Leader Under 40: Chris Ashworth
Sr. R+D Engineer, Wilson Electronics - AAS Pre-Engineering, Dixie State College; BS, Brigham Young University; MS, Brigham Young University
Mr. Chris Ashworth, 32
Sr. R+D Engineer, Wilson Electronics
St. George, Utah
AAS Pre-Engineering, Dixie State College; BS, Brigham Young University; MS, Brigham Young University
Ashworth participates in FCC Rulemaking 10-4 by developing technical rules for building an industry-acceptable consumer signal booster for cellular bands. The main issue regulates the automated control of a booster to minimize effects on the wireless network. He develops requirements for and design-in new integrated circuits, filters and modules. These developments have increased production yield, enabled new cellular bands and decreased power, cost and size of the product. These developments have lowered company costs by more than $1.8 million annually, according to Ashworth. He created a booster design calculator that has streamlined our design process, minimized filtering costs, maximized dynamic range and reduced the number of prototypes required to develop products. Ashworth led the design of 15 signal boosters from concept to manufacturing and production testing. He is also holds four provisional patents related to the design and automated control of signal boosters in a constantly-varying environment.
Ashworth is president of a men’s church group with 45 members, ages 18 to 55. “This role gives me an opportunity to serve God, my community and to better myself,” said Ashworth. “I meet one-on-one with each group member, helping them set and achieve personal goals. I teach lessons, lead discussions and create opportunities for service and growth. I coordinate with other church auxiliary groups to plan and execute community emergency preparedness, activities and a support network for group members and their families, particularly those in difficult circumstances.”
To help a friend and his startup company, Ashworth used signal boosters and antennas to establish better wireless connectivity. The company collects and transmits data at remote trash collection facilities. Products and solutions were implemented to combat poor cellular reception that the equipment was experiencing. This helped Ashworth learn more about the environment signal boosters operate in, particularly the required input dynamic range the boosters often experience. He is also a member of the Southern Utah University Electronics Advisory Board, which provides him with feedback and support as the university engineering technology department seeks to achieve accreditation.
Ashworth served a two-year religious volunteer mission in South Korea. He learned to speak and read Korean, made friends, and came to love the culture and food. He served as a leader and presided over twenty other volunteers of diverse ethnicities. He overcame his natural shyness as he daily initiated conversations with strangers and taught group discussions. Ashworth also led a group of four engineers as they designed and built a software radio and directional antennas for their university senior project. Their group integrated software and hardware designs and won a competition against four other teams.
Each summer during Ashworth’s university career he worked at Wilson Electronics. The personal mentoring he received in these internships helped him grow in confidence and interest in his field. Ashworth began as a rework technician, asking questions about how and why things were designed the way they were. Because he enjoys finding simple solutions to complex problems, building and designing bi-directional repeaters and working with RF this is a field he has enjoyed. Ashworth continues to enjoy his employment at Wilson Electronics as it offers many levels of control problems to solve as he leads projects from concept to manufacturing.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.