Director, Hardware Engineering

Req Number: 3PY0NR
Location: Richmond
Posted: 12/5/2022
Category: Industrial : Energy
Job Type: Permanent

The Company

Headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia, Ideon Technologies (“Ideon” or the “Company”) uses the energy from supernova explosions in space to image down to 1km beneath the Earth's surface.

A world pioneer in the application of cosmic-ray muon tomography, Ideon provides advanced subsurface intelligence that supports the global shift to clean energy technologies. Ideon is helping accelerate the transition to low-impact mining of critical minerals and metals -- reducing risk, cost, time, and environmental impact of operations across the mining value chain. Muon tomography is the only straight-line geophysical imaging technique available on the market, producing high-resolution, locationally accurate subsurface imaging of density anomalies at depth. These new insights increase geological certainty for mining companies, in turn helping to reduce the need for traditional hit-and-miss drilling, increase the accuracy of mine mapping and monitoring, better characterize in-ground resources, and ultimately contribute to improved mine planning and reserve management.

Muons are naturally occurring, invisible sub-atomic particles produced by cosmic rays striking the Earth’s atmosphere. As muons pass through the Earth, they lose energy progressively and at an accelerated rate as they encounter higher-density material. Ideon manufactures and deploys proprietary hardware that captures and measures muon activity beneath the Earth. Using customized imaging systems, inversion technologies, and artificial intelligence techniques, the Ideon team then transforms the data into reliable geophysical surveys and 3D density maps that help mining companies target and characterize resources more precisely.

In June early 2021 Ideon Technologies completed miniaturizing their proprietary imaging sensor by 50x to a form compatible to fitting down industry-standard drill holes. Following this completion, Ideon successfully deployed the world’s first cosmic-ray muon detector in Saskatchewan with top uranium producer, Orano Group. At current state, Ideon has deployed, or is in the process of deploying, dozens of detectors under commercial agreements and in deep collaboration with major mining companies like BHP, Glencore, Vale, Orano and others.

Ideon’s early success with BHP at their Nickel West operation in Western Australia is documented in a case study and was trumpeted by BHP’s Chief Technology Officer Laura Tyler at Canadian mining mega-conference PDAC 2021. The deployment of Ideon’s borehole muon detectors at BHP Nickel West is part of a multi-year project and the first deployment of the system outside Canada. BHP is also a test-site partner for Ideon’s Digital Supercluster project, a project focused on developing several new proprietary imaging modalities complementary to muon tomography and helping mining companies increase the sustainable production of critical mineral resources needed to fuel the industry’s clean energy transition.

Ideon also deployed muon tomography on Oak Island in October 2021 for the purpose of subsurface anomaly detection and can be seen featured on The History Channel’s hit reality TV show The Curse of Oak Island.

Ideon Technologies’ innovation and disruption to traditional exploration and subsurface mapping methods has not gone unnoticed. In 2021, the company was shortlisted for Start-up Company of the Year through the BC Tech Association. In April 2021, they were awarded second place in the international Mining Cleantech Challenge, and most recently they were named a finalist by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce for Innovative Enterprise on of the Year.

In September 2022 Ideon Technologies announced it closed a CAD$21M Series A funding led by Playground Global – a deep-tech VC out of Silicon Valley. The investment will expand Ideon’s production capacity and accelerate the commercialization of its Subsurface Intelligence Platform. In the next 3 years, Ideon seeks to reach CAD$50M in annual revenue and to secure longer-term commercial contracts with new and existing major mining clients.

The Opportunity

Having recently raised CAD$21 million in a Series A, the company is poised to continue strategically expanding its footprint into the industrial market, particularly with key mining clients. At this critical inflection point, Ideon is seeking a new Director, Hardware Engineering to lead the design, development, and transfer to manufacturing of muon detectors and other hardware.

This is an opportunity to work with a dynamic technology start-up at one of the most exciting moments in its journey to commercialization. You will be working together with company founders and technical experts to advance a ground-breaking solution that will generate significant economic and environmental benefit.

Reporting to the Chief Technology Officer, the Director, Hardware Engineering will be instrumental in leading and influencing the design and development of Ideon’s muon sensor technology. As a functional leader, the Director will supervise and coordinate the activities of all levels of managers and engineers. The role provides hands-on leadership, assesses, and develops talent, and implements best-in-class engineering practices to improve the interaction between mechanical and electrical hardware components and software. The Director will lead the hardware engineering team through the product development lifecycle, maintaining close relationships with internal and external stakeholders and partners.

Key Responsibilities

Position: Director, Hardware Engineering
Location: Richmond, BC
Reporting Relationship: Doug Schouten, Chief Technology Officer
  • Assume accountability for the entire product from start to finish while ensuring all project objectives and deliverables are met.
  • Create department roadmaps for functional and project excellence, ensure that hardware technical standards for the department are maintained and that technical decisions are aligned with long-term priorities.
  • Ensure the hardware deliverables are of high quality and that they adhere to Ideon’s design controls.
  • Analyze stakeholder needs across all workstreams to identify gaps, identify risks, and define mitigation for an acceptable and timely solution.
  • Own product hardware requirements, design and development, and transfer to manufacturing.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional managers across R&D, Software Development teams, and Manufacturing to meet business goals.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional stakeholders such as Marketing, QA/RA, Service, Manufacturing, R&D to ensure alignment on project scope, design control documentation, quality, and schedule.
  • Develop and maintain project related documentation such as schedules, action logs, risk registers, and updates.
  • Efficiently communicate project status to stakeholders and leadership via presentations, dashboards, email, and verbally.
  • Recommend and advise hardware upgrades.
  • Directly supervise employees. Carry out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems.
  • Provide guidance to cross-functional teams as needed.
  • Create key performance indicators (KPI) and process and product quality metrics to assess the success of hardware projects; use KPIs to make continuous process improvements.
  • Review and approve hardware technical documents in architecture, design, coding inspections, and participate in systems, hardware, and cross-functional technical reviews.
  • Hold task owners accountable for delivering on time and with high quality.
  • Identify project risks proactively and implement countermeasures to mitigate the risks.

Year One Critical Success Factors

Within the first 12 months in the role the Director, Hardware Engineer will have

  • Developed a robust understanding of the technology within the first six months.
  • Addressed technical and complex challenges of physical products.
  • Helped deploy improved next generation muon sensor technology.
  • Be deeply engaged in the deployment of the next project that is currently in pilot phase to commercialization

The Candidate

Experience and Professional Qualifications

You have strong technical vision, commitment to quality, and a drive for continuous improvement, having seen and learned from various challenges over your career. Your personal experience in innovative hardware development in a complex environment gives you the credibility to lead and coach a team with deep insight and understanding. As a transparent, persuasive, and technically astute leader, you inspire others to learn, ask questions, and follow your guidance. Not one to shy away from a complex challenge, you exercise creativity in problem-solving and tenacity in shepherding issues to a successful conclusion. You thrive in a fast-paced environment where the market opportunity is massive and the approach to solutioning is iterative and flexible.

In addition, your credentials, attributes, and qualifications include:

  • Minimum 10 years of engineering experience, having at least 5 years in a leadership or supervisory capacity.
  • A degree in Geophysics/Geoscience/Engineering Physics/Mechanical Engineering /Electrical Engineering or related field of study.
  • Exposure to several disciplines in the engineering field with a focus on mechanical, electrical and/or software across industrial sectors like oil & gas, mining etc.
  • Experience with design and development of hardware and embedded firmware for products from initial design to release to manufacturing.
  • Familiarity with new sensor technologies.
  • Experience leading projects and driving tasks to completion to a defined schedule.
  • Experience in managing complex development projects.
  • Experience in building new disruptive technologies in an R&D environment.
  • Experience with products that have significant external environmental impact.
  • A demonstrated record of responsibility for complex projects and delivering results in a management function while leading engineers.
  • A team player with the ability to think conceptually, flexibly, and strategically.
  • Ability to anticipate new skills and tool needs based on the product and technical roadmaps.
  • Experience in managing systems/firmware development.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to coach and mentor staff and a history of developing high performing teams.
  • Resilience as a leader.

Company Culture

Ideon places significant emphasis during hiring to cultural fit and alignment. This is how they articulate their core values:

Great ideas and rich company culture come from diversity of thought, experience, and perspective. The Ideon culture is anchored in a set of core values that directly shape how we hire, coach, evaluate, and develop our people:

  • Driven by industry, informed by science. We solve industry problems with scientific rigour: listening carefully, analyzing the data, and developing solutions that our clients – and the planet – cannot live without.
  • Inspired to create, wired to deliver. We are imaginative, creating new possibilities and embracing the diversity of thought and experience within our team to move with urgency, learn from our failures, and execute masterfully.
  • Unified as a team, personally accountable. We have each other’s backs and operate with integrity, respect, and empathy. Success depends on leaving egos at the door, celebrating our differences, delivering promises, and owning the outcome together.
  • Boldly ambitious, exceptionally human. We think big and have the courage to blaze new trails. We are in this business to win, but that does not mean we compromise on doing the right thing for our people, our clients, and our world.