Peter Lowry

Senior Software & Electrical Engineer

Portland, OR

What is your job title, and what does that position entail?
I wear a few different hats here at Olympus – primarily electrical and software engineering for our Systems and Assemblies Group but I also handle certain matters of IT and internal software systems infrastructure development. Basically my job is to design and implement systems to increase productivity and efficiency, whether electrical and software systems for customer tools and machines or connecting our ERP system with the CAE tools we use.

How long have you worked at Olympus, where did you come from?
I have been with Olympus since January 2006. Originally from Portland I graduated from U of P in 2002 with a BSEE just in time for an economic recession. In my difficulty finding an engineering position I worked in landscaping for my parents’ business, did some material handling for the electrician’s union, and even did a little HVAC before finally arriving here in early 2006.

Can you tell us a little about your background and how it helps you in this position?
Even from a very early age I have had deep interest in electronics, software, and mechanical systems. When I was young I took so many things apart that my parents had to carefully regulate my access to tools though they always supported my interest to learn how everything worked. I remember when I was in grade school I read a college-level textbook from the library about computer systems design and actually captured most of the concepts and theory. Looking back I can see that I have gained so much exposure to different technology and various ways to solve problems which I have found to be beneficial in successfully facing new challenges today.

What are some key lessons you have taken from your career thus far?
Proper communication is a main differentiator between success and failure within a team environment. Relaying the right information can be crucial even if the information does not seem all that important. Also, don’t be afraid to voice concerns even if you may not be familiar with all the details of a problem/solution. Each person has a unique perspective to bring to the table.

Before finalizing a solution to a problem, make sure you have done your homework to really understand what the root causes to the problem are and why your solution will fix it. Otherwise, you may just be creating a band aid that only works until something else changes that may not even be related to the original problem you were trying to solve.

What do you like best about working at Olympus?
I love the sense of adventure! All the time things are changing, bringing new projects to work on with new challenges and new solutions to create. Also as the company grows there are always new opportunities to build systems that make us more efficient and streamline our processes.

What was your first job ever?
In the summer before my 6th grade year my parents started their first business. It was a landscaping construction supply store. We sold many different types of concrete retaining wall and paving stone systems as well as clay and concrete masonry products. My job was to do a little of everything: customer sales, cashier, technical education about our product lines, preparing delivery orders, and building various product displays. There was never a shortage of hard work during my summer breaks!

Describe some of your hobbies – what do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy doing anything with my family. My wife Sara, son Ethan (6), and daughter Olivia (5) are my greatest treasures. Together we go hiking in the summer and play in the snow on Mt. Hood in the winter among other activities like the ZOO, children’s museum, OMSI, etc. We also play family games at home and enjoy each other’s company.

What is one thing you customers might find surprising about you?
Sara and I were youth pastors at our church for about a year or so following the resignation of the previous youth pastor. We organized a trip for the group to go to Mexico to build a house for a family just outside Tijuana. What a great experience for us and the youth in our group! You gain a real appreciation for all we are blessed with living here in the US. It also opens your eyes to the real needs of other people and gets you thinking of other ways you might serve the needs of your own community.

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