Arthrex California Technology Electrical Engineer: “I love working on products that help improve people’s lives”

John Batikian turned an interest in photography into a career in electrical engineering.

“I’m a hobbyist photographer so being able to understand how the imaging process and digital camera systems worked always interested me,” he said.

When he graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) 4 ½ years ago, he knew he wanted to find a job in the imaging field and stay in Southern California but didn’t realize Arthrex California Technology (ACT) was right in his own backyard. His master’s degree in electrical engineering with a focus on signal and image processing made him the perfect fit as an electrical engineer at ACT, where employees design and develop our Synergy product lines, using 4K video technology to pioneer arthroscopy and other minimally invasive surgeries.  

“I came across the job posting for my position and when I came in to interview, I thought, ‘This is ideal for me because it involves image processing and imaging systems and it just felt like a perfect match,’” he said.

The fact that the products developed at ACT are on the cutting edge of health care innovation appealed to John. 

“I had interviewed with some of the defense contractors, but it just didn't feel right,” he said. “I decided I'd much rather work on something that's going to help people.”

Since joining the team at ACT John has enjoyed working on a variety of challenging and meaningful projects.

“At some companies you may just work on one technology,” he said. “At ACT, you have the ability to work on various products. I like that I have been exposed to different technologies since our systems are complex and span nearly all sub disciplines of electrical engineering. I have been able to work on our SynergyUHD4™ image processing pipeline, display systems design, micro arthroscopy system and shaver motor control to name a few. There’s constantly something new to discover and work on and you’re encouraged to contribute to other projects you’re interested in.”

In a typical day John may work on firmware, electronic or printed circuit board design for products or design a test board and software for automated systems. He has the opportunity to collaborate with many different teams and said, “We still have a small-company feel. I get to take on a bigger piece of the equation as opposed to doing one small part of a project and not seeing how it fits into the whole system. We’re constantly innovating and challenging each other.”

Another collaboration John is particularly proud of is ACT’s partnership with his alma mater UCSB. For the past two years, John has mentored engineering students working on their senior capstone projects. 

“This year we sponsored three groups in the Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering and Computer Science Departments,” he said. “The projects are focused on increasing the intelligence of systems in the operating room through data analytics and machine learning. I meet with the students groups biweekly for design review and support them through their design process. It’s really cool to the see what the students come up with and I even learn some things from them.”

With so much to do in Santa Barbara, it’s no wonder many UCSB students choose to stay in the area to build their careers like John did. Its picturesque beaches and parks provide the perfect backdrop for John’s photography and other outdoor activities.

“I play tennis and beach volleyball with coworkers from many different departments,” he said. “It gives you an opportunity to discuss what everyone’s working on in a casual setting and helps you build relationships. We have many company-sponsored events throughout the year that are always fun and bring everyone closer together as well.”

Overall, what John says he likes most about working for ACT is everyone plays a part in making the most innovative products. “There is an engrained mindset that the quality of our products comes first. We have done a good job at both moving fast and ensuring that we are making the highest quality products on the market.”

That quality hits especially close to home for John. “My father has had both of his shoulders arthroscopically repaired and I feel proud to say that I have contributed to a product that has a direct impact on my family’s health. I love that I am working on products that are helping improve people’s lives.”

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