Radiant at 30 – Staff Stories: An Unusual Product Spec
Sean Skelly joined Radiant in February 2005, when the company was located in Duvall, WA.
When I joined Radiant, we had about 25 people. I was hired as the very first support engineer—before I joined, the developers were doing all the support directly. My first task on Day 1 was to assemble my own desk.
The office was in downtown Duvall, located above a gym and a pizza parlour. Ron Rykowski’s office was right above the pizza ovens—they got fired up around 3:30 pm and the smell wafted up. Ron would start asking “why am I so hungry?”
A Unique Product Specification
Our early SIG (Source Imaging Goniometer®) was a large piece of equipment. We discovered that it wouldn’t fit into the building’s elevator when we had to ship it to a customer. We had to remove a wall of the office and lift it out by crane!
So, when we built the next generation SIG (SIG-300) a critical hardware design parameter in the product spec was that it had to fit inside the dimensions of the elevator.
The SIG-200: Looks great, guys. But how are you going to get it out of there?
It took a crane to get the SIG-200 in and out of the building.
Growing With the Company
Radiant was my first job out of college. I got my B.S. in physics, and Radiant was a great fit to use my physics and optics background and start applying my skills right away. Now I focus on software, which I first started learned on the job and from others at Radiant. That’s one of good things about Radiant—working with a lot of smart people in a collaborative environment. We all learn from each other.
As the company's needs have evolved over the years, my role as also changed, and I grew in my responsibilities—it went hand in hand. I like new challenges. Over time I became an application engineer traveling a lot, then later moved to software development manager—in software speak, that's “going down the stack”, deeper into the lower levels of code. Now I'm software architect.
A Software Advantage
We often heard that Radiant’s software sets us apart in the metrology industry. I agree with that assessment wholeheartedly, but I think it's more than just the software—we’ve chosen to design the software around our business model of having application engineers in the field.
For the software team in Redmond, the Asia teams could be seen as a primary “customer” of much of our software development. We build tools that they can use to help customers, changing things quickly, easily, and reliably. Our software is designed to be adaptable to empower engineers in the field. Because, honestly, that’s the real work—the value we deliver to customers every day for their specific applications.