Director of Software Engineering

We're a pretty roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-the-job-done kind of group. As a growing startup, we have people wearing many different hats to make missions successful.

As director of software engineering, I manage the Applications Software group. Most of my time is spent planning engineering work, especially across data, perception, and machine learning teams.

Mission is one of the most important things I look for in a company. One of my favorite places in California is Elkhorn Slough, only a couple of hours from Alameda, due to the abundance and diversity of wildlife. During my time kayaking there, I became more aware of the environmental and climate issues we face. I was attracted to Saildrone because I could use my programming skills to address challenges in these areas.

The growth of the Saildrone team is exciting. When I started, we had about 20 people. Now we’re up to 250 employees. We’ve had many teammates who joined relatively early in their software careers, worked hard to not only improve their skills but also help carry the product to where it is today, and are now leading projects and teams. These people have contributed significantly to making the magic happen, and I’m delighted to see them be rewarded with the opportunity to grow their own careers.

When I joined, we had done just a few missions and only built two units of our current Explorer. Along the way, I've seen the company scale its fleet and its team processes to meet that growth.
The Antarctic circumnavigation is one of my favorite missions. Many modern-day applications of robots replace human jobs, sometimes from people who need them. I love that we were able to provide scientific data from an understudied, harsh, and remote area where no human really wants to go.
Leadership really believes in creating a career path for its employees. I think that is one reason why retention on our software team is very high.

I enjoy the technical and cross-functional challenges and learnings associated with being a vertically integrated company.

We do everything from manufacturing the USVs to writing the software across the entire stack, starting from the firmware level up to web UIs, and operating them while on mission.

Working with Saildrone data, the resilience of the data quality in challenging ocean conditions is always interesting. We’ve measured waves much taller than my house, without the need for a constant line of sight from a mothership. 

In my spare time, I’ve tinkered with machine learning and computer vision—trying to answer the age-old question, “What does my dog do when I’m not home?” with a gimbaled camera following her around the house. Saildrone’s given me the opportunity to apply this professionally, addressing real-world challenges with the applications group.

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