Who Am I?

My expertise spans efforts involving system architecture definition, driving product development and the transition to high volume manufacturing, to leading R & D initiatives from both a development and management perspective.

My focus is on

  • decomposing product requirements in to actionable tasks for cross-functional team members

  • reducing risk through the use of rapid prototyping efforts, early validation of new technology areas, and best engineering practices

  • tight collaboration with business unit, customers, suppliers and manufacturing partners

I’ve completed

  • sixteen product launches in the audio, biometric sensor, automotive, and satellite telecommunications markets

and been awarded

  • five patents in product design and algorithms

Personal Profile

Michael Contour
Michael ContourProject Engineer, Program Manager, Hardware Designer
I am the go-to guy for evaluating new technologies and scoping out the options to incorporate them into innovative new products. My deep understanding of the product development process allows me to anticipate downstream problems and to address them proactively, before they impact the critical path. It is vital to me to ensure a cohesive vision between all team members – development, management, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders – on a program. I rely on my solid communications and interpersonal skills to negotiate, focus and encourage team members to drive programs to their successful conclusion.

Some Of My Highlights

I have worked in a variety of technology areas in my engineering career, but leading the development of the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner was one of the efforts I enjoyed the most. It definitely was the most challenging, and it pulled from my technical skills in a variety of areas.

For this effort, I led a virtual team with members located in time zones from Belgium, to New York, to California, to China.  In order to deliver on this project, I drove all aspects of the system design and implementation… all critical to achieving the end goal:

  • Led the TFT sensor developers to optimize the TFT design for optimum signal level response in the pixels and uniformity across all pixels
  • Drove numerous designs of experiments with the sensor stack assembly vendor to resolve not only the critical material properties for each layer in the stack,  but also the assembly procedure required to deliver a very uniform, defect free sensor surface.
  • Specified a highly programmable custom ASIC to drive the high voltages and timing for the sensor stack, and then managed an outside contractor for the ASIC development, fabrication, and verification
  • Specified a custom FPGA design for handling all detailed timing required to generate sequential fingerprint images, and then managed an outside contractor for the FPGA development and verification
  • Specified all detailed programming settings, including the microcode timing, to drive the system to capture and process fingerprint images from the sensor
  • Led the systems engineering team on the post processing algorithms required to process the raw fingerprint images into the final images that passed the Appendix-F test suite
  • Directed the hardware team in the very low noise design of the main processing control board and the custom chip-on-flex designs that interconnected to the sensor stack.

Ultimate success on this project required not only my ability to guide a large cross-functional team technically but also my ability to work with all stakeholders, internal and external, on requirements and other contractual matters.

Baseball league commissioner for the National Adult Baseball Association

Past chairman of the board for Sports Car Club of America SOLO program in San Diego, as well as SOLO Safety Steward and Youth Steward

Past executive board member of the Blue Ridge Blues Society

Sound / lighting for live performance and audio recording

Guitar and amplifier builder

Avid bass player in Blues and Rock bands

Download my resume


Project Engineering

Proactive, hands on technical leadership

Design for cost, schedule and performance

Risk management and problem solving

Product definition to components specification

Product line and supplier management

New product introduction (NPI) and transition to high volume manufacturing

Program Management

Requirements tracking



BOM cost analysis

tight partnerships with business unit

status reporting

Product Development

Product definition, requirements analysis and specification

Agile product development process

Design for testability, reliability, manufacturability, and regulatory compliance

Best engineering design guidelines

Design for cost reduction

Change management

Hardware Design

Electrical engineering and electromechanical assemblies

Schematic capture

High speed circuit board design

Some of my best work is featured below