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Duff Howell, Ph.D.

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I aim to make things as simple as possible, but no simpler. It's the essence of mindful observation, data-driven decisions, successfully executed projects,and systems engineering. As an experimental scientist, I know that mindful failure is part of finding the limits of possibility, and relish mapping new territory without setting up camp. My dissertation was an interesting story about a new hybrid science lurking in what appeared to be a disaster, and I can tell you about two different learning experiences of how a semiconductor metrology tool can end up full of water. As both technical contributor and team leader, I've spent two decades executing numerous successful projects to specify and build ultra-high speed biochemical imaging systems, improve thermal controls, create tools to remove contaminant layers, double throughput and quarter error rates on wafer handling systems, reduce tool calibration frequencies nine-fold, match mechanical systems to PPM levels, and domesticate dozens of tribal-knowledge manufacturing procedures into statistically characterized, efficiently implemented processes. My component testing tends to tell vendors things that they didn't know (or wouldn't admit to) about their products. I've also retro-fit new processes to intalled bases, opening up new opportunities for high-margin maintenance and field upgrade options. I have a core gig at present, but am open to opportunities that may let me add some value on the margin for entities looking for some help. Heat management and thermal stabilization and review of mechano-optical systems are up my alley. I also have the patience and (I like to think) diplomacy to wade into turning big bundles of ideas and intentions into the solid engineering requirements that can build a strong quantifiable foundation for an intended Next Big Thing. A few more words and phrases to stroke your imagination, or excite your search algorithm: Calibration, Test & Integration, Lasers, Systems Engineering, Proof of Concept, Robotics, Prototyping, Standards, Project Management, Specifications, Requirements, Error Analysis, Automation, Scripting, Algorithm & Procedure Development, Process Transfer, Vendor Management, Camera & Machine Vision, Thermal Control and Stabilization, Unorthodox Problem Solving, Mentoring, Fermentation, Duct Tape. Contact me at duff (dot) howell ( at) gmail.com, or via mobile at 650-766-8468.

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