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Employee Spotlight: Ted Wahrburg

Robotics Engineer, Gamer, Dabbler in Video Synth and Home Repairs

Personal motto or mantra: “Don’t take life too seriously. No one makes it out alive.”

Ted Wahrburg, a Robotics Engineer at OLogic, grew up in Key West, Florida. From a young age, he always had a desire to know how things work. He reminisced, “As a toddler, I would take apart toys my parents would buy me, but unfortunately… for me… they did not know how to put them back together.”

In high school, Ted was very much into PC building, upgrading, and repair. After finishing high school, he attended Florida Keys Community College and began working at the local hospital as an IT specialist. There, he enjoyed doing electronics modding as a hobby. 

Ted then moved to Orlando, FL where he briefly attended the University of Central Florida. As his career developed, Ted worked in various IT and support roles and continued working on electronics projects in his free time. 

When he joined a local makerspace in Central Florida called FamiLAB, Ted began networking and sharing skills with the members. He also started teaching a workshop at a local university. A couple of memorable personal projects he worked on during this time were reverse engineering the Super Nintendo using a Raspberry Pi, and creating a 120hz 256-step 8-channel music light sync using assembly.

Eventually, he began taking technician roles debugging, repairing, and assembling circuits, and EE roles designing and laying out PCBs for a few startups. His duties included operating fab equipment including a pick and place machine, PCB etching CNCs, PCB chemical etching equipment, and multiple reflow ovens.

His desire to design something new from the ground up is what drew Ted to engineering,

I often have ideas for products that don’t yet exist, or if they do, they don’t do the things that I’d like them to. I feel it’s up to me to change this! 

When asked how he landed at OLogic, Ted tells us, “I had a friend from Florida who moved to the Bay and took a job at OLogic as a mechanical engineer. She introduced me to Ted Larson. I have now been working for the company for 7 years.”

A major benefit of working at OLogic is that you get to wear many hats. This helps to broaden your knowledge and expertise. For example, I’ve done lots of PCB layouts, and schematic capture in Altium for dozens of clients. I’ve also debugged quite a few existing designs, and, as Ted Larson likes to put it, I like finding “crafty” ways of reworking PCBs. For the last couple of years, I’ve been working in a software-focused DevOp role where I work on Linux build systems for one of our larger clients.

Ted shares that the most rewarding part of his job is when he sees a circuit he has helped design move on its own. “It’s nice to see a robot in the real world, especially when they continue to operate in harsher conditions than you were originally able to test for.”

His proudest moment at OLogic was when he accidentally broke a prototype by dropping it on the floor, discovering that inside of the prototype was the wrong impedance speaker which was causing inconsistent audio issues. By breaking it open, he hastened the solution. The lesson? Break things more often.

Ted’s advice to prospective OLogic candidates, “Take initiative! The most successful OLogic employees seek out the clients they’d like to work with.”

“Much like the products you design, know your own operating limits. Often a client will request more than an engineering team can deliver in a certain time frame. My advice is to never panic, and continue to steer the best course. If you do, they may be a little disappointed initially, but you will often exceed their expectations when realistic timetables are set and you deliver to plan. This is why having a great Project Management team is so useful, not only for the design team but for the client too.”

Ted is interested in public policy and is a self-proclaimed political junkie. If he wasn’t working as an engineer, he could see himself working with political action groups, think tanks, or campaigns. 

For fun and social entertainment, Ted hosts a local video game meetup and says he spends too much money modifying and upgrading retro video game consoles. He dabbles in video synth and mixing and attends various meetups involving philosophy, board games, improv, and whatever else sounds exciting. Although he is a renter, he also likes doing his own home repairs. For outdoor adventure, Ted enjoys camping, and plans on getting back into hiking and kayaking. 

He enjoys hanging out in Santa Cruz, where he likes the vibe. He compares it to Key West at its best with mountains, a better climate, and not 3 hours away from the closest city.

A fun ongoing debate we have at OLogic is whether cats or dogs are superior or cat people versus dog people. Ted is definitely a cat person, living with his roommate’s two cats, Hashbrown being his favorite. “Cats are simply better. Have you ever seen a dog climb a tree? Or if you did, have you seen said dog jump out of the tree and be fine? No? Checkmate, dogs. Cats can drink salt water, and dogs cannot. When dogs escape into nature you fear for the Dog. When cats escape into nature you fear…for nature.”

We are grateful that Ted made the move from Florida to California and that the OLogic Team gets to share his creative talents. Ted has a whimsical outlook on life and his enthusiasm is contagious.