What was the process of integrating Blackmore? Can you talk about that experience, both from the tech perspective and what it meant for the team?
There were lots of questions from the team in the beginning and we were honest that there would be some change and uncertainty along the way. We had a team from Aurora on site for the first several weeks of the integration, which helped us understand Aurora’s values, policies, and what being an Aurora employee means. This helped our team assimilate at a faster pace than any other integration I’ve seen.
It was important that our team didn’t feel like a stand-alone business unit and we worked hard to quickly integrate both our technology and our team. For example, our production team expanded to not only build lidar, but to use our expertise to build Aurora’s computers and other hardware for Aurora’s self-driving trucks and Pacificas. Our analytics team became part of the broader software team. Other engineers joined the world-class Aurora simulation team to integrate product enhancements into the lidar simulation capabilities.
It was obvious that Aurora’s senior leaders cared deeply about our employees and their success within Aurora. The Bozeman office quickly became part of the Aurora family. There was some overhead in learning the new systems and structures, but ultimately, it meant our team could do even better work, and do it much faster.
When Aurora acquired Blackmore it opened up a new office in Bozeman, Montana. What’s Bozeman like?
Bozeman has a tremendous amount to offer in the engineering and technology world. It’s a university town with a high density of manufacturers of highly integrated optical assemblies. Bozeman also has a world-class quality of life, with excellent outdoor opportunities like skiing, hiking, and fishing. It’s a great balance of quality of life and high-tech professional opportunities. Everyone should come visit!
What Aurora value resonates most with you and why?
Set outrageous goals. I have always liked breaking new ground in research and development, but it’s not enough to make new things happen — they need to be practical and accessible. It’s never been enough for me to just prove something was possible. I have always wanted to make a difference by getting new technology into the hands of those who need it most.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I am working on becoming a strength-based athlete, which means changing my diet and adding in more strength and conditioning programs. I’ve always loved sports. I played tennis in college and now I am a Pickleball fanatic.
— It continues to be a busy and exciting time at Aurora and we’re hiring for many positions across all of our offices. To find out more, visit our Careers page.