New Team Member Highlight - J.T.

Jonathan Tai, Jacobi PM

The Jacobi team is growing! We’ve just finished our hiring and we’d like to introduce the new team one by one! To start we have Jonathan Tai, more commonly known as JT. Bringing his expertise in Product Design, Systems and Solutions Integration, Robotics Engineering and Customer Success, JT will be our new product manager for our Platform Products.

Here is JT:

Isn’t it a little weird to interview yourself?

Well now that you mention it, a little bit. However one of the responsibilities I’ll be supporting is communication with our community through the newsletter and blog posts. Given that we are trying to move as fast (and as thoughtfully) as possible I figured It’d be a good idea to use myself as an example for the first new team member highlight!

What got you into robotics / what was your first exposure into robotics

I started robotics in high school! I imagine this is how most 20 year old's in the US got into it. I was a member and subsequent captain of our FTC robotics team. It was great fun getting these obscure games and challenges and having to build these little machines to complete them under our operation and completely autonomously.

Did that experience transition further into opportunities in robotics?

Well I wouldn't say that explicitly, but it was a big reason why I chose to get my bachelors in robotics engineering. Which, I guess you could say in turn resulted in me getting all the robotics opportunities i did in my career.

That's rather unusual!

Usually people get a masters or a PHD in robotics. It must have been a very cool program! Yea! I'm super grateful for the time I spent at WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute). It gave me a really great overview of the three disciplines of robotics; computer science, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering. But really the specialty I came out of the program with, was the capability to design and build great systems.

Is that why you went into product management?

I went into product management for two reasons. Firstly I realized as soon as I entered the industry that in order to do the most fun engineering jobs, I'd have to do much more school. Secondly and more importantly, I realized that what I liked about the 'most fun' engineering jobs was the building of the design and architecture leading into the seamless development and deployment. Upon a little reflection I realized that really that's what I spent most of my time doing in school. I was a systems engineer at heart with the robotics knowledge vertical. Product management happened to line up as a perfect output to my skills and interest.

What excites you the most about robotics

The future holds many many things. I think for now, out of all those things, what excites me the most is enabling the workers of America to work safely, more healthily, and with work that was meant for humans to do. For my previous job I spent some time in a re-packing plant, and it really showed where the need is. If we can make enable these labor jobs to be safer and less physically demanding, I'd consider that a win.

What are your responsibilities within the team

I'll be heading up product for our platform. That means breaking down all the details that enable robotic work cells to be built. Understanding and fulfilling needs that will empower our customers to put robot arms into all those pesky places that still find it difficult, costly, or time consuming to use a robot arm.

What about outside of work, how do you unwind?

When I'm not doing robotics, I like to unwind by going climbing. It might be a bit stereotypical for climbers and tech to go together, but I really enjoy the the link of the mental and physical side of the sport. It’s also unlocked an entirely new way for me to interact with national parks. Climbing outdoors has been a fantastic way to unwind and get some fresh air, touch some grass!

Any parting words you'd like to leave with our customers and the community?

I’m looking forward to working with you all! And I’m excited to deliver experiences that will deliver delight and empower your work moving forward!

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