Michael J. Gradziel
email mike(at)mjgradziel.com
San Mateo, California
  • Rapid 3D modeling that accurately shows practical, manufacturable components and assemblies. I've used Pro/Engineer - Creo, Unigraphics NX, and Solidworks, and I learn new tools quickly. More important, I have a sense of how to design things to be practical, manufacturable, and elegant.

  • Sketching, illustrations, and technical writing. I stay organized and I document everything. Written and pictorial communication is my thing, but I can present too. I need Photoshop, Microsoft Office, paper, and ink.

  • Engineering drawings, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, assembly and process instructions, and specifications. I speak the language, and I cherish having configuration control.

  • Building things. I aspire to work where engineers can use wrenches on the product line. I'm good at that sort of thing. I know a bit of carpentry, metalworking, piping, electrical, and all sorts of mechanical repairs, not just the labor but also the engineering, simulations, and problem solving.

  • Engineering analysis. I spend more of my time using engineering judgement than I do on optimizations and sophisticated calculations, and I'm not a programmer, an ace analyst, or a math master, but I know how to solve things and how to use expert help.

  • Mechanical Engineer, Jan 2009 - present. Large defense contractor in San Francisco Bay Area. Machine Design Group - rotating machinery design. Current clearance.

  • Mechanical Engineer, Sep 2003 - Nov 2008. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA). Spacecraft Structures & Mechanisms Engineering Groups.
    Previously, JPL co-op student program, Jan-Jul 2001 and May-Aug 2002.

  • Technical Writer / Intern, May - Aug 2000. General Dynamics Defense Systems (Pittsfield, MA).

  • Intern / Draftsman, Feb-Jul 1999. Graham Engineering, Inc. (Cheshire, MA).

  • Lead role on engineering team responsible for mechanical design of a large machinery element related to ship propulsion, developed over the course of three years 2010-2013 for competitive proposal. Generated all CAD models and graphics, wrote technical sections of proposal, presented designs at customer reviews. Efforts resulted in award of a multi year contract worth tens of millions of dollars. Lead mechanical design engineer for this program.

  • Designed, built, and successfully tested an airborne device for an internal research project, involving modeling and simulations, hardware design and fabrication, and operation on a flight test range. 2009.

  • Developed and built the novel mechanism that successfully deployed NASA's $2.5B Mars Science Laboratory rover on tethers below its descent vehicle for skycrane landing on Mars. Responsible for task management, design, analysis, modeling, and supervision of fabrication, assembly, and test. Also gave lasting definition to the vehicle chassis structural concept, manipulator arm design, and balance mass system.

  • Prepared initial mechanical design for NuSTAR earth-orbiting x-ray telescope that launched in June 2012 and is now studying star formation. Assisted with authoring proposal.

  • Designed, built, and flight tested a large radar antenna structure & aircraft interfaces for a DHC Twin Otter aircraft, 2005, to study arctic ice.

  • Designed and built descent camera test rig with thermoelectric cooling and gaseous nitrogen purge aboard a helicopter test platform, in support of NASA's 2004 Mars landings.

  • Designed, built, tested, and installed an instrument enclosure to maintain aircraft pressure at 70,000 feet of altitude for atmospheric research, 2002. Missions subsequently were flown in Costa Rica and the western Atlantic.

  • Mentoring by one of our company's finest engineers, whose decades of service have greatly advanced the art of precision engineering, reliability, and dynamic performance. 2011-2012

  • Working with some of the most brilliant aerospace engineers in the world, 2001-2008 (Pasadena, CA)

  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, 2003. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY)

  • Building fine furniture, mountain & water sports, cooking, photography, & keeping up my website of travel writing and engineering anecdotes.

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