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RF Engineer, Focus Group Chair on the Executive Steering Committee for IMS 2017 and a passionate IEEE Young Professional. Read more about what IEEE and MTT-S means to him and get a sneak peak of the IMS 2017!!

Mr. Ryan, please tell us a little about yourself, what work do you do at Echodyne, what are your interest areas?

I graduated with my B.S. and M.S from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and have been working in industry since late 2008, so just under 8 years. I started my career at Boeing Research and Technology in the Phased Array group and for a little more than a year now, I’ve been part of the core team at a new startup called Echodyne where I’m working as an RF Engineer. My work, both at Boeing and Echodyne, has been focused on electronically scanned antenna arrays where I’ve worked on a wide variety of subsystems, including antenna elements, T/R modules, distribution systems, drivers, and synthesizers. At Boeing I worked on more traditional phased array systems (Active Electronically Scanned Arrays, AESA), really pushing the limits of form factor, operational frequency, and output power for both radar and sat-com applications. At Echodyne, I have the exciting opportunity to be part of a small focused team developing a brand new antenna architecture, the Metamaterial Electronically Scanned Array (MESA). This architecture has the ability to electronically scan beams across a wide field of view like a phased array, but can be built at orders of magnitude lower cost, weight, and power. Echodyne believes MESA has the potential to be disruptive to existing radar applications, but most excitingly it’s enabling for applications that never thought a radar solution was possible, like high-performance collision avoidance radars for small UAVs.

How did you get involved with IEEE? What or who brought you to this organization?

My involvement with IEEE started when I was an undergraduate but I didn’t really get active until I met Dr. Wayne Shiroma and joined his research group. Dr. Shiroma not only became my graduate advisor but also my mentor, and one of the things he fostered in me and all of his students was a drive to be involved with the IEEE, particularly in the MTT society.

How and what has been your experience volunteering for IEEE MTT Society?

In 2006 Dr. Shiroma enabled a large group of us to attend the International Microwave Symposium (IMS). That was my first IEEE conference and introduction to the International Microwave Symposium (IMS). I was hooked. In 2007 IMS was held in Honolulu and with Dr. Shiroma as the General Chair, I had the opportunity to serve on the Steering Committee as Vice Finance Chair. After I started work at Boeing in Seattle, I learned that IMS would be held there in 2013. I was able to again volunteer on the Steering Committee, this time at the Student Volunteer Coordinator. In 2014 I got involved with my local MTT/AP chapter as the vice chair and now for the upcoming IMS 2017, which is being held again in Honolulu, I’m a serving as the Focus Group Chair on the Executive Steering Committee. It takes a lot of time and work, but I’ve found it to be not only rewarding but addictive!

As a Young Professional, what are some things/initiatives or projects you think could be improved, or can be introduced?

To the credit of the IEEE and MTT, they are actively soliciting and working on ways to reach out to Young Professionals with things like the Rising Stars Conference and the Future Leaders Forum. There can always be improvements, though. One thing that I would like to see and help work on is more outreach to young professionals at the local level. To do this effectively I think that the local chapters need support from their regional counterparts. Financial resources are always helpful but even something as small as letting local chapters know how they can involve young professionals is valuable.

Could you tell us more about IMS 2017?

Many of us in the RF/microwave community attend IMS to present our latest and greatest work, learn about new technology, and meet and talk to big name experts and our textbook authors. Recently, IMS has implemented several successful initiatives targeting specific groups of MTT membership including graduate students (PhD Initiative) and under-represented minorities (Project Connect). However, there is a recognized need for improved young professional engagement across the IEEE and MTT to re-invigorate the society with the next generation of dedicated volunteers. As the premier event for MTT, IMS is the largest opportunity to demonstrate MTT’s commitment to the young professional demographic. The IMS 2017 Steering Committee is working hard to promote career growth, humanitarian/outreach efforts, and a sense of community among young professionals by hosting workshops, panel sessions, and social events at IMS 2017 in Hawaii. We hope they will attend and leave Hawaii feeling motivated, inspired, refreshed – and with a bit of a tan.

Have you personally benefited from IEEE? How?

My involvement with MTT and IMS is a large part of what sparked my interest in a career in RF and microwave technology. It has introduced me to people and opportunities that have influenced and continue to shape my professional career.

What suggestions would you give out to a Young Professional, who is not an IEEE member and seeks information on “Why she/he should be one?

This is a question that I’ve thought about quite a bit. There are the obvious answers: access to IEEE publications, access to technical expertise, and professional networking. While these benefits are strong motivators in and of themselves, I personally feel they aren’t the strongest reasons to join. The reason I continue to volunteer and be a part of the IEEE and the MTT society is community – being part of a community of people who share the same interest and enthusiasm for RF and microwave technology. When I go to meetings and conferences, not only do I learn about the new things that are happening, I also get to interact with other people who are as excited about the field as I am. That excitement is infectious. When I come back from an event I feel reinvigorated in my work and even more motivated to learn something new. There are times, especially as a young professional, when you can forget about that excitement. It can get lost amongst the stress of deadlines, meetings, and daily life. I’ve found that it’s imperative to remind myself of what drew me to this profession in the first place – and the IEEE, MTT-S, and IMS communities provide an excellent reminder of why I choose to be an RF and Microwave Engineer.