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EM Employee Spotlight: Alex Nichols

EM Employee Spotlight: Alex Nichols

Name: Alex Nichols

Position: Head of Device Engineering

Translation: On the Device team, we create hardware, firmware, and software solutions that form the physical layer of the Elemental Machines solution

Fun Fact: I play the violin, guitar, and bass, and produce music on the side.

Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah

Current city: Somerville, MA

Passions: Rock climbing

 

What brought you to Elemental Machines, and why did you choose EM over all of your other options? 

I’ve always worked at startups. Before this, I was a firmware engineer at another IoT startup. The VP of Technology at my previous company had worked with Srid at AgaMatrix and recommended that I take a look. I immediately saw that there were a lot of exciting problems to solve. Srid was a big factor, too. You could see in his eyes that he was going to do whatever it took to make Elemental Machines succeed.

 

What trusted tools sit inside your physical and digital toolbelt?

I actually have a zipper pouch that I take with me everywhere I go so that I can debug hardware issues wherever. It includes wire strippers, screwdrivers, tweezers, an Ethernet cable, serial cable, and an SD card adapter. 

 

What does a typical day in your Elemental Machines life look like?

It varies quite a bit, there’s not really a typical day here, but things are always interesting. Everything I do has the objective of helping people across the organizations use our system to its full potential, so on a given day I might be doing anything from meeting with my team to discuss technical problems to create a path forward, to physically soldering a piece of prototype hardware for technical feasibility work. 

 

What’s been your most exciting challenge to solve?

When we started building our Mark II Gateway, we had this notion that “it” must already be out there on the market, and that all we had to do was find it. We eventually realized that wasn’t the case, and that we would need to build the solution from scratch. That prompted a slew of conversations with stakeholders to understand the customer experience deeply, and to create the IoT Gateway that our customers needed.

 

What has surprised you most about working for EM?

I’ve been amazed at just how much you can do with the data coming out of a lab. The idea that you can take temperature, humidity, and CO2 data from an incubator and find out how and how often an incubator is being used I find is exciting and full of potential.

 

What is your perspective on the future of EM?

We are poised to invent and lead the transition to a new paradigm in biotech labs where LabOps engineers are optimizing how science gets done and how innovative breakthroughs happen in the life sciences R&D space. We are laying the foundation for how people can reliably understand what’s happening in their labs and how that affects the outcomes of what they’re trying to innovate. 

 

What inspires you about your work?

We enable the Biotech community to focus on their core competencies. Instead of spending time figuring out why their incubator shut off over the weekend, they get to focus on curing cancer. That’s truly inspiring work.

Interested in joining Alex and the rest of the Elemental Machines team? View our open positions at elementalmachines.com/careers.

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