Jan '04-Aug '05 — Versawave / JGKB Photonics Inc., Burnaby, B.C.

  • Manufacturing: assembled and developed assembly procedures for all products
  • Database Administrator: created, developed and maintained the in-house data tracking system, including an RDBMS backend (MySQL), secure authentication, web (PHP) and Microsoft Access (ODBC) frontends, and automatic data entry from test stations
  • Quality Coordinator: organized/implemented the ISO 9001 quality management system
  • IT: system administrator and resident expert, involved in a major computer system upgrade

This job was with a small (10-12 people) start-up company developing very fast optical modulators for use in the next generation of fiber optic equipment. Due to the small size of the company, I had the opportunity to fill many roles during my time here. This job ended in August 2005, when most of the staff was let go to save costs. The company still exists, but has no sales and is mostly concerned with Intellectual Property.


I was originally hired mainly for the manufacturing of the product, as the complicated manufacturing procedure required a large knowledge base in the underlying Physics of the device. I learned how to assemble the product through all steps of the assembly process. I then developed assembly procedures for each step.

Database Administrator

When I joined the company, all data tracking was done on an individual basis, and was completely de-centralized. Due to my experience in Computing Science, I was assigned to form a more centralized and consistent data tracking system. I chose to base this system on a full-fledged relational database system, and selected MySQL for it's cost and interoperability (through ODBC) with Microsoft Access, which was the database frontend of choice for the company. After some consultation, I then created a global schema to be used for tracking all research and manufacturing data.

As most users in the company were familiar with Microsoft Access, I then had to develop a frontend to the data through it. This included secure authentication of users in order to track measurement origins and change history, as well as limit access to different areas to certain groups. All communication with the MySQL backend was through ODBC, using the MyODBC software. I also integrated data entry into some existing measurement programs (mostly in LabVIEW), and implemented some new ones as well. I created many automatically-generated reports for tracking the status of some of the manufacturing and research projects. Finally, I developed a simple PHP frontend to some parts of the data for use by remote users unable to connect directly to the MySQL server.

Some of the applications I was able to integrate into the database include:

  • measurement data tracking and analysis for both manufacturing and R&D
  • an inventory and purchase order tracking system for manufacturing
  • a manufacturing tracking system to monitor the assembly of products
  • an order tracking system to integrate with manufacturing for sales
  • an employee database containing contact and education information

Quality Coordinator

I was responsible for organizing the company's eventual certification under the guidelines of the ISO 9001 quality management system. This involved developing procedures for monitoring all aspects of the business for quality assurance purposes, and I was a natural choice for it considering my creation of the data tracking system and familiarity with the assembly process. This process was nearing completion (awaiting external audit) when the company was shut down.


Due to my familiarity with computers, I also beacame the resident Information Technology expert responsible for many different tasks. The company underwent a major computer system upgrade in which I played a large part, from intial planning, to becoming the eventual system administrator for the new system. This included the implementation of a new centralized server system, including a central logon, mail server, private and public shares of data, data replication and backup, and remote access to the system.