Meet Our People: Shawn, Senior Technical Fellow
Shawn Larson has worked at Zuken for the past 33 years. He began his career in 1988–before some of his teammates were even born! Before Zuken, Shawn worked as a printed wiring board designer before landing a position with an EDA start-up, Racal-Redac, later acquired by Zuken. We certainly got lucky with Shawn; he’s an excellent engineer who juggles many responsibilities on a daily basis. He is a well-respected and appreciated member of the Zuken family. He’s getting close to retiring, so I was pleased to have this opportunity to share his story in his own words.
It All Started with the Redac Mini
Ah, my career in the EDA industry, and I can sum it up as quite a saga. It started before personal computers were even around! In the early 80s, I led a group of PCB designers, and we were lucky enough to get our hands on a “state-of-the-art” tool called the Redac Mini. I quickly became enamored with the ability to design boards using a computer in place of manual layout and taping. I found my calling in life. The story starts to get interesting here and I’ll keep it short for now. But if we ever meet at an industry event, maybe I’ll “tell-all”. I landed a position with an EDA start-up that led me to Racal-Redac, which was later acquired by Zuken. Fast forward a couple of decades…and whew, it’s been quite a ride. I couldn’t be happier with the path my career led me down!
A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That
As a technical fellow, I wear many hats depending on the day. Some of my typical responsibilities include customer support, product implementations, interacting with partner companies, and software release testing. One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is helping customers find solutions to their problems. It doesn’t matter if I’m helping a customer successfully control their library part creation or setting up bi-directional communication with their PDM system; solving the problem gives me instant satisfaction. Besides helping customers, the role I enjoy most in my career is being a mentor to the newer members of the data management team. I’ve been in the industry for a long time, and there is a wealth of knowledge and experience that I want to pass on before I hang up my hats and retire.
I have a busy schedule every day. My calendar is full of software installations, testing, customer support, contacting our development team in Japan or one of our partner companies to help them with their efforts. There are so many moving pieces in data management that require working strong teamwork. I’m fortunate to work with such a talented group of colleagues who come together to produce great results time after time.
The Best Learning Experience of my Career
There is one project that I’ll never forget. It was my first data management implementation effort. The customer was a large-scale supplier in the lighting electronics industry. The project started in Chicago and grew to include sites in Europe and China. The project’s scope and size scared me a bit, but it became the best learning experience of my entire career. You don’t often get the chance to work with customers across such varied cultures. What an experience!
Reading, Snowshoeing, Craft Beer, and More
Since I’m lucky enough to live in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, I spend most weekends outdoors hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and occasionally snowboarding. I also enjoy taking scenic photographs of places I visit. You can see below, one of my photos of a lake house I visited during the summer. I am also happy spending time with my furry friends, Maxine and Barley. Give me a good book, some classic rock or jazz, and a nice craft beer, and I’m set!
Follow my Employee Takeover later this week on our Facebook and Instagram accounts to learn more about my role as a Senior Technical Fellow.
Related resources and products
One of the biggest problems facing companies that design and produce electronic products is component obsolescence and availability. There is nothing worse than finding out that there is a supply issue with a design component at a late-stage design review or early pilot run.