As our employee profile series continues, today we meet with Dave Maas, Field Service Engineer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and a master’s degree in molecular biology, cell biology, and biochemistry from Boston University. He joined Biosero in 2019.
Q: What do you do at Biosero?
A: We’re getting more and more focused on integrations and software. Most of the time I deal with tech support issues, trying to help people troubleshoot what’s wrong with their programs or setups. Occasionally I go to customer sites in the Bay Area and upgrade their Green Button Go software or help with repairs.
Q: How did you get on this career path?
A: I’ve been doing lab automation since between my undergrad and grad school years. It started when I got a job in Charles Cantor’s lab at Boston University. He would often beta test new equipment. My first project was an alpha version of a DNA synthesizer, and I thought it was really cool to use instruments to solve problems.
Q: What brought you to Biosero?
A: I moved back to the Bay Area in 2019 after living and working in Singapore for several years. A friend of mine was starting a local company called Willow Biosciences, and I went to help with their automation. Then I met Biosero’s CEO Tom Gilman. He had seen me on LinkedIn and told me about the need for someone in field service who would make the transition to handling software service. The fact that he reached out to me directly was a big deal. His personal touch and willingness to meet me made a real difference.
Q: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about laboratory automation?
A: I wish they wouldn’t be so scared of it. People still think they’re going to lose their job because of it — and while it’s true their job might have to change, working with automation can actually open up more opportunities for them. They can spend time analyzing the results of what they’re doing as opposed to just producing the results.
Q: If you could automate anything in your life, what would it be?
A: I’d automate putting information into my brain so I could absorb more knowledge. I like to learn a lot.
Q: What’s your best career advice?
A: Whatever your dreams are, just go for them. Do what you have to do to get there. If someone says no, don’t be afraid to go back and ask again.
Q: What was the first thing you ever wanted to be when you grew up?
A: I was five years old and visiting a store where they had these little puzzles that I had fun solving. The lady at the store said, “Are you going to be an engineer when you get older?” I didn’t know what it meant, but I said yes. And eventually I did go into engineering.
Q: What’s something your colleagues don’t know about you?
A: I’m actually in the process of studying how to do white hat hacking. I’ve been fascinated with it for a while. You can sign up for classes and test your skills on servers that companies release to the public for the purpose of having people check for vulnerabilities.