Phil LaFountain Jr.
Question: What has been your journey going through ENC and beyond?
I started at ENC in 2003, still unsure of what I wanted to major in. I had heard for some reason that they had Mechanical Engineering as a major at ENC, so I was interested in that when I began in the fall. I was mistaken about the Mechanical Engineering major, but Randy Fish said I should set up my courses for the Electrical Engineering major. So I became an EE. My junior year I started an internship with Medical Scientific in Taunton, MA. They’re a small company that designs and manufactures medical electro-surgical equipment primarily RF electrosurgical generators called Endostats. I learned a lot about debugging, certain FDA protocols, and I got to use a soldering iron A LOT. While I was there, the lead engineer was developing the Endostat III, so I was able to see firsthand the process of product development from concept to final product which was extremely valuable.
After graduation, like most ENC alumni, I got married. I married Jennifer (Fitzgerald) LaFountain and we moved first to a cabin in Portsmouth, RI while I was still working at Medical Scientific. We also spent a few months at my parents’ house in Pawtucket RI while I searched for a job. It was a tough time to find a job in 2007-2008, right before the big financial collapse. It took 6 months or so, and a few interviews, before I found a great job with Palomar Medical Technologies in Burlington MA, where I presently work. I was hired as a junior EE in the Research department, and became an EE after 3 years. For the first few years I was in charge of the software development for the Palovia home use skin resurfacing laser product. I also developed the occasional prototype for clinical trials or other testing. I eventually became in charge of both hardware and software for Palovia and all derivative products. At Palomar, the EEs typically gain control of a product and take it from concept through design, and into manufacturing and documentation. I’ve gained a lot of hardware, software, and general product development experience at Palomar.
Three years ago I decided to start grad school. I was accepted to Northeastern in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Master’s program as a part time student and I have been focusing in Control Systems and Signal Processing. I am currently taking Computer Vision which is my fifth course out of an eventual eight I will complete for the degree. It has been difficult this semester, I have a one and half year old and we moved into a new house this year so it has been busy.
Question: How has ENC helped you prepare for your career?
Going to ENC is a rare experience that can easily be taken for granted. Some of my fondest memories are of my times there. ENC also offers a unique environment to study engineering, and has certain strengths that cannot be found in many other institutions. There are small classrooms where one on one time is abundant. The faculty is excellent and they have often forgone personal material gain for selflessly focusing on educating students. The professor will be lecturing and grading you, not a TA. ENC is focused on creating an engineer that is not only academically and practically prepared for life after undergrad, but creating an engineer that is full of character and quality that is welcomed in the workplace and research environment. I’m proud to be a part of the engineering alumni; they are an intelligent, upstanding, and successful group of people in all aspects of life.