A Materials Researcher on the Manufacturing Floor

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To enjoy working in manufacturing, one needs to be comfortable with chaos. In fact, it is best if one can thrive on chaos and constant motion. Two years after joining Hewlett Packard as a research and development engineer, I transferred to manufacturing into a production manager role. I went from responsibility for a small piece of a larger project to managing close to 100 people in a 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week operation manufacturing light-emitting diodes (LEDs). I was responsible for the operators in three distinct areas—bulk crystal growth, epitaxial growth, and wafer fabrication. After production management for two years, I became a process engineering manager at the Colorado Springs Technology Center of Agilent Technologies (formerly Hewlett Packard). The Tech Center designs and manufactures multichip modules and hybrid assemblies for Agilent Technologies instruments.