The professional website of David C. Hunter

Looking to hire an experienced mechanical / electrical / software engineer?

I am currently looking for a full-time or consulting position. Email is not yet setup on my new professional website, so you can email me through my personal website: hunter {at} dragonsdawn (dot) org

Looking for my personal website? Check here.

About David C. Hunter

I am a mechatronics/robotics engineer focused on the integration of electrical, mechanical, and software systems. I solve problems involving a mix of components such as microcontrollers, analog & digital electronics, actuators, sensors, motors, and software.

In my free time I hike, climb, cave, and volunteer among other activities. I also run two websites, my personal website and Scary Bridges where photos of many of my activities can be found.

David in the NMT Mechatronics machine shop.

Qualifications Overview

Notable Accomplishments

Skills Include


Employment Overview

I have over 15 years of work experience covering a wide variety of tasks. A brief timeline:

Details of each position are below.


Detailed Employment History

National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)

I worked at NRAO for 9 years, 2007-2015. Most of my time was spent on Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) construction. Once construction was complete, I spent 3 years on the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA). While NRAO is an excellent place to work, I left NRAO to study for a masters degree. While at NRAO, I served in a number of positions which are outlined below.

NRAO: Very Long Baseline Array Specialist II, Sep 2012 to Aug 2015

Overview

After completing the ALMA project, NRAO no longer had a construction-related position for me. They did, however, have a maintenance position at their Brewster Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) site. This gave me an opportunity to learn by supporting an older telescope system. It also emphasized independent work as I had only one on-site coworker, and my understanding of the system was essential to our repairs. To insure my career didn't stagnate, I started studying for my eventual return school to see a masters degree in mechanical engineering.

Key Skills

Key accomplishments

Reason for leaving: Returning to school to seek a masters degree.

The Brewster VLBA antenna, where I worked for 3 years.

Photo: The Brewster VLBA antenna. My office was in the building behind the trees on the right.

Mechanical Engineer, Atacama Large Millimeter Array, June 2011 to Sep 2012

Overview

After working on ALMA construction for 5 years in NRAO's Socorro office, I had the oppertunity to move to Chile to spend 18 months on the final construction of the ALMA telescope. This was a rare and unique experience which was well worth doing, and I hope to one day do more international work. Portions of my experience in Chile can be seen on my personal webpage, in my tour of the ALMA telescope, and on my other hobby website, Scary Bridges.

My work during those 18 months focused on the inspection and certification of the last of NRAO's ALMA antennas. The antennas were constructed under a contract with Vertex sub-division of General Dynamics. I ran acceptance tests, worked with Vertex to insure timely delivery, and coordinated activities between Vertex, NRAO, and the ALMA Project. Work was done in shifts, with 8 days working at the Operations Support Facility and 6 days off in Santiago.

Key Skills

Key accomplishments

Reason for leaving: Project completion

An antenna being tested during ALMA construction

Photo: ALMA antennas during late night optical pointing tests. My office was in the building on the right.

NRAO: Software Engineer, Nov 2008 to June 2011

Overview

When the funding for my prior position ran out, I was happy to leave my contract position for a full-time position as an NRAO employee. This was primarily a programming position, but I continued to support hardware development. I also coordinated between the hardware and software departments to insure that problems were corrected. My understand of both hardware and software systems provided me with a unique ability to locate a problem. Interpersonal skills were necessary to work with all parties to avoid the blame game while focusing on correcting the problem and building a functional system.

Key Skills

Key accomplishments

Reason for leaving: Promotion within the organization

An ALMA data receiver module.

Photo: One of the ALMA data receivers I was responsible for assembling and installing.

System Administrator & Technician, Nov 2008 to June 2011

Overview

Once I had proved myself at NRAO, I was able to move up into a position where my computer science degree would be beneficial. This position was part-time system administration and part-time hardware assembly and testing. While an odd combination, I was happy to put my computer science degree to good use while still contributing to ALMA hardware production.

Key Skills

Key accomplishments

Note: This was a contract position through Staffing Solutions.

Reason for leaving: Promotion within the organization

The NRAO office after a snowstorm.

Photo:An overnight snowstorm resulted in a chilly morning at NRAO's Socorro office. I worked in this office from my start at NRAO in 2007 until they moved me to Chile in 2011.

Junior Technician, Mar 2007 to Dec 2007

Overview

As a fresh college graduate I found job hunting to be very difficult, and employers generally demanded 3+ years of experience. I was forced to settle for a sub-optimal position doing hardware assembly at NRAO. This worked out well as NRAO is an excellent place to work. As am employee that excelled at solving problems I was able to rapidly move into more challenging positions. This junior position is also where I learned many valuable skills related to electronics assembly, testing, and verification.

Key Skills

Key accomplishments

Note: This was a contract position through Staffing Solutions.

Reason for leaving: Promotion within the organization

An ALMA data transmitter module.

Photo: One of the ALMA data transmitters I was responsible for assembling. They pair with the data receiver shown above.

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMT)

While pursuing my masters degree I worked at NMT both a research assistant and a teaching assistant, both writing my thesis and paying my bills. While pursuing my bachelors degree I worked at NMT as a computer technician, gaining job experience and paying my bills.

Research Assistant, Sep 2016 to May 2018

Overview

Key Skills

Key accomplishments

Reason for leaving: completion of my masters degree.

A block diagram of the Canary IL system I designed for my thesis.

Figure: A block diagram of the impedance analysis system in which I used off-the-shelf hardware to build a structural health monitoring capable programmable impedance analyzer.

Teaching Assistant, Sep 2016 to May 2018

Overview

I worked as a teaching assistant to support myself while attending grad school. During this time I covered different courses depending on where my skills were needed.

Key Skills

Key accomplishments

Reason for leaving: completion of my masters degree.

2002-2006, Computer Technician

Overview

I worked at the New Mexico Tech Computer Center while I studying for a bachelors in Computer Science. My primary focus was on hardware repair, maintenance and networking. Secondary duties included Linux system administration, interfacing with users, and software support.

Key Skills

Key accomplishments

Reason for leaving: I completed my bachelors degree, and this was a part-time student job.

The computer lab in Speare4

Photo: One of the many computer labs that we kept up and running for student use.

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)

Computer Programming Intern, Summer 2002

Overview

After finishing my freshmen year, I worked for a summer at LANL. This was an excellent learning experience and helped me expand my education. The only reason I did not return the following summer was that I got an ongoing job at the New Mexico Tech Computer Center, which provided year-round work.

Key Skills

Key accomplishments

Reason for leaving: Completed internship and returned to school.


Last Updated: December 2018; Original Posting.

© David C. Hunter, 2018;

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