Gary Shade, Failure Analysis Engineer

Gary Shade is a Senior Staff Failure Analysis Engineer with Insight Analytical Labs in Colorado Springs, CO where he performs failure analysis on PCB assemblies and semiconductor devices. He was the president of the Electronic Device Failure Analysis Society from 2006-2008 and is an expert in the field of Photoemission Microscopy. Gary has a BA in Physics from William Jewell College in Liberty, MO and a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. In his spare time he enjoys home remodeling, auto repair, and making family memories.

Here is an excerpt from my interview with Gary:

Do you have any thoughts on the difference between science and engineering?

A big difference that I see between science and engineering is that scientists are more removed from the general population. An engineer may design something where a person may actually live or die if they don’t do it properly, but scientists don’t typically have that exposure. An engineer benefits more from people skills and also from an awareness of the impact of their work on society. Both scientists and engineers need to be aware of the impact of their work, however. A lot of research has been stopped short because society’s perception was, “This is not a good thing,” or, “This is immoral,” or, “What if this got into the wrong hands?”

How does a science education prepare one for working in industry?

Having a very good understanding of mathematics is valuable because it helps you not only solve a problem, but also describe it to others. Math is a language in itself.
The scientific process is also very important. In industry you find there are a lot of people who are careless and end up coming up with answers that are half-baked, wrong, or even downright dangerous, because they haven’t done their due diligence and followed correct procedures. We see this in the news when companies broadcast a new product and then it never comes to market because they were careless and didn’t really have a product yet.

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