Reflections on Six Years on Staff at APS
I arrived at APS Headquarters in September 2013 eager to begin a new phase in my career. I earned my PhD in superconductivity and magnetism at UCSD, then worked in Silicon Valley in the hard drive industry doing technology development in magnetic recording for 27 years. My wife and I were enthusiastic to relocate near Washington DC and give urban living a try for a year or two.
More than six years later my job at APS proved to be more interesting and engaging than I expected. With strong support from FIAP leadership and APS management we have raised the profile of Industrial Physics within APS. I’ve worked in close partnership with the dedicated volunteers on the FIAP Executive Committee to establish Industry Day as the flagship of an exciting program of sessions at the March Meeting. New initiatives include the Industrial Physics Advisory Board, the IMPact mentoring program which connects students with private sector physicists, and formalizing a role for FIAP in the policy discussions overseen by the APS Office of Government Affairs. Students are more aware than ever about career opportunities in the private sector due to the exceptional work of Crystal Bailey, APS Head of Careers, and I’ve enjoyed supporting those efforts. Outreach to physicists working in the private sector is an important goal in the new APS Strategic Plan. There’s much more work to be done, including finding ways to encourage more private sector physicists to maintain their connection to APS.
Living near DC has also been an excellent experience. I spent my entire prior life in suburbia, and it has been a novel and enjoyable adventure to live in a 2-bedroom apartment on the 11th floor of a high rise building. Despite being from California where driving is an essential part of daily life, we don’t have a car in DC, so we walk a lot and rely on the Metro and buses with the occasional ride share or short-term rental. We can be downtown in 25 minutes and go there often for concerts, lectures, plays, and to visit museums, monuments, and government buildings. This has been an enriching adventure that far exceeded our expectations.
I will retire from APS in May and begin the next phase of life without any work responsibilities. We plan to travel and spend more time with our children who live on the West Coast. APS is actively interviewing candidates to be my successor, and I am optimistic that private sector physicists will continue to see growing influence within APS. My thanks to all of you who made this an exceptional adventure, and I leave with confidence that the leadership of FIAP is in excellent hands.
APS Industrial Physics Fellow