You've safely landed on the biographical and professional introduction web site for Zachary "Zac" Hester of Colorado Springs, CO.
I am a graduate of South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in computer engineering. I began my academic career in electrical engineering. I was repeatedly singled-out as a superior student in my technical communications courses, and enjoy writing (both technical, and non-technical). I have also been contracted as a freelance author and technical editor.
I work for Braxton Technologies as a software engineer. I support all levels of development, mentor junior engineers, and specialize in space vehicle flight dynamics.
I was formerly employed as an aviation software engineer at Garmin International. I specialize in low-level interfaces to peripherals (drivers), high-speed data buses, and real-time digital signal processing.
I have been an adjunct professor in the CSIT (computer science and information technology) department at Johnson County Community College.
My core interest in engineering is systematic problem-solving. While my degree focuses on electronic design engineering, I am more than competent in analog/RF design, I am an expert-level software developer in a wide array of environments, and I greatly enjoy mechanical design as a hobby. I believe my strongest ability in engineering is the design and construction of tools that help people do their job better, faster, cheaper, and with less effort.
I realize some people place a lot of emphasis on very specific skills like the various programming languages or applications they use professionally. As an engineer, the actual tool I use is just whatever is most appropriate for the job. That said, here are a few of the tools I've used a lot.
While software engineering pays the bills, I'm formally trained in digital hardware design. I can write VHDL for FPGAs, route traces on circuit boards, design power supplies, drive inductive loads, and implement ADCs and DACs in a digital signal processing system. I enjoy working with oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, arbitrary waveform generators, and soldering irons. Building software-defined radios and cheap solid state radars are hobbies.
For an engineer, I've also spent a lot of time learning graphical design and consider myself an advanced user of Blender 3D, Inkscape, and the GIMP.
I am a firm believer in the value of a well-rounded individual. I bring my energy and passion to all aspects of my life. Compared to most new engineers, I am well-read, and I have a far stronger interest in literature, history, sociology, etymology, philology, and theoretical science. I am a self-taught student of musical theory, and play the guitar.
I am a physically active person who enjoys just about anything a person can do outdoors. I regularly compete in triathlons. I have completed two marathons and numerous other running/endurance races. I have been technical rock climbing since 1993. I have climbed several mountains over 14,000 feet in elevation. I am a PADI-certified SCUBA diver. I hike, mountain bike, backpack, disc golf, and footbag.
My most important role, however, is dad. I married a cute science teacher 2004. We have two crazy kids who have made me happier than I ever could have imagined.