Resume - Christopher Harper

Electrical and Electronics Design Engineer
with Embedded Systems Experience

For a shorter and perhaps more reader friendly version go HERE
For the full and overly technical version continue:


1 - EXPERIENCE



1.1 Westinghouse Electric, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Suppliers of specialized safety-grade automation and control systems for the nuclear power industry

Division: Nuclear Services, Repair Replacement & Automation Services
Title: Contract Engineer
Dates: November 2005 - March 2010 (4yrs. 4mo.)

Contract Engineer working through “System One Services” (formerly Hudson):

  • Duties include the planning and development of future “In-Core” instrumentation.
  • Assisting where needed in the development, troubleshooting and testing of various protection systems to insure safe plant operation.
  • Assisted in EMC testing pertaining to design modifications of a safety grade “Diesel Generator Load Sequencer” (control system).
  • Drafted a preliminary design for a Squib Valve control circuit.
  • Prepared multiple detailed design proposals for several safety system upgrades for the Luminant (formerly TXU) Comanche Peak nuclear power plant.
  • Investigated the use of FPGAs for use in a Non-Programmable Logic Controller to be used in safety applications. Logic written in Verilog for simulation as proof of concept.
  • Designed, implemented and tested the “TWICE Alternate Control System” for the Ringhals Unit 2 nuclear power plant. (four operator cabinets and six switching cabinets)
  • Completed design of cabinet equipment layout of a triple redundant Diesel Generator Load Sequencer for the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant.
  • Completed circuit design and Verilog code for an eight channel Two-of-Three Voter Termination PCB that utilizes multiple CPLDs. Dictated component placement and trace routing of PCB layout with outside vendor for optimal performance.
  • Scripted in Perl the automatic generation of logic tables used in the V&V process of non-software based logic system.
  • Designed and implemented a dual Diverse Load Sequencer system in Verilog for implementation on an array of CPLDs.
  • In Visual Studio, wrote a Simulator Application to mimic the operation of an Advanced Logic System (ALS) application including graphical user interfaces and serial communication links to aid in the validation of support hardware without the presence of the ALS system. The ALS is a non-software based logic controller for use in safety system applications and utilizes diverse programmable hardware methods.


1.2 Union Switch & Signal Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa.

Manufacturer of Signalling and Control Systems used in Railroad and the Light Rail Transit Industry

Division: Product Development Engineering
Title: Consulting Engineer
Dates: March 2001 – August 2003 (2yrs. 5mo.)

Title: Senior Development Engineer,
Dates: June 1993 – March 2001 (7yrs. 9mo.)

  • Electronics Circuit Designer, Low Power Analog, Digital, Battery and RF Telemetry Applications, with Surface Mount and Leaded components.
  • Motorola Microprocessor Experience, Assembler and C.
  • Experience with Zilog USCs, FSK Modems, Microchip PIC micro-controllers, variants of the Intel 8051 micro-controller, and Atmel’s AVR family or micro-controllers.
  • “Lead Engineer” for the End-of-Train product line and on-board transit Event Recorder projects.
  • Designs for several End-of-Train Telemetry “End Units” including solid state Marker Light and Lens to meet FRA requirements. Two modulation schemes were utilized.
  • Designed an “Integrated Cab Unit” for use in new model locomotives (essentially a specialized RF Modem).
  • Complete re-design for a lower cost “Cab Display Unit” and four interchangeable customer specific interface modules for simple streamlined assembly.
  • Designed a specialized trackside radio modem with complementary vehicle software to enhanced safety of railroad traffic at highway crossings (named on patent for the Wayside-Communications-Unit, U.S. Patent #5,785,283).
  • Designed a low cost intelligent radio repeater that provided a very significant cost advantage over competitive product. As a result the company was able to capitalize with this advantage.
  • Designed and constructed a test method for quantifying system level RF performance of telemetry equipment, eliminating the need to rely on outside test facilities which eliminated travel time and reduced test time and development costs while improving product quality.
  • Completed EMI and RF enhancements for several versions of the End-of-Train “End Unit” based on the previously mentioned system level testing method.
  • Worked closely with outside vendors for specialized parts requirements (synthesized UHF transceiver and pressure transducers).
  • Jointly developed a “Graphical Interface Unit” (including software) to be used in conjunction with the “Integrated Cab Unit” for the Chinese market.
  • Redesigned a Motion Detector (including software) utilizing a solid-state accelerometer.
  • Designed a 10 Watt UHF Power Amplifier utilizing Micro Strip Transmission Line Theory, for FCC & IC Acceptance.
  • Redesign of several RF Sections (27MHz) utilizing unconventional means for a High Speed Passive ID Tag Reader to extend the product life of the equipment faced with component obsolescence.
  • Development of Test Software Procedures (embedded and Visual Basic) for many development tasks.
  • Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ASES), Alpha Design and Federal Railway Administration (FRA) Event Recorder including the design of a Data Acquisition Unit incorporating Echelon’s LonWorks network components and subsequent expansions and platforms.
  • Participated in various customer telemetry support issues. Some involving travel to the customer’s facilities, others involving equipping locomotives with instrumentation and traveling in route for diagnostics purposes.
  • Participated in and supported Customer Acceptance Testing of on-board locomotive and transit equipment in-house, at third party test facilities, and at the customer’s facilities.


1.3 Union Switch & Signal Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa.

Manufacturer of Signaling and Control Systems used in Railroad and the Light Rail Transit Industry

Division: Computer Systems Engineering
Title: Engineer
Dates: July 1991 – June 1993 (1yr. 11mo.)

  • Define computer equipment and all other related hardware used for redundant control systems for signaling, routing and Automatic Train Control (ATC) used in the Rail Industry.
  • Design of centralized control offices and equipment rooms for Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) of rapid transit systems.
  • Central Office, Taipei Metro Rapid Transit System, Taiwan.
  • Preliminary Design of LA Green Line Rapid Transit Central Office.


1.4 Bacharach Instrumentation Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa.

Manufacturer of Gas Detection Instruments, Diesel Fuel Injection Calibration Equipment, Combustion Efficiency Measurement Devices and Analytical Products

Division: Product Development, Gas Detection
Title: Development Engineer
Dates: October 1990 – June 1991 (8mo.)

  • Design Intrinsically safe instrumentation circuits for use in portable, mobile, and fixed location gas detection.
  • Worst case analysis for new and existing products.
  • Product specifications, proposals, and reports pertaining to production support, sales, marketing and project status.
  • Implemented solutions for design improvements of current products.
  • Hardware and Software development for the "Gas Pointer II".

Division: Manufacturing Test Department
Title: Test Engineer
Dates: March 1989 – October 1990 (1yr. 7mo.)

  • Designed electronic, hydraulic, and mechanical test fixtures for new and existing products.
  • Upgraded test methods and procedures for the Diesel Fuel Injection Product Line utilizing Automatic Test Equipment interfacing to PCs.
  • Interface with technicians, production supervisors and department managers on a daily basis.
  • Made improvements to a Positive Displacement Flow Transducer used to measure fuel flow, resulting in reduced rework, decreased testing times and increased performance.


1.5 Various Other Jobs

Jobs worked while attending night school, accumulating over 10 years of practical bench experience prior to being assigned an engineering position in 1989.

Titles: 'R&D Technician', 'Production Test Technician', 'RF Technician' HF -UHF, 'Assembler' PCBs and various assemblies



2 - SKILL SET


  • Experience with most major PC software packages: Word, Excel, Access, Schematic Capture
  • Embedded Programming in C, Assembler
  • PC programming in MS Visual Basic for Windows OS
  • Experience with various microprocessors: 8/16/32bit, Motorola, Microchip PIC, Intel 8051/2, Atmel AVR Microprocessors.
  • Experience with several Integrated Development Environments (IDE) such as IAR Workbench
  • Various FPGA and PAL training classes; Verilog and Icarus (simulation) experience.
  • Proficient with most electronics lab instruments and test equipment.
  • Implemented various serial protocols for RS-232 and RE-422/485 hardware.
  • Prior work experience as an RF Technician, calibrating, testing, troubleshooting various radio remote controls for industrial applications.
  • Proficient with AutoCAD (mechanical)
  • Scripting in PERL (and learning Python)
  • On my own time, I enjoy working with the Linux OS and the many open source applications available. I am continually learning and adding to this skill set.




3 - EDUCATION


3.1 Penn State University
Bachelor of Science
Electrical Engineering Technology

3.2 Community College of Allegheny County
Associate in Science
Electronic Engineering Technology
w/Honors