John Odell: Director of Engineering – Whippany
At CAES, our people are our most important asset. We sat down with several of our engineers to learn more about their career paths, interests and why they enjoy working at CAES. Read on to learn more about John Odell, Director of Engineering.
From a very young age, John Odell enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back together. As kids, John and his friends would go looking for parts to construct their own Go-Karts and find ways to make them go faster. John later started studying electronics, from synthesizers to tape recorders, to find out how they worked. As he grew up, he realized he had a passion for analog electronics and knew this was what he wanted to study.
Odell went on to study engineering in college and graduated right around the time the first PC's were available. There was a big push for him to go to the computer side of engineering, but John was interested in the analog side, studying transistors and microwave technology.
After school, John moved to Phoenix, Arizona, to work in an advanced electronics group for Sperry Flight Systems. It was here that Odell had the opportunity to take over a project with other young engineers, where they worked on designing Sperry's first monolithic microwave integrated circuits, achieving great success as a team of young engineers. It was at this job John had the chance to grow, learn and expand his abilities as an engineer. From here, John moved back to New Jersey and got a job at Tachonics, A Northrop Grumman GaAs Startup, and then eventually landed a role as a Sr. Design Engineer at a predecessor to the Herley/Ultra company called Communication Techniques, where he was promoted to his current position of Director of Engineering. Having been with the company since 1989, Odell knows the importance of embracing change, saying “change is inevitable so you have to learn how to be adaptable."
The “family-like" atmosphere has kept John coming back to work each day. He even went to high school with one of the engineers he now works with. A fulfilling part of his career, Odell has had the opportunity to train a number of young engineers who he encourages to “keep the free world free" no matter where they go to work in life.
Odell believes in the philosophy of the macromanagement training style when it comes to teaching engineers. He has found that teams work better when employees have a sense of pride in the work they are doing and feel the desire to not let down their team or management.
“Give your team trust and respect, and they will give it back to you," said John.
On the weekends, you can find John playing bass in his classic rock and roll band with his brothers and friends. He enjoys playing outdoor gigs during the summertime, doing covers of bands such as The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.