Thursday, August 25, 2011

Q&A with Ali Jabbari, Vice President of Engineering

Get to Know Bishop-Wisecarver’s Vice President of Engineering, Ali Jabbari!

Ali joined our company just recently [ view press release ] and holds an undergraduate degree from Northeastern University and graduate degrees from University of California, Berkeley. Ali can be reached via e-mail at

Question: Why did you want to be an engineer?

Answer: I was always interested in taking things apart and trying to figure out how they worked. Engineering seemed to be a natural choice for someone who was curious to learn about man-made devices; how they worked, how they were put together, and the thought process that went into their design.

Question: Who was your biggest influence in becoming an engineer?

Answer: I am not sure if there was a single individual that was the biggest influence on me. I had a few teachers along the way that mentored me and encouraged me to continue with my education. The most noteworthy of these was my PhD advisor, Prof. Tomizuka at UC Berkeley. There are a couple historic figures who have also been inspirational for me; Da Vinci and his creativity, along with Edison and his indefatigable determination, come to mind.  

Question: Where did you go for schooling?

Answer: I received my undergraduate degree from Northeastern University, and my PhD from UC Berkeley in Mechanical Engineering. My area of specialty was Dynamic Systems and Control.

Question: What kind of job experience did you have before joining the Bishop-Wisecarver team?

Answer: I started as a research engineer, and as my career progressed, I transitioned into jobs with a focus on practical engineering. I have worked on next generation Lithography machines at Nikon Research Corporation, and more recently on electromagnetic transducers at Tymphany Corporation.

Question: What is your area of expertise?

Answer: Motion control, automation, and dynamic systems.

Question: What do you enjoy most about being an engineer?

Answer:  Designing, building, and analyzing electromechanical systems. Also, having the opportunity to be creative and analytical. 

Question: What's the most rewarding thing about being an engineer?

Answer: Seeing your designs come to life, and performing as they were intended to do.

Question: What is the toughest project you have worked on?

Answer: An E-beam lithography machine for Nikon. This was a joint project between Nikon and IBM, and I was in charge of developing the control architecture and algorithms for the system. 

Question: Any advice to aspiring engineers?

Answer: Don’t see failure as your enemy, it is your friend. It is a cliché, but as an engineer you learn much more by incrementally testing your designs, and using the feedback from your test results to converge on a robust and elegant design.

Question: What do you like to do outside of work?

Answer: I like to keep active, and I do this by running 25 miles a week, and using my bicycle as a preferred mode of transportation. I make it a priority to travel and learn from other cultures; for me, it is the closest thing to being a child again (you don’t know the language, everything is new, and you do not have any established routines). I enjoy restoring old mechanical watches. I have always been fascinated by time and the ingenious devices we have built to quantify it.