Daniel Gordon, Contributor at Large

Mini-Circuits is celebrating a triumph three years in the making for three young members of its engineering team. These members are the latest to complete our Pipeline Program, a journey of learning and professional development through virtually every facet of Mini-Circuits’ engineering operations.

The Pipeline Program began in 2014 as an idea between Mini-Circuits’ late founder Harvey Kaylie and now-President Ted Heil. Their goal was to bridge the widely documented age gap in RF engineering by introducing new college graduates to the various engineering functions in the real world and equipping them to pursue their path of choice, in turn inspiring a “pipeline” of the most qualified engineers in RF—because every industry needs rising talent ready for succession.

Since its inception, the program has become increasingly immersive—making successful completion even more impressive. Expanded from two years now to three, and from two phases now to four, the Pipeline Program starts in our Engineering Test department. There, members gain hands-on experience with lab equipment while getting familiar with the characterization process for the key parameters of all the RF components in Mini-Circuits’ product line. They then move on to manufacturing, rotating between production control and failure analysis to understand how we build products and maintain quality.

Pipeline grads with Applications Manager Jeremy Cortez and Mini-Circuits President Ted Heil.

In the third phase of the Pipeline Program, members eventually begin interacting directly with customers as part of the Applications department. Even if they intend to become design engineers, the customer exposure is a crucial step to understanding the bigger picture. “It’s fast-paced,” says Applications Manager Jeremy Cortez, who helped launch the Pipeline Program in its early days. “They’re dealing directly with customers and simultaneously supporting sales reps. If they decide to be design engineers, this helps them be well-rounded ones. It also gives them the skills to choose from a multitude of career paths in the company or industry at large.”

Pipeline grads and Mini-Circuits members celebrate the occasion.

The program concludes with design engineering and project management, exposing pipeliners to the many tools and techniques of the design process as well as the knowledge of Mini-Circuits’ most senior engineers. Along all four stops, members meet the many people who keep Mini-Circuits moving daily while becoming one of those people themselves. It’s one of the most robust and diverse entry-level position around for young engineers specializing in the areas of electromagnetics, RF theory and techniques.

Upon graduating, members select their top three landing places for a longer-term engagement, and we work to match their wants to the company’s needs. This cohort, while not the first to complete the program, enjoyed the first official Pipeline Program graduation event and dinner at Mini-Circuits’ Brooklyn Knapp Street office, with President Ted Heil, Global Vice President of Human Resources Phil DeCocco and others in attendance.

Beyond the host of knowledge and experience that will propel them to success throughout their careers, “they received really, really, nice backpacks,” Jeremy said, agreeing that a quality backpack is essential to any New York City commute. He added that the next cohort is already underway, and that every single member who participates in the program makes their own mark for its continued improvement.