may want to share their view on being a part of VITA, drop us a note at content@vita.com.

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  • Thursday, May 19, 2022 4:47 AM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Bob Patterson, Staff R&D/Product Development Engineer, TE Connectivity

    Bob has worked as an engineer in the connector industry for his entire career, all of it with TE Connectivity (originally AMP Inc.). Originally from the Pittsburgh area, he moved to Harrisburg in 1978 to join AMP Inc. Bob's lone hobby these days is firefighting, which he's been doing for the past 35 years. Working from home since COVID enables him to respond to emergencies 24/7.

    WORKING WITH VITA

    1. For someone not familiar with VITA, what would you say are some key benefits that the trade association provides in the development of electronic components?

    VITA membership is made up of manufacturers and users that have a common market interest in real-time, modular embedded computing systems. Having such a diverse membership helps drive the technology. Not long after I became involved with VITA, the VME 320 technology was presented a VSO meeting that would take signal speeds up to 320 megabytes per second. That created quite a stir at the time, although that speed is not impressive by today’s standards. Now there are discussions about 200+GBs. These advancements are the result of the membership companies, including competitors, working together on a common goal.

    2. What are some (or one) innovations you have seen in product development that were influenced by VITA standards (or open standards in general)?

    One instance is when the TE MultiGig connector was originally selected as the interconnect for the VITA 46 (VPX) standard, it had been designed for and used primarily in the communications industry. As the VPX and industry requirements changed over time requiring increased signal speeds and ruggedization, MultiGig connector design changes were made to meet those needs.

    WHY ENGINEERING?

    1. Did you always want to be an engineer? If so, why? If not, how’d you wind up here?

    I decided to become an engineer while in middle school. I always enjoyed mechanical drawing and problem solving. Penn State had built a branch campus 10 minutes from my home a few years earlier and it seemed like a good fit.

    2. What has surprised you the most about the work you do with embedded computing? (or VITA in general)

    I would say the satisfaction of helping develop standards that will be used in the industry for years to come. I’ve chaired two standards in my time with the VSO and it feels good to have made some contribution. I’ve been attending VSO meetings since 1996 and have learned so much about the embedded computing market during that time.

    3. What is one of the biggest issue currently facing our Aerospace & Defense or engineering community?

    My opinion is that recruitment and retention are two big problems facing not only the engineering community today, but all industries. Finding people to fill open positions is becoming more difficult and retaining them is as equally difficult. People just don’t want stay in one place for too long anymore.

    4. What advice would you give to someone looking into engineering?

    I’d always recommend engineering as a career when the opportunity presented itself. When we would visit schools during engineering week over the years, we’d always point out to the students that everything they see around them was designed by some type of engineer.

    Off the cuff: • What’s the most recent show you’ve binge watched?

    I don’t really binge watch any shows, but the last network show I watched regularly was The Big Bang Theory.

  • Monday, April 18, 2022 12:30 PM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Suzanne Gartlan, Director of Global Sales, IEH Corporation

    Suzanne is the global director of sales at IEH connectors. She is responsible for business development as well as sales nationally and internationally. She has championed multiple platforms in our industry through mil-defense, space, aerospace, medical as well as oil and gas. She has been an active member with VITA for the last eight years and has been a program manager for developing the high speed connectors at IEH. Suzanne is looking forward to working with VITA and the trajectory of the continued growth of VITA’s platform.

    WORKING WITH VITA

    1. What role does VITA’s Community play in helping the larger embedded computing ecosystem?

    I believe it is multi faceted in the role it plays in embedded systems. It has a large responsibility in supporting as well as educating engineers in the field on what is the best option for their design.

    2. For someone not familiar with VITA, what are the key elements to understanding the benefits of VITA Standard that provides improved capability to the end users?

    To educate and help engineers with ease of design. It benefits them to know what the capabilities are of the various standard as well as what is the interoperability provided by the standards. The more guidance the standards can provide the better opportunity the engineer has for developing higher quality products.

    WHY ENGINEERING?

    1. Did you always want to be in high tech? If so, why? If not, how’d you wind up here?

    I wanted to work with extraordinary people with extraordinary designs. I was always interested in how things were made and was mesmerized by flight.

    2. What has surprised you the most about the work you do with VITA?

    How much I have enjoyed the people. I have learned so much from the brilliance and passions from the various VITA members.

    3. What is one of the biggest issues currently facing our Aerospace & Defense community?

    Being technically advantaged over our adversaries to provide strategic deterrence. We need to have a more proactive approach to next level design.

    4. What advice would you give to someone looking into this field?

    Never get complacent and try to learn something new every day.

    Off the cuff: Is there a new piece of tech coming out that you’re waiting to get your hands on?

    Flying cars!

  • Thursday, February 03, 2022 8:43 AM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Dean Holman, President/Executive Director, VITA

    Dean leverages over three decades of leadership in the Aerospace and Defense industry to unite competitors, producers and end users in the successful development of next generation, leading edge interoperability standards. His experience as an FPGA and board designer, systems engineer, sustaining engineering manager and senior director of global mission assurance helps him guide VITA members as they develop these open standards to enable future system designs.

    WORKING WITH VITA

    1. What is one of the more significant standards that VITA has developed, and why?

    Aside from the original VMEBus standard released in 1982, which eventually drove a revolution in the embedded space, I would say ANSI/VITA 65 OpenVPX is the most significant.  Based on ANSI/VITA 46 VPX, 65 has proliferated as THE base standard upon which other Open Standards groups (i.e. SOSA, etc,) base their work, which is being applied across most new system designs.

    2. How are VITA’s standards being applied in modern communications systems?

    A good example is how the ANSI/VITA 49 VITA Radio Transport (VRT) standard is offering a consistent protocol for Software Defined Radio interconnect systems that drives improved interoperability, maintainability and upgradability.

    WHY ENGINEERING?

    1. Did you always want to be an engineer? If so, why?  If not, how’d you wind up here?

    No.  I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a commercial airline pilot.  My dad flew two tours of combat as captain of a B-17G bomber in WWII, then spent 35 years flying for Northeast Airlines, then Delta.  The only thing that held me back was I wore glasses.  Back in the 70s and 80s, you had to have perfect vision to be a military pilot, which was the prime way of eventually flying commercially.  The chief pilot at Delta suggested to my father that I get an engineering degree and my private pilot license.  Then sign on with a 3rd tier airline (like Cape Air) and build up my time.  Then apply to 2nd tier carriers like UPS and FedEx, and eventually get picked up by Delta or American. 

    I earned my BSEE from WPI and started working as a Systems Engineer at MITRE, while earning my private pilot license.  Low and behold, I found that I REALLY enjoyed engineering.  That was 38 years ago, and I'm happy with the path of my career.

    2. What has surprised you the most about the work you do with embedded computing? (or engineering in general)

    Looking back, I think learning how rewarding it can be to solve a complex technical problem is what surprised me the most.  The satisfaction I felt of finally getting to the root cause of an issue through methodical detective work and designing an elegant solution that resolved the problem is what made my engineering years so enjoyable.  I have learned that you can extrapolate that methodology to leadership to resolve personnel and organizational issues with a similar rewarding feeling.

    3. What is one of the biggest issues currently facing engineers?

    I would say the impending “grey tsunami” is one of the largest issues facing our industry today.  There are a great number of engineers fast approaching retirement.  Companies need to focus more to facilitate knowledge transfer from these experienced engineers to the “junior talent” in their organizations.  Mentorship is a key method to accomplish this passing of the torch. 

    I see this issue at VITA.  We have a large percentage of representatives from the various member companies who are very senior in their organization.  I have taken on a goal in my new role at VITA to help highlight to the leadership of member companies the need for them to get junior engineers involved in standards development.  By having them work closely with the experienced engineers, it would provide them with exposure to a treasure trove of experience and help facilitate that information transfer.  It would also provide our industry with the next generation of engineers skilled in developing open standards to carry our industry forward for decades to come.

    4. What advice would you give to someone looking into this field of engineering?

    First of all, I would strongly recommend engineering as a career!  Not only is it rewarding from a personal perspective (the most important factor), it is also relatively stable and you are well compensated.  If the person is in high school, I would say to get involved in any STEM-based clubs.  If possible, get internships or summer jobs with engineering companies in their area in order to get exposed to the career. 

    Once high schoolers or college students are committed to the field, I would also urge them to NOT focus completely on technology.  We all know the stereotypical “geeky” engineer persona.  I would urge those starting down the engineering career path to make an effort to become a well-rounded person.  Participate in clubs, social events and team-based activities in order to become more outgoing.  It will help you in the long run. 

    Off the cuff: Tell us your favorite joke.

    An engineer was crossing a road one day, when a frog called out to him: "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess," said the frog.

    He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.

    The frog then cried out: "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you for one week and do ANYTHING you want."

    Again, the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.

    “What is the matter?” the frog asked. “I've told you I'm a beautiful princess and that I'll stay with you for one week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"

    "Look,” said the man. “I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog - now that's cool!

  • Friday, January 14, 2022 4:04 AM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Jeff David, Senior Principal Software Engineer, Mercury Systems, Inc.

    Jeff has worked in the computer hardware and software industry since the 80s, including on OS components, wired and wireless networking, board bring-up, ATCA, IPMI, and VITA 46.11. He’s married with grown children and one grandchild! His hobbies include playing the bass guitar and riding motorcycles.

    WORKING WITH VITA

    1. What role does VITA’s Systems Management Community play in helping the larger embedded computing ecosystem?

    VITA’s System Management Community provides a framework for communication within which multiple varied companies can collaborate and create products that successfully and seamlessly interact.

    2. For someone not familiar with VITA 46.11, what are the key elements to understanding the benefits of this standard that provides a systems control capability?

    Systems that support VITA 46.11 have the ability to communicate with each other over a well-established and well-defined low-level backplane protocol that remains available even when higher-level communication (e.g. Ethernet) is not. The VITA 46.11 Chassis Manager provides a focal point from which all boards in a chassis may be controlled (for power and reset) and an aggregation point on which information about the boards in the system and their health may be easily collected. It is important to understand that the System Management infrastructure remains powered on while the Payload of each board in the system may be powered off.

    WHY ENGINEERING?

    1. Did you always want to be an engineer? If so, why?  If not, how’d you wind up here?

    Haha! No, I wanted to be a travelling musician! Then I settled down and got married, had kids, and went back to school. I enjoyed working on computers at school and got a job at Wang upon graduation. Many industry changes over the years eventually brought me to Mercury.

    2. What has surprised you the most about the work you do with embedded computing? (or engineering in general)

    How I continue to remain interested and feel rewarded just from getting things to work!

    3. What is one of the biggest issue currently facing engineers?

    Outsourcing.

    4. What advice would you give to someone looking into this field of engineering?

    Do what you enjoy doing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    Off the cuff: Tell us your favorite joke.

    I thought I was wrong once, but I was wrong…

  • Thursday, October 21, 2021 3:31 AM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Lori Bechtold, Retired, Reliability Engineer

    Lori Bechtold is a reliability engineer, retired after 32 years with The Boeing Company.  She has participated in the VITA Standards Organization since 2004, and has chaired the reliability working group, VITA 51, since 2006.  She also participates in SAE and IEEE standards development.  She is currently leading a joint development effort between IEEE and VITA to develop a new standard for electronics derating.

    WORKING WITH VITA

    1. What role does VITA’s Reliability Community play in helping the larger embedded computing ecosystem?

    The VITA Reliability Community provides a forum for finding common solutions for the challenges facing reliability practitioners from different companies. 

    2. For someone not familiar with VITA 51.x, what are the key elements to understanding the benefits of this standard that provides a failure rate prediction framework?

    The VITA 51.x family of standards provides consensus-based solutions to common reliability problems, such as updating the modelling factors in reliability handbooks for current technologies or applying innovative analysis methods like physics of failure.

    WHY ENGINEERING?

    1. Did you always want to be an engineer? If so, why?  If not, how’d you wind up here?

    I was always interested in math, since I was a young child.  I majored in mathematics in college and there, I was provided with a broader understanding of engineering and decided to concentrate on applied math.  I was offered an engineering job before graduation with a large aerospace company and stayed there for my whole career.

    2. What has surprised you the most about the work you do with embedded computing? (or engineering in general)

    I’m surprised at how undervalued embedded computing applications are.  Because they are often low volume, highly specialized equipment they don’t attract the same attention as high-volume commercial electronics.  However, embedded electronics enable us to safely drive cars and efficiently navigate airplanes, so are very important for our world and our quality of life.

    3. What is one of the biggest issues currently facing engineers?

    Cybersecurity and, more generally, issues related to assuring information integrity are becoming bigger issues as our world embraces increased information access and interconnectivity.

    4. What advice would you give to someone looking into this field of engineering?

    Reliability engineering requires a good foundation of engineering fundamentals, as well as a penchant for seeing and exposing weaknesses in designs.

    Off the cuff: What’s the most recent show you’ve binge watched?

    I love nature shows and have been binge watching several in the Planet Earth series.

  • Tuesday, March 09, 2021 1:42 PM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Emil Kheyfets, Director, Technical Business Development, Aitech

    Emil Kheyfets is Director of Technical Business Development at Aitech. His more than 30 years of experience in engineering, engineering management and business development include many technical accomplishments in embedded rugged computing programs for Mil-Aero and Space applications.

    Emil held various engineering and managerial roles with VISTA Controls/Curtiss Wright Embedded Computing and Applied Display Technology prior to joining Aitech and has been an active member of VITA since 2004 (VITA 46 and VITA 65OpenVPX Working Groups). He holds an MSEE in Electrical Engineering from Moscow University of Radio-Electronics and Automation.

    WORK WITH VITA

    1.      How does VPX influence SWaP-optimization in embedded computing systems?

    High data throughput requirements of most modern systems make VPX a preferred standard of choice due to its high speed signals support. Technology advancements have enabled more functionality on 3U VPX cards, and 3U VPX systems are replacing larger legacy 6U VME/cPCI systems by providing SWaP-optimization for embedded computing systems. The introduction of the 3U VPX short concept will allow VPX to support even smaller system sizes.

    2.      Why is the connection between VPX and SOSA so important to building modern military systems?

    SOSA is based on a subset of VPX slot profiles and modules/backplanes requirements. Leveraging the VPX standard in SOSA simplifies the SOSA standard creation effort, and it simplifies SOSA-aligned hardware development for hardware vendors, based on their existing VPX cards and systems.

    WHY ENGINEERING?

    1.      Did you always want to be an engineer? If so, why?  If not, how’d you wind up here?

    I always wanted to be an engineer. My father was a power supplies designer, and I was attracted to electronics since childhood. I built my first Z80-based computer by myself at home. I started working as an electronics technician after high school, while I was getting my degree in the evenings, and I have been involved in electronics & embedded computing designs during all of my career.

    2.      What has surprised you the most about the work you do with embedded computing? 

    Technology progress is amazing. Today’s cell phones have higher performance than huge mainframe computers from not long ago. Our ability to provide high performance embedded computing systems in small form factors allows us to support the enhanced capabilities of the equipment and machines where embedded systems are used.

    3.      What is one of the biggest issue currently facing engineers?

    Component obsolescence. In some cases, designs become obsolete before they get into production.

    4.      What advice would you give to someone looking into this field of engineering?

    If you are interested in engineering, embedded computing is a great choice. With the fast pace of technology progress, it never gets boring. Also, you will feel pride when you see a drone or a spacecraft flying with your embedded system inside.

    Off the cuff: What’s the most recent show you’ve binge watched?

    “Hell’s Kitchen”. Just kidding.

  • Monday, October 26, 2020 5:06 AM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Jason Barr, General Manager, Trenton Systems

    Jason Barr is Trenton Systems’ general manager, a role that he assumed in January 2020. He develops people and processes to help Trenton continually improve and better serve its customers. Before becoming general manager, Barr served as Trenton’s director of operations, overseeing planning, procurement, inbound logistics, outbound logistics, and warehousing. Before joining Team Trenton, he served as director of operations at IPA, a leading manufacturer of linen and specialty uniform distribution solutions. He also worked as a senior supply chain engineer at Essendant for nearly six years. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Tennessee Technological University, his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Georgia College and State University, and his Master of Engineering, Industrial Engineering, at Clemson University.


    WORK WITH VITA

    1.  Why do you think that open technology standards are important?

    With the interoperability and streamlined development offered by open technology standards, customers don’t have to forego a superior product because they are locked in with an incumbent. This places ongoing pressure on technology suppliers to constantly improve and eliminates complacency from the market, ultimately benefiting customers and promoting technological advancement.

    2.  Why do you think it’s important for companies to get involved with VITA?

    We provide technologies that are critical to lives, livelihoods, and personal and national security.  Involvement with VITA helps ensure that interoperability, security and reliability are inherent in the products we develop, thus enhancing our ability to provide trusted products that meet the needs of our clients. High-performance edge computing solutions feature distinct development requirements and challenges spanning hardware, software, connectivity, platform integration and security. Our continued involvement with VITA enables us to form well-rounded partnerships that include key software and technology providers.

    WHY ENGINEERING?

    1.  Did you always want to be an engineer? If so, why?  If not, how’d you wind up here?

    I’ve always been an engineer. I started building models when I was five years old and loved to take things apart to see how they worked. I could usually put anything I took apart back together; however, there was a day in early 1980s when I took apart my dad’s Nikon F3 camera and was unable to reassemble it. That was a bad day.

    2.  What has surprised you the most about the work you do with embedded computing? (or engineering in general)

    Now that I’m about 25 years into my career, I’m surprised by how much I continue to learn on a weekly basis. 

    3.  What is one of the biggest issues currently facing engineers?

    One of the greatest challenges that engineers face is thinking holistically. We can dive deep into a technical problem and become myopic as we focus all our attention on that problem. It’s important to take a step back and look at opportunities with a broader scope. 

    4.  What advice would you give to someone looking into this field of engineering?

    Seek out opportunities to co-op or work as an intern early in your education. I worked at a research and development lab early in my collegiate career, and it was a great experience. I got hands-on experience with test equipment and test methods. When I later took classes on these subjects, they were no longer abstract concepts. It was remarkable how much other students who had never had real-world experience struggled with those same concepts.

    Off the cuff: What’s something interesting you do outside of work?

    I am an avid runner. Running helps me relieve stress and think more clearly. It doesn’t matter how challenging the day has been. The endorphins after a long run really give me a positive mindset.

  • Tuesday, December 17, 2019 8:52 AM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Greg Rocco, Member Technical Staff, MIT Lincoln Laboratory

    Greg Rocco is a Technical Staff member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory (MIT-LL), where he started back in 1977, doing both board-level and ASIC designs for signal processing subsystems.

    In 1994, Greg joined what is now Mercury Systems as a pre-sales consulting system engineer. At Mercury, he gathered requirements, conceived and architected new product concepts and ushered them through engineering. Greg became very involved with standards work as the lead editor of OpenVPX and editor of VITA 75.0, 75.11, 75.20, 75.22 and 62.0.

    When Greg returned to MIT-LL in 2012, he started representing the interests of his sponsors in the standardization process and the COTS ecosystem. He created the OpenVPX tutorial, and started proposing content to OpenVPX. He is editor of OpenVPX, was editor of ANSI/VITA 46.0-2019, participates in several other VITA Working Groups, and participates in the development of the CMOSS, HOST and SOSA standards.

     WORK WITH VITA

    1.  As editor of VITA 65 (Open VPX), what are some of the most interesting ways you have seen companies work together towards a common standard?

    We do pretty well at ‘coopetition’ within VITA Working Groups; we understand that many of the members are competitors, but we manage to cooperate. In my current role, I have the advantage of not being affiliated with those competing to make products adhering to the standards. It’s really important to make sure that each person with a view has a chance to be heard. If I feel that someone’s idea is not practical, I try to lead a discussion, asking questions, with the goal being they either convince me to go their way or I help them figure out that what they’re proposing may not be the way we should go. It’s important to be open to changing your mind, based on new arguments.

    2.  What is your secret to managing all of the diverse inputs you receive?

    In order to manage all the input we receive, while reviewing drafts of standards, we maintain comment spreadsheets. This is an important tool in helping us stay organized -- making sure that a comment does not get missed and giving us an audit trail in the event that we need to go back and review how we got to where we are. We can sort comments by section or line numbers enabling us to merge spreadsheets from multiple reviewers and can identify when there are multiple comments associated with the same area of the draft.

    WHY ENGINEERING?

    1.  Did you always want to be an engineer? If so, why?  If not, how’d you wind up here?

    I think I knew I wanted to be an engineer before I knew the word for it. I have memories of wiring up batteries to lights and switches when I was in the first few years of grade school. By junior high and the beginning of high-school, I was building Heath Kits of things like a vacuum tube volt meeting, short wave radio, oscilloscope, television, etc.

    I became interested in amateur radio, but was a very shy kid. I preferred to let someone else do the talking. Before I invested in amateur radio equipment, I went to 11th grade at a high school with a radio station and I became chief engineer. I was also chief engineer of my college radio station. Around this time, I also got access to minicomputers and learned how to program.

    2.  What has surprised you the most about the work you do with embedded computing?

    Our ability to go at higher and higher data rates over copper backplanes.

    3.  What is one of the biggest issue currently facing engineers?

    Sometimes not being listened to by upper management. One of the mantras I learned in college that has stuck with me is “the sooner you fix a problem, the cheaper it is to fix”. When engineers see a problem, particularly when a system is safety critical, it is import that they be heard.

    4.  What advice would you give to someone looking into this field of engineering?

    When considering a job, look at what sorts of things you will actually be doing during your work day; think about whether they are things you want to do. There are many different kinds of engineering jobs, so think about what you like doing. I like interacting with other engineers and leveraging my experience to help create standards. Hence, for where I am at now, working on standards is a good fit.

    Off the cuff: How do you stay sane with all the standards discussions activities in which you participate?

    It's important to be really organized, pay attention to details and keep good notes. As I am using standards, I keep a list for each standard and of problems I have come across. When the standard is being updated, I pass the issues on to the rest of the Working Group for the standard in question. I set up reminders on my computer to nag me concerning things that need to be done, like which ballots are open and when they will close.

    I generate indexes of my notes by subject and contact. I also have good tools for searching emails and files. As I mentioned earlier, we use spreadsheets to keep track of the status/resolution of comments to a draft of a standard.

  • Monday, August 19, 2019 6:25 AM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Lionel Provost, Digital Electronics Expert, Thales

    As an electronics enthusiast since the beginning of my studies, I was a board designer for almost 12 years in a very dynamic and innovative company: Interface Concept. By being involved early in complex embedded projects, I had the chance to put my new skills to work on several technologies (Intel and PowerPC CPU, AMD GPU, Altera/Xilinx FPGA, Marvell Ethernet switches) in various form factors (VME, PMC/XMC, VPX, FMC).

    I’ve been involved in VITA developments since the first release of ANSI/VITA 46.0 VPX in 2007 and have built a strong culture of standardization and open architectures. Four years ago, I had the opportunity to join Thales as a digital hardware expert. It was a good way for me to be closest to the system and I’m now working on new electronic warfare systems, where open standards and a culture of re-use are increasingly important.

    WORK WITH VITA

    1. Explain some of the work you’re doing with VITA 46 (VPX) in the hardware you are developing?

    I’ve been a VITA 46 user since the beginning of the standard, designing different VPX COTS FPGA, CPU boards. Because I’ve been using the VITA standard for almost 15 years, I know this experience helps me to build better architectures consistent with new standard enhancements.

    2. What new design challenges do you see for electronics used in military aircraft, and how can standards help?

    The complexity of electronics equipment is increasing. Using standard is a way to make modularity and upgradability possible at reasonable cost.

    WHY ENGINEERING?

    1. Did you always want to be an engineer? If so, why?  If not, how’d you wind up here?

    I didn’t always want to be an engineer, but since early childhood I have always been passionate by building and creating stuff. That led me on the path of engineering, but rather late!

    2. What has surprised you the most about the work you do with embedded computing? (or engineering in general)

    The variety of topics and the number of possible applications in embedded computing. They are almost infinite, whatever the field.

    3. What is one of the biggest issue currently facing engineers?

    The incredible evolution of technologies and the ability to integrate them into our equipment is challenging.

    4. What advice would you give to someone looking into this field of engineering?

    The ability to take a step back from your daily work and learn how to build skills on topics you do not know. This requires a significant effort, but it is an important part of the job to be able to progress.

    Off the cuff: What’s the most recent show you’ve binge watched?

    Chernobyl: very realistic, didactic and addictive TV mini-series on the world's worst nuclear power plant accident

  • Tuesday, July 30, 2019 6:56 AM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Michael Munroe, Principal Backplane Architect, Elma Electronic

    Working in the interconnect packaging and backplane industry since 1986, Michael has authored and contributed to many industry articles, published in such magazines as Connector Specifier, Electronic Products, Electronic Design, EE Times, COTS Journal, Military Embedded Systems and Military & Aerospace Electronics. He is a major contributor to embedded computing standards, including IEEE 1101.2, CompactPCI, AdvancedTCA, VME64x, VITA 46.x, VITA 65.x and many others.

    Michael is a former secretary and treasurer of PICMG and a former vice-chair of the VITA Standards Organization (VSO). He continues to play an active role in VITA and PICMG and is a professional member of the IEEE.

    WORK WITH VITA

    1. Explain some of the work you’re doing with VITA 65 (OpenVPX).

    I contribute to the development and revision of the VPX family of standards as well as the SOSA™ (Sensors Open Systems Architecture) standard. I’m especially focused on the complete interconnect channel and the implementation of high-speed backplanes. Currently I’m involved in the SOSA Hardware Working Group, the SOSA System Management Sub-Committee and the VITA 65.0/.1 standards. Elma has been the first to implement many new Eurocard backplane architectures and was chosen to implement the CMOSS backplane for CERDEC, a predecessor of the SOSA architecture.

    2. How is MOSA (Modular Open Systems Approach) impacting standards-based embedded designs and OpenVPX specifically?

    Open system architectures began with the PC/micro revolution and then with the industrial acceptance of the VME architecture in the early 80s. Open, modular, backplane-based computer architectures have been a constant throughout my career.

    In industrial and defense applications, we depend on a vibrant ecosystem that can meet a wide variety of system requirements from aerospace and mining to rail and autonomous vehicles. VPX depends upon the collaboration of a wide variety of vendors to meet increasingly challenging system requirements. The open standard approach allows multiple organizations to contribute to a common standard that can meet everyone’s current requirements.

    WHY ENGINEERING?

    1. Did you always want to be an engineer? If so, why? If not, how’d you wind up here?

    I have wanted to be an electrical engineer for as long as I can remember. I was first excited to build small motors from nails and magnet wire for a Boy Scout Merit Badge. I went on to obtain my Novice Amateur Radio License and my first copy of the A.R.R.L. Handbook and started building Heath Kits.

    However, college was not what I expected, and I dropped out and went to work becoming a machinist for such companies as DuPont and W.L. Gore and Associates. Later, working as a technician in the field of photovoltaics, I eventually found my way back into industrial electronics, where I combined my interest in electronics with my training as a machinist. There are many ways to arrive at any destination, and I can honestly say I have found enjoyment in every job that I’ve held. I come from a family of teachers and I find that much of my work within this industry is really just another form of teaching. I enjoy introducing young and old engineers and technicians to new open architectures.

    2. What has surprised you the most about the work you do with embedded computing? (or engineering in general)

    The bandwidth and data rate of backplanes continues to astound me. When I first entered this industry, a 3 MHz computer bus was considered very fast. Today, our company is implementing a new SOSA/VPX backplane where every channel will be capable of 25 GBase-KR signaling. This is astounding. The ability of silicon to reliably decode information out of a sea of noise and discontinuities makes much of this work possible.

    3. What advice would you give to someone looking into this field of engineering?

    Follow the IEEE Code of Ethics and learn to enjoy collaboration with others. Share your knowledge and always be aware of what you don’t know. Remember, if you can’t measure a process, you can’t control it. Every electrical and optical behavior is controlled by physical elements, defined by measurement.

    Off the cuff: What’s something interesting you do outside of work?

    I enjoy photography, am a hobby bee keeper and spend too much time on Facebook keeping in touch with old friends and my children.

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