Meet the Team: Our Hardware Lead

Tom Reeve (our mechanical engineer) eating a bacon wrapped hot dog after a concert.

Tom Reeve (our senior mechanical engineer) eating a bacon wrapped hot dog after a concert.

CellScope is lucky to have a team that is excited and energized by building things and working toward solving problems no one has tackled yet. One of our team members that exudes this energy is Tom Reeve, our Senior Mechanical Engineer. Tom is responsible for solving some of the tough challenges that we run into while making great hardware, and he makes it look so easy. We asked Tom to share a bit about himself and to tell us what it’s like working at CellScope.

CellScope (CS): Tell us a bit about your background before joining CellScope. 

Tom Reeve (TR): I went to UC Berkeley for undergrad and then the University of Michigan for my master’s, both for Mechanical Engineering. After graduating I spent seven months looking for a job before I landed my first job at Valley Engineering Group in Livermore off Craigslist.  I worked there as a contract mechanical engineer for a little over three years and it was probably the best first job I could have hoped. My coworkers were awesome and it exposed me to a lot of different types of companies, which ranged from huge semiconductor equipment firms to consumer electronics to two small medical startups. I liked working with the medical startups the best since they were typically doing things that were a bit weird and occasionally kind of gross.

One of my first clients was a small medical startup called Zeltiq, and after a few years I transitioned from being a contractor to full time employee. I started off  doing packaging for their clinical trial kits and eventually I stepped into working on their consumables (the refills).  I eventually transitioned to more of a design role and eventually as the lead on two projects before I joined CellScope, which is the second job I’ve found off Craigslist.

(CS): What inspires you to come to work everyday?

(TR): I like making cool stuff, both in 3D on a computer and with my hands. Random ideas tend to pop into my head when I’m walking to and from work and it’s fun to be able to jot some random idea on a sticky note knowing I’ll be able to try and make it real the following day.

(CS): What makes you most excited about CellScope’s future?

(TR): There are a lot of mobile health and electronic health record companies all coming up with lots of technologies that address different aspects of healthcare (diagnosis, record keeping, doctor-patient communication, etc.) from very different directions and it will be very interesting to see what winds up winning and becoming the standard in the coming years. I also find it really exciting to be a part of something that hasn’t been fully figured out yet by anyone. I imagine it feels similar to how the people who worked on the first moon rockets might have felt, but with less explosions.

(CS): What do you wish you’d had known 5 years ago that you know now?

(TR): That I would still be living in the same apartment.

(CS): What do you enjoy most about working at CellScope?

(TR): I like that we have a Jambox that we pass around the office so it never gets too quiet. It’s a very fun and collaborative work environment.

(CS): What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

(TR): The Regulatory and Supply Chain aspects have definitely been the most challenging. The project I am currently working on has 15 vendors in 5 countries and keeping them all coordinated can be tricky at times. Navigating all of the regulatory rules and understanding how they translate to the design requirements can also be quite challenging. Some of the guidelines are hundreds of pages long and very complex. In one instance, the guidelines were written out of order and so I found myself with one chapter left finally being told I could ignore all the rules that I had just analyzed four chapters earlier!

(CS): What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

(TR): I try to keep in shape by running a lot, doing yoga and swimming. I try to run at least one marathon a year. I also go to lots of random concerts and other shows all over the Bay Area.

(CS): What is your favorite movie?

(TR): Evil Dead 2 is probably my favorite movie of all time. I saw it a long time ago and I still like that you see the full transition from frightened wuss to chainsaw wielding strongman over the course of the movie. Airplane is up there too since I always find new jokes every time I watch that movie.

(CS): What is your favorite musician or group to see live?

(TR): Rammstein was the most ridiculous one I’ve seen live due to all the fire and presence of actual danger to both the band and the crowd, but Nine Inch Nails had the best light show followed by Muse, who I’ve actually seen four times now. I guess that would make them my favorite. They are all really awesome live.

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