Faces of Interface Featuring James Richardson
Born in Arizona but growing up in the rural area of Cotton City, New Mexico, James Richardson was only exposed to the opportunity of a career in engineering after moving back to Arizona. After graduating as his high school class Salutatorian in 1995, he started college in Eastern Arizona.
He later moved to Mesa in 1999 where he took a job working for his uncle at Dewitt Equipment fixing restaurant and cooking equipment like ovens, fryers and microwaves, and along with refrigeration equipment including air conditioning units, freezers, and ice machines. It was also during this time he learned to braze, solder and TIG weld.
At Dewitt, his on the job training for fixing equipment built up his foundation for engineering. The spark that really kicked it off came on a sweltering Arizona summer day when James was repairing an A/C unit on a restaurant’s loose gravel rooftop. The temperature was so high that the gravel began to sink, melting the soles of his shoes. At this point, James realized he enjoyed working with his hands and on advanced equipment; however, it was time to finish his formal education in engineering and pursue a job that included more time inside where there was ample air conditioning.
By this time James had already completed an Associate Degree at Maricopa Community College and he was about 18 months from completing a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree at Arizona State University. Completing this degree, he later earned a Master’s in Engineering Management from Ohio University. Towards the end of his bachelor’s degree, he got an internship at Honeywell Aerospace. His first job after earning his degree was with Enertron Inc., a leading provider of thermal management solutions for the aerospace, military, medical, telecommunications, and IC fab equipment industries. In this role, he designed heat sinks for circuit boards used for lasers, lighting and computers.
After three years with Enertron, he moved to Cleveland Electric Laboratories where he served as an applications engineer working on turbine engine instrumentation. This is where James got his first hands on experience with force measurement equipment. His job was to design instrumentation for strain, temperature, and pressure measurements. At one point he even designed a load pin for a customer.
In his role, he was also introduced to Interface. The company he was working for owned several Interface products and he became familiar with their high-quality and premium accuracy. Then in 2015, a headhunter called him out of the blue to offer him a chance to work for Interface. James was excited about the prospect of working for a company that put quality first. In fact, the thing that hooked him about Interface was the declared focus of “Quality is Our Driving Force,” and the fact that each of the four interviewers reiterated the importance of this statement in their interview.
James joined Interface as a production engineer. He remained in this role for about four years before being promoted to Senior Engineer, and then to his current role as Mechanical Engineering Manager where he leads a team of five other engineers. In this leadership position, James is responsible for overseeing development efforts for some of Interface’s most important product lines including the specialized 1923 and 1925 wireless custom solutions and our downhole products for the energy markets. James was instrumental in the latest new product release, the new ConvexBT Load Button Load Cell.
In addition to this critical role, James also loves to learn about the many ways that Interface products directly affect him and people close to him. This includes how measuring systems ensure the proper weight of food in nutritional planning and packaging, measurement of things like blood donations, and safety test systems for airplanes. The work done at Interface is incredibly important to everyday life and many people don’t even realize it.
In his free time, James can be found spending time with his wife of 21 years and their four children, two sons and two daughters. The family enjoys the outdoors together, partaking in activities like bike rides and hikes. He also brings some of his passion for engineering home. He’s intrigued by the possibilities of 3D printing and owns a printer himself. He’s designed and printed things like bowties, wallets, wall-mounts for various gadgets, and even toys for the kids. In case you missed it, the photo of James is his own 3-D printed bowtie. It was a big hit at the Interface holiday party.
Another interesting fact about James is that throughout his career he’s tried to connect with co-workers from different countries by learning their language. Throughout his life he’s learned a little bit of Polish and German, and is fluent in Spanish, which he learned while spending two years as a missionary in South America.
We asked James to describe his thoughts on his career in engineering in another language. He responded, “Un dicho o una frase que a mí me gusta pensar, cuando algo no sale buenisimo, es: “Siempre hay una manera mejor.” This translates to a saying or phrase that I like to think of when something doesn’t turn out great, “There is always a better way.”
To learn more about the ConvexBT, check out the datasheet here:ConvexBT