2015 Engineering Leader Under 40: Jeff Poirier, 39
Jeff Poirier, 39
Senior Controls Engineer, RedViking; Plymouth, Mich.
BS Electrical Engineering, University of Michigan
Poirier is one of the most-requested software and controls engineers at RedViking. Poirier designed first-of-its-kind helicopter transmission flexible testing software that enables motors to switch roles during and between tests to accommodate highly complex test profiles on a single test stand. The challenge of configuring four 3,000-hp motors to change roles was unprecedented. In an example of a typical helicopter test stand, Motor A might always control speed with Motor B slaved or geared to follow it with balanced torque. Motor C creates load, and Motor D absorbs load and syncs to the first two motors. And all of these have to be synced and balanced. Poirier has built software to allow the test operator to change the system at the push of a button, so that the speed is now controlled by Motor C and torque is controlled by Motors A and D. And as part of the same test, or in the next test, speed can be controlled by Motor B and torque by Motors A and D. RedViking’s stands can test low-power devices, high-power devices, and devices that have to be controlled differently and tested differently from each other. Poirier’s software creates previously impossible flexibility in helicopter powertrain testing and provides outstanding industry cost savings. When not at work, Poirier is an avid mountain biker; while on his honeymoon in Hawaii, he and his wife rented road bikes and used them to climb to the top of the Haleakalā volcano, an 83-mi ride with 10,700 ft of climb.