Picture of Jonathan Sauder

I am a hands-on mechanical engineer, ingenious product designer and now a "rocket scientist" with experience in taking concepts from ideation to production. Many of my past career experiences could be best described by the 80's TV show, "MacGyver".  Unique obstacles have often tested my tenacity and resourcefulness, but by quickly adapting and innovating I have established a track record of successful results and great designs.

I am currently a Senior Mechatronics Engineer at NASA-JPL in the Technology Infusion Group, which seeks to bridge the Technology Readiness Level (TRL)  “Valley of Death” for innovative concepts. In the evenings, I lecture at the University of Southern California, where I teach “Design Theory and Methodology” and “Advanced Mechanical Design”. I am also actively engaged in speaking and writing, and serve on professional committees within AIAA and NASA.

A few of my career highlights have been:

► NIAC Fellow (NASA Innovative  Advanced Concepts) developing the concept for an automaton (fully mechanical) rover for Venus, with successful Phase 1 and Phase 2 awards.  Principle Investigator on a total of  $1M of successful proposals and Co-I on another $3.3M.

► Improvising tools on the fly, working around poor data connections, and building strong international R&D partner relationships across culture/language barriers while testing and developing new technology products in Argentina, Brazil and New Zealand

► Solving a customer pain point by designing a calling feature on Windows Phone 8 and, due to resource limitations, going beyond scope by personally conducting user testing to ensure the feature met customer needs

► Leading an interdisciplinary team of designers, packagers, and a psychologist in brainstorming, creating, prototyping, and presenting an innovative nighttime toy to the Mattel CEO and executive leadership team.

The more personal side of my life, which also happens to be spaced themed, is documented at Launching Rocket Babies by my very understanding wife , who puts up with me and our three very engineering inclined sons.

If you are interested in learning more, or just want to hear a few good stories about past career adventures, please don't hesitate to reach out to me, or you can take a look at my resume (.pdf).