Employee Spotlight: Mike Kahn
Name: Mike Kahn
Position: Vice President of Device Engineering
Translation: I manage the engineering team (Electrical, Software and Mechanical) that creates all of the hardware devices that EM produces. I also manage our designers and our system's verification team.
Fun Fact: I volunteer at a local charity that provides gently used furniture and home goods to families in need
Hometown: Yorktown Heights, NY
Current city: Hudson, MA
Passions: my family, running, cooking
What brought you to Elemental Machines, and why did you choose EM over all of your other options?
I have worked at a number of different companies over the course of my career – some large (100K+ employees) and some really small (2 other entrepreneurs). One thing I have learned about myself is that I love the energy you get when working at a small, focused company. From my first interaction with Srid and learning about the culture that EM is dedicated to building, the market we are serving, and the technology we are creating, it was a pretty easy decision. For the previous 6.5 years, I worked for a company that serves the same industry, so I understood the product need. Hearing how EM was meeting this need was quite compelling. As I continued to meet other members of the executive team and the leaders of the engineering organization, it became quite obvious that this was a great opportunity – not only for taking the next step in my career but also to work on a product that creates real value for our customers.
How would you describe the team you work with?
We’re a bunch of nerds… I mean that in a good way! We have a group of engineers who are very passionate about the work they do. They like to develop elegant designs, using a modern tech stack and they have an extremely high level of dedication to solving hard problems. They are excited about seeing their products have success in the market and at the end of the day, they really enjoy each other.
What about your skill set has set you up for success at EM?
I’ve been deeply immersed in leading-edge technology for my entire career and I’ve led engineering teams of all sizes. Having been involved in embedded systems, networking, medical devices, and life sciences instrumentation has given me a broad set of technical experiences that apply very directly to the types of problems that we solve at the device level and at the system level here at EM. Also, as I mentioned earlier I’ve worked at startups in addition to large established companies, and that diversity has given me the understanding I need to help the engineering team to grow and mature.
What’s been your most exciting challenge to solve?
In my role, I don’t often have the opportunity to get involved in solving really difficult technical problems. I work very hard to give the engineers the space they need to flex their creativity in solving these problems themselves. The challenges I am faced with are related to how the organization can create better solutions for our customers. Any time I can solve a difficult problem, it is exciting to me.
So, right now the issues I am dealing with are related to hiring in the face of the tight labor market or in working with our operations team to ensure that we have enough product while dealing with a very constrained electronics supply chain. On the surface, these might not seem like incredibly interesting things to work on, but partnering with other groups inside of EM and finding creative ways to deal with them is incredibly rewarding.
What has surprised you about working for EM?
I have been surprised at how EM has put together a comprehensive solution to a set of problems that LabOps professionals are just starting to recognize. From the devices all the way to the cloud applications and the analytics that are layered on top, it seems that EM has progressed the total solution in a very short period of time. And we have some of the brightest and best minds in all three of those areas that are dedicated to creating this important platform.
How have you grown personally or professionally as a result of your current role?
Every time I have changed jobs in my career, I have tried to take some step forward in terms of learning new technologies, understanding new markets, or improving my leadership skills. For me, what’s been great about EM has been the ability to grow in all three of those areas. All of this has been done with incredible support from the management team as well as from the entire engineering organization.
What is your picture of the future of EM?
We are in the process of building an incredibly strong team – not just in engineering, but across the board in operations, commercial, quality, and product management. To this point, the company has built a very strong platform, upon which we will continue to scale our product offering and deliver features to our customers rapidly and with high quality. We’re doing this with a team that works well together, whether they are sitting in our office in Cambridge, their home office in the Boston area, or in remote locations across the country. We have a great foundation and I am excited to help this company expand our offerings, move into new markets, and help our customers to succeed.
Interested in joining Mike and the rest of the Elemental Machines team? View our open positions at elementalmachines.com/careers