Daniel Schafer, Mechanical Design Engineer
In this new series, we profile the people of Ocean Optics – your curious and committed partners in helping to solve problems using optical sensing. First up is Daniel Schafer, a mechanical design engineer with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Central Florida (Orlando, Fla.) and nearly eight years of experience at Ocean Optics. Daniel has worked on a variety of product development and custom engineering projects for a wide range of customers.
What do you like most about working with Ocean Optics?
DS: What’s great is the constant exposure to various projects and the technical challenges that accompany them. There is always something new and exciting on the horizon. Every project affords the opportunity to solve a problem in a novel way with a great cross-functional group of people.
What project that you’ve worked on is your favorite?
DS: My favorite project started out with the goal of internal process improvement and evolved into the Flame spectrometer product line. It was exciting to develop optical positioning that could go beyond the capabilities of human operators and resulted in a more consistent product. [Editor’s note: Flame was the first Ocean Optics spectrometer produced using advanced optical alignment procedures.] Many late nights were shared amongst the team and it was an amazing feeling when we reached the finish line.
How have things changed since you started working at Ocean Optics?
DS: The only constant is change. Every day, I see us becoming a leader in applied spectral knowledge. Our facilities and processes are constantly being improved to provide a more consistent product for our customers. On a broader scale, we have moved more toward being a total solution provider rather than merely a scientific instrument provider.
Science and technology can be challenging to describe to a layperson. How do you describe Ocean Optics to friends and acquaintances?
DS: Well, once I get past the befuddled look from the word “spectrometer,” I typically keep it simple. We use light to solve problems! We glean information from the scientific properties of light and its interaction with a substance to find the answer to a question. An answer that can solve a real-life problem.
What is the most inspiring part of your work at Ocean Optics?
DS: I love having a hand in real solutions that impact people around the world. It is rewarding to help provide healthier food (allergens/contaminants detection), cleaner water (pathogen) and safer environments (explosives), all through optical detection. Overall it is just great to see that you are making a difference.