Excelitas Tom Porter
Software Group Leader, Senior Software Designer
Mississauga, ON

What is the first thing you do when you get started with work for the day?

I typically grab a cup of coffee, and then another cup, then the third cup. Having twins I really need a lot of coffee to get going. Often during the night, I receive e-mails from customers or sales or marketing, so I check my e-mails and respond to the inquiries before starting into project work.

What are your main areas of focus in your work as a Software Group Leader?

I focus mainly on developing embedded code for our Lamp and LED-based products. I also develop Windows applications, drivers and supporting documentation.

How do you organize or structure your workday with tasks and projects?

I typically try to work on one project for several hours at a time, working on one project for about half a day or until I get stuck. At which point I switch projects and get back to the problem later. I often find if I am really stuck, just going home and sleeping on the issue will allow me to find new solutions. Occasionally, to find time to work with co-workers, especially since we are all really busy, I’ll book a meeting with them to work on projects.

As a Software Group Leader, do you collaborate with a team or mainly work autonomously? Which do you prefer?

I mainly work with a team. I work very closely with the Electronics Group, Project Management and Product Management. Software is largely responsible for how a user experiences a product ‒ it is really a team collaboration.

Which part of your work do you enjoy the most and why?

Coding. I really enjoy bringing the hardware to life, watching it work, and do what it is supposed to do.

If you had more hours in the day to focus on new skills related to your job or projects for your work, what would you focus on?

I would focus more on the development of the custom operating system. Our software is not based on any pre-existing code; all of it has been developed from the ground up.

What is your special skill, magic power or hobby you are proud of?

RC Helicopters. I know it sounds odd but I love tinkering with software/electrical/mechanical systems. Assembling and tuning a helicopter into a running machine de-stresses my mind.