Circuit Break Podcast Ep 413: The Gray Zone with Kent Johnson

30 Jan, 2024

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Circuit Break Podcast Ep 413: The Gray Zone with Kent Johnson

This week Parker and Stephen welcome Kent Johnson to the show to discuss ethics in engineering. It’s a topic that has been alluded to throughout Circuit Break, but this is the first time Parker and Stephen have delved into it with a real expert on the matter.

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www.macrofab.com

This week Parker and Stephen welcome Kent Johnson to the show to discuss ethics in engineering. It’s a topic that has been alluded to throughout Circuit Break, but this is the first time Parker and Stephen have delved into it with a real expert on the matter. Yes, most companies have standards and regulations and a moral code that guide them but, as Kent suggests, there are more ethical gray areas in the realm of engineering than we might realize.

Topics covered this week include

  • Discovering something isn’t being done properly at your new job
  • Agreeing to work on something with life-or-death consequences, and you don’t know what you’re doing
  • Bypassing important project safety tests to meet a deadline
  • Crediting others in an age of ChatGPT and redefinitions of plagiarism
  • How do you credit and use open-source code?
  • Why siloed departments at companies are causing such harm to work dynamics
  • The tyranny of the spec
  • The true dangers of “failure” or “gotcha” work cultures
  • Accepting accountability and being willing to change
  • Avoiding QC by zipping the lip

About this Week's Guest 

Kent Johnson is Senior Corporate Advisor for the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation and a management consultant on religious diversity at work. With over 37 years of experience as a Senior Counsel at Texas Instruments, Kent is a seasoned legal expert who specializes in corporate law, ethics, product liability, antitrust, medical/FDA law, and mergers and acquisitions. Since leaving Texas Instruments in 2018, Kent has been helping companies adopt best practices regarding religious diversity and inclusion in the workplace. He is also Stephen’s father-in-law, so this really a family show this week.


About the Hosts

Parker dillmann

  Parker Dillmann

Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.

In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.

In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.

Parker also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.

Stephen Kraig

  Stephen Kraig

Stephen Kraig began his electronics career by building musical-oriented circuits in 2003. Stephen is an avid guitar player and, in his downtime, manufactures audio electronics including guitar amplifiers, pedals, and pro audio gear. Stephen graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

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