Engineer Spotlight: Albert Carr
Director of Hardware & Manufacturing Albert Carr discusses what it's like to work for BrightAI, and the honor of being chosen as one of the company's 'most impressive' teammates.
When we asked our team at BrightAI “Who is your absolute most impressive teammate?,” three names received the most votes. One of them was Director of Hardware & Manufacturing, Albert Carr.
COMMENTS FROM COLLEAGUES:
It's Albert, and I'd be surprised if many here don't feel the same way.
[He’s an] excellent engineer, even better person, not sure how he keeps all the projects straight, but somehow he does. We’d be lost without him.
Albert is a special individual because he is a wonderful mix of technical prowess across multiple engineering specializations, blended with humility, work ethic and his desire for success for everyone around him.
We chatted with Albert about his unique role, plus his thoughts on his team and the challenges they face.
An unmissable opportunity.
I've been with Bright AI for about two years. It was a very exciting opportunity. The ability to do both artificial intelligence and IOT in a commercial setting just seemed like the right fit for the right time in the industry. The team brought me here. I've worked in the past with BrightAI team members such as Alex, Robert and Doug, so it just seemed like a fantastic opportunity, with a great company and good leaders.
On the importance of prototypes.
I take things from concept to production. These last two years, having to navigate supply chain issues has been what keeps me up at night. We never used to have to consider designing around supply chain, but now we design for maximum flexibility, so we can use the parts that we can find. We've got an amazing small team that is constantly looking for parts. For our size, we're definitely punching above our weight, and we're doing everything we can to push our customers ahead.
I also own hardware, which includes building prototypes. A lot of the front-end work that goes into our projects starts in my garage. We often win business by bringing in a model and conducting a demonstration so our customers can see what we can do for them. I really enjoy this part. I've probably built over a dozen of these prototypes, and almost all of these are in production, or are currently in transition to production.
On the work being enjoyable.
At the end of the day, I'm a tinkerer, so these prototypes are probably the most fun I have. Supply chain is like a treasure hunt—it’s so rewarding. Being able to chip away at the monumental task it has turned out to be over these last two years makes me feel good.
On big career experiences.
I started working for Proctor & Gamble on large machinery, basically the size of a football field. The plant I worked at had a CapEx of about a billion and a half dollars.
From there, I took a job with an automotive plant and got into that mentality on manufacturing quality systems. In the automotive world, things are very tight, very lean. I learned a lot from companies like Denzo Toyota, and Honda.
I also worked in defense and aerospace on military computers where things were designed for ruggedness, ease-of manufacturability and cost. Lives depended on everything being right.
Next, I went to SmartThings after the acquisition from Samsung. [I] went from just owning hardware to owning hardware and supply chain, and then transitioning into product.
On working remote.
It's been nice to be able to travel again and be able to get out and see some of the folks. Some I've worked with in the past, some I haven't.
My team's completely distributed. I'm in Florida, my electrical engineer is in Washington, and my procurement manager is located in Texas.
I'd say at least 25-30% of what I deal with is overseas. So, my role is always going to be a remote role. China has been very challenging recently, due to its Covid policy. I've not been able to get over there to do some of the work I usually do. But, thankfully, the tools have gotten fantastically better. I'm in constant contact with the people I need to be at all times. I think remote working is here to stay.
On my colleagues.
I've never worked with a team like the one we've put together here. It is above and beyond the best group of people I've worked with. They're extraordinary in every way, shape or form. You've got people literally at the top of their craft in every single function. Having that type of work environment allows us to implement a lot more things into place faster.
We've got a vision and set direction, and everybody's working towards that. It's fantastic in that regard. It's fun working here. There's not a huge number of people in the world who can say that they are genuinely happy with what they're doing.
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